Earlier this week, I wrote about the tendency of the right to wrap themselves in the cloak of victimhood whenever there's a mass shooting. I failed to mention that part of the reason for this is clearly distraction. In the temple shooting in Wisconsin, so many rightwing memes come into play -- the anti-immigrant fever, the right's soft-on-gun-crime positions, the belief that everyone but Christians (and Jews, who I guess are honorary Christians) are inherently un-American, the bigoted view of Muslims as turban-wearing "ragheads," etc. People on the right desperately want to avoid talking about all of this, so they claim to be victims whenever something like this happens.
For example, over at Media Research Center’s NewsBusters site, we learn that referring to neo-Nazis as "far-right" is the worst thing ever. MRC is a rightwing BS factory that pretends to be a media watchdog -- like Media Matters for America -- but is in reality an attack dog sicked on any media outlet that fails to slavishly adhere to conservative spin and rightwing political correctness. There, we learn that "CNN Smears Political Right, Labels Wisconsin Shooter's Racist Neo-Nazi Band as 'Far Right'."
I wish I were kidding. The term "far-right" is now banned in connection to Nazis -- as it's been historically applied fascists since they came into existence -- under wingnut PC. The only things that are "right wing" are good things, never bad things, and the concept of conservatism gone mad must never, ever be discussed. Such things are taboo.
Once the mantle of victimhood has been assumed, we don't have to talk about all the things conservatives and racist fanatics inarguably have in common -- i.e., the aforementioned the love of guns, hatred of immigrants and non-Christians, etc. Instead, we talk about how the real victims are always American conservatives. And this is a distraction we can ill afford.
Writing for Salon, Jordan Michael Smith revisits and follows up on Homeland Security director Janet Napolitano's report on rightwing extremism. The conclusion; rightwing terrorism is real (as this weekend has proved all too clearly) and that we ignore it at our own peril.
The report found that "neo-Nazis were trying to infiltrate law enforcement agencies" under a strategy they called "ghost skins." "White supremacist presence among law enforcement personnel is a concern due to the access they may possess to restricted areas vulnerable to sabotage and to elected officials or protected persons, whom they could see as potential targets for violence," the report read.
You might also remember that this report was met on the right with the Great Shield of Wingnut Victimhood, because it contained the words "right wing extremists." So, it was more important that America be distracted from the areas of agreement between neo-Nazis and conservatives than it was that America be protected from them. God forbid someone point out the undeniable fact that white power types had a lot to do with Arizona's odious "papers please" law, for example. Or that white supremacists look at the Tea Party and see an obvious recruitment opportunity. What is important was that we talk about something else. Anything else. Like, say, how mean people are to wingnuts.
So, just as it's always "too soon" to start talking about gun control, it's a "smear" to point out that -- to a person -- organized white racists are rightwing extremists. If that means that it becomes more likely that there will be other acts of rightwing terrorism in the future, so be it. The right is totally willing to take that chance, because to admit otherwise dings their "perfect patriots" propaganda image.
Victimhood's not about protecting America, it's about protecting the Tea Party brand.