I ignored the right-wing paranoia over the Homeland Security memo on right-wing extremism until I read Christine Springer’s fearful guest opinion last week. That led me to read the memo itself.
I found the memo cautionary, not accusatory. It asks us to be vigilant and gives examples of recent experience to support the need for vigilance.
At one point the memo concludes, "Right-wing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues. The economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for right-wing radicalization and recruitment."
Ms. Springer does not appear to have been "radicalized," yet, but her fears about the "emergent issues" are plain to see. Considering the cautionary nature of the memo, one wonders how she could believe Homeland Security has targeted her personally. Is she by nature a fearful person or has the incessant Obama-bashing by the right-wing talking heads overcome her common sense?
Her conservative Christianity, her pro-life stance, her views on marriage, her husband’s military association, her clinging to Second Amendment rights and her faith in biblical prophecies are all facets of acceptable American belief. None of them could cause "law enforcement to (observe her) as a potential terrorist" unless those beliefs provoke her to violence against unbelievers or our elected government.
We had an election and her side lost. For a quarter-century they led us with an ideology of uncontrolled greed and an economic philosophy that convinced many of us that our nation and we as individuals could prosper by reducing our incomes, increasing our expenditures and borrowing to make up the shortfall.
America came to realize that ideology and economic philosophy didn’t work and we elected a government that is trying to undo the damage wrought by those policies. With this DHS memo, that government has recognized that radical elements among the losers may use fear to destabilize society by radicalizing the disaffected.
Ms. Springer should be more fearful of that possibility than the likelihood of the government targeting her for her ordinary, acceptable American personal beliefs.
She sees the DHS memo as pitting American against American. I see a memo that says watch out America, you elected a new government but there are a lot of sore losers and some of them may want to do your nation harm.
Sore losers? Pitting American against American? Listen to Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, O’Reilly, et al, fear-mongers crying "socialism," all of them predicting and some actively calling for our government to fail. There is the divisiveness; there is the call for radicalization.
What is wrong with those people? Their philosophy failed. A majority of the American people rejected it but now they exploit the fears of the vulnerable and the disaffected in an attempt to bring it back. They pray for our president to fail, drawing concerned citizens like Ms. Springer into their net of fear.
The losers drove America’s wagon into the ditch and now they resist our new president’s attempts to pull it out. It is not the time to yearn for their failed past, it is a time for all of us to get in front of the wagon and pull, looking toward a brighter future.
Ms. Springer prays that the DHS memo "is not just the first step toward a very dark time."
I see the memo only as a caution for America to watch out for those who would drive us into a new dark time.
I’m 80 years old. I grew up in the Depression and came of age at the end of World War II. I’ve worn the uniforms of three armed services on active duty or in the reserves. I spent five years overseas on active duty in one of them and have a retirement certificate from another that thanks me for "more than 42 years of faithful service." You could say that I’ve been around, but here’s one thing: I’m not a quitter and I am not afraid. I look forward to better days ahead for America. I have more confidence in our new president than I have in the doom-crying, fear-mongers whose negative propaganda drives those like Ms. Springer to such fearful distraction.
If we are truly in the "end times," as Ms. Springer and other fundamentalists believe, I do not fear that either. God’s will be done. I have faith, not fear.
I will continue to believe in the future; I will continue believe in the return of America’s greatness. We have come back before; we can come back again, but it will not be though fear of the future or by returning to the failed policies of the past.
I have peace of mind and confidence in the future of our nation. Ms. Springer, I pray that you can find the same.
Roy F. Wilson