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Earlier this year, Republican Party chairman Michael Steele admitted that the GOP has engaged in Southern Strategy politics: employing racial, anti-minority code language and fear-mongering as a means of energizing the party’s white Christian base.

This is a fact. The Southern Strategy is real, though it’s no longer exclusively “southern.”

There’s no disputing its widespread use. Come to think of it, for Steele to “confess” to the the GOP’s use of the Strategy makes it seems as though it was previously a secret. It wasn’t. Fact: the Republican Party routinely tweaks white fear, paranoia, prejudice and resentment in order to win votes and score political points at the expense of demonized minority groups. They engage in stereotyping and misinformation and they rarely, if ever, use the “n-word” these days, though they might as well. After all, as the Strategy goes, blacks and minorities aren’t voting Republican anyway, so… let fly.

And it works. So well, in fact, that it’s still actively used on AM talk radio and on Fox News Channel as a ratings-grabber, not to mention as a recruitment tool for the various tea party groups. If you can effectively convince the majority race that they’re being somehow victimized by the significantly smaller minority, you have a seriously powerful (and clearly immoral) psycho-weapon in your arsenal.

This year has to be some kind of high water mark for white antagonism against minorities, and evidence that the Republicans, along with the array of far-right apparatchiks, don’t really have a serious agenda for governing to sell or, for that matter, anything of value to say. And so they do this. They continue to tap into a mother lode of white majority self-pity and inchoate rage as a form of spackle over the gaping holes in their ridiculous policy arguments.

Take a good look at the big stories of the last several months — the stories that have been driven by the far-right machine, injected into the mainstream and subsequently debated by the rest of the country — partly as a result of the far-right’s money, loudness and tenacity, and partly because these arguments are too obnoxious and outrageous, and therefore too irresistible, to avoid. I’ve been hearing a lot about August being “crazy month,” but the crazy topics have spanned the entire summer and beyond.

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What’s Next: Muslim-Only Lines At Airports?

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson, New America Media. Posted January 1, 2010.

The public whispers and the right wing’s open talk of Muslim-only airport lines are fueling even greater racial division, fear and hysteria.

Are Muslim-only lines at airports next? The thought is offensive, disgusting, and blatantly unconstitutional. But it’s hardly far-fetched.

Three years before suspected Nigerian airline terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was hauled off a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit with a powder and liquid explosive device stuffed in his underwear, British Department of Transportation officials openly discussed corralling men of South Asian or Middle Eastern appearance at airports for intense questioning, checks and searches. The plan outraged Muslim leaders and British officials backed off the systematic profiling of Muslims.

However, single men of South Asian and Middle Eastern appearance were still subject to intense checks and searches. Britain was not alone. France and the Netherlands had already imposed de facto profiling of Muslim-appearing young men and families at airports since the September 2001 terror attacks. Polls showed that a substantial majority of Europeans agreed that racial profiling was not repugnant if it made airline travel safer and thwarted a possible terror attack.

The clamor for a racial crackdown was first heard in the United States after the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1996. Then President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno had the good sense not rush to judgment and scapegoat Muslims. The swift arrest of Timothy McVeigh squelched the building mob hysteria against them. But it didn’t squelch public suspicions that all Muslims were potential terrorists. The federal building bombing propelled Clinton’s 1996 Anti-terrorism Act through Congress. Civil rights and civil liberties groups had waged a protracted battle against the bill. The law gave the FBI broad power to infiltrate groups, quash fundraising by foreigners, monitor airline travel, and seize hotel records and trash due process by permitting the admission of secret evidence to expel immigrants. The implication was that present and future attacks would likely be launched by those with an Arab name and face rather than by men like McVeigh.

President George W. Bush, as Clinton, took the high ground after the 9/11 attack. He did not reflexively finger-point Muslims. The Bush administration publicly assured that profiling was reprehensible and violated legal and constitutional principles, and that it would not be done. But the attack stirred tremors among Muslims that they would routinely be targeted, subject to search and surveillance, and profiled at airports.

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By Valerie Elverton Dixon | Sojourners.net, May 30, 2009

William Faulkner once said: “The past is not dead.  In fact, it’s not even past.”  We often think about time and history as a straight line leading from the past, running through the present, heading into the future. With this conceptualization, the past is past and gone.  However, there is another way to think about time.  Tree time.  When we cut down a tree, the rings of the stump are concentric circles of time. The first year exists at the center and each succeeding year surrounds it.

So it is with the meeting of Christianity and Islam on the battle fields of Afghanistan and Iraq.  The historical center of the present conflict is the history of the Crusades.  Many in the Muslim world consider the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan as another Crusade.  The Crusades were wars between Christians and Muslims, Christians and Pagans, Christians and Christians over four centuries.  It was a tragic time when armies of the state fought to promote a religious cause.  Crusaders travelled far from home as warriors and pilgrims, warriors and penitents, warriors as walls to stall the spread of Islam.  They won and lost battles.  They destroyed and plundered and raped. They were sometimes brutally massacred when the Muslims won on a particular day.

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