90 Miles From Tyranny : Identity Politics Violence is Tearing America Apart

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Identity Politics Violence is Tearing America Apart



Three years ago, a bloody summer of black nationalist violence claimed the lives of eight police officers with the massacre of five police officers by Micah X. Johnson in Dallas and the murder of three police officers in Baton Rogue by Gavin Long.

Johnson had declared his support for the Black Lives Matter racial nationalist group and told police that he wanted to kill white people, and especially white police officers.

In the fall, Marc LeQuon Payne tried to run over Phoenix police officers. Next spring, Kori Ali Muhammad went on a shooting spree in Fresno, murdering three white men.

Muhammad and Long were both part of the Moorish Science Temple black nationalist movement. Muhammad had posted Nation of Islam content which claims that “white devils” are subhuman. Long had admired the killing spree by Johnson. Payne had posted that, “the Caucasian needs to be slaughtered like the pigs that they are right along with the niggas who serve and protect them.”

Long wasn’t alone in viewing Johnson as a black nationalist hero.

A former Miss Alabama had described the racial nationalist killer as a “martyr”. Babu Omowale, a co-founder of the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, said, “The fact that Micah just got five of the bastards, that’s what got you all upset right now.” Yafeuh Balogun, another co-founder of the black nationalist group named after the founder of the Black Panther Patyu, wrote, “He shall be celebrated one day.”

While the white nationalist shooters of this year have been banished to 8chan, Johnson, Payne and Long were radicalized and posted their rantings on Facebook. The outpouring of support for their acts of violence also took place on Twitter and Facebook with no effort at censorship by the social media sites.

The alternating mass shootings by white nationalists and black nationalists predated Trump. They’re part of a cycle of violence going back decades if not generations. The cycle of violence had largely died down until it was triggered by the resurgence of identity politics in the Obama administration.

The rise of a new age of identity politics was not a response to injustice, but a cynical political strategy

The rise of a new age of identity politics was not a response to injustice, but a cynical political strategy.

Facing a more challenging political landscape after his original victory, Obama pivoted from universal appeals to racial nationalist rhetoric. “Punish your enemies,” he urged Latinos. Joe Biden told black people that Republicans would “put y’all back in chains.” The racial nationalism became more strident as the political position of the Democrats weakened. Race riots were stirred up from Ferguson to Baltimore. The violence spiraled into mass shootings of police officers and white people.

Violence was only the most explosive symptom of a deeper racial polarization. White nationalist hate groups, long considered a joke, experienced their biggest revival in decades. Black Lives Matter protests convulsed major cities. Christian churches were vandalized with graffiti reading, “Negroes Are the Israelites,” while two synagogue shootings and a rash of swastika graffiti exploded into the news.

The hate group revival was tapping into polarized racial attitudes. Their growth was not an outlier, but an expression of the deeper sickness of identity politics. Polls showed that perceptions of race relations on both sides had cratered. Politics had become driven by naked appeals to racial interests. America had become a fractured country whose inhabitants identified as members of warring tribes.

The identity politics fracturing of the country was motivated by the political roadmap of the Democrats.

The gunmen spreading terror and death are the manifestation of the identity politics strategy

Trump had performed better with black voters than Mitt Romney, but black voters had become a larger share of the Democrat base, and the Democrats relied largely on racial appeals to mobilize their votes. These appeals highlighted a classic racial nationalist message that that pitted blacks and whites against each other with black people depicted as being the enslaved and oppressed victims of white people.

Such messages only deepened the racial polarization on both sides. And the political racial polarization limited the options of the Democrats who had become inescapably dependent on the black vote, yet knew no other way to speak to black voters except through conspiracy theories of racial victimhood.

The Democrats feared losing the black vote and the only way they knew how to keep it was by doubling down on the racial polarization that had divided the country and hollowed out their...

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