All Articles Tagged "extremism"
The nation of Nigeria, with its 150 million inhabitants — split almost evenly between Christians in the south and Muslims in the north — might be a half-century old. But it is still facing growing pains. A year before it’s 50th anniversary as a sovereign nation in 2010, Nigeria’s most famous writer Chinua Achebe published an essay making this statement about his homeland: “Nigeria is neither my mother nor my father. Nigeria is a child. Gifted, enormously talented, prodigiously endowed, and incredibly wayward.”
The “wayward” ways of the most populous nation in Africa has international policy experts concerned, not only for the future of the oil industry there that America depends on — but also for the social stability of a country with so much promise. Ironically, the material well-being of Nigeria depends greatly on whether its warring religious factions can get along. So far, the Mulsim-Christian divide has continually fueled bloody conflict, culminating in an attack last Friday on a United Nations building in the capital city of Abuja that killed 19 people.
The attack was orchestrated by the home-grown Muslim terrorist group Boko Haram, a faction seen as expressing the frustrations many Muslims feel as a disenfranchised group. Even though oil-rich Nigeria is the largest African exporter of the resource to the U.S., most of the oil comes from the south which is populated by Christians. In addition, the vast majority of the educated elite both within the country and abroad are Christians, including the current president. Muslims in the north have responded to their relative powerlessness by rejecting secular education, medicine and other practices that are associated with the Christian way of life.
Salon.com has analyzed the make up of the Tea Party Caucus in the House and discovered that it is overwhelmingly Southern and white. Even though the media focuses on Midwesterners like Michele Bachmann, or high-profile blacks like Herman Cain when portraying Tea Party members, most of the officials elected from this group represent a thin slice of radical Southern politics. The Tea Party is not a spontaneous outgrowth of current economic frustrations that spans a cross-section of political sources.
When looking closely at the caucus members, where they are from, and their tactics, it becomes easy to recognize the same right Southern extremists that have been on the scene for decades — if not centuries. They just have a new brand, with the same outlook.
Under the “new” guise of the Tea Party, radical Christian conservatives today are using the obstructionist ploys first used by their predecessors — such as starting the Civil War to resist the end of slavery. More recently, they have crippled the country over the debt ceiling by threatening to cause a world economic collapse. The resulting bill was just signed by Obama into law is rife with the cuts to entitlements, while preserving defense spending — exactly what radical Southern extremists constantly cry for.
This faction was willing to risk destroying the credit of the United States to get its way. Apparently, this is part of a very old pattern at work. Salon.com breaks down their cunning:
Contradicting the mainstream media narrative that the Tea Party is a new populist movement that formed spontaneously in reaction to government bailouts or the Obama administration, the facts show that the Tea Party in Congress is merely the familiar old neo-Confederate Southern right under a new label. The threat of Southern Tea Party representatives and their sidekicks from the Midwest and elsewhere to destroy America’s credit rating unless the federal government agrees to enact Dixie’s economic agenda of preserving defense spending while slashing entitlements is simply the latest act of aggression by the Solid South. […]
From the earliest years of the American republic, white Southern conservatives when they have lost elections and found themselves in the political minority have sought to extort concession from national majorities by paralyzing or threatening to destroy the United States.
The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 and 1799 asserted the alleged right of states to “nullify” any federal law that state lawmakers considered unconstitutional. This obstructionist mentality led to the Nullification Crisis of 1832, when South Carolina refused to enforce federal tariffs. Civil War was averted only when President Andrew Jackson, a Southerner himself, forced the nullifiers to back down.
Through this example, and unveiling the details of the Civil War they eventually did cause, Salon makes a very good case for the idea that the Tea Party is really a relaunched band of Southern radicals. Steeped in Confederate nostalgia, this group is fueled by religion and willing to hurt the general population to get what it wants for their brethren.
Sounds like terrorism.
I wrote yesterday that the GOP was holding America’s credit rating hostage to get what it wanted. Today, I realize that perhaps not the entire GOP is to blame. Tea Party members specifically took the U.S. to the brink of financial collapse to attain the harsh spending cuts that will disproportionately effect the poor. This is very similar to a lone bomber destroying himself on a crowded city bus to make an abstract point. While the cause of the violence is unrelated to them, the victims will suffer horribly all the same.
It’s unclear how senior citizens struggling to pay their medical bills will help our flat economy. But the slashing of federal spending has become such a dogmatic point of rhetoric for Tea Party members, it is dubious that they know either. The only thing that is clear is that they have won this battle through fear, intimidation, and the threat of destruction even if that destruction had been absolute.
The Tea Party might as well announce its Jihad on political fairness and economic equality in this country. Will Obama ever be able to pass sound fiscal policies with these domestic terrorists in the House? It is hard to act with intelligence when facing an opponent willing to commit social suicide.