America’s Multicolored Brown Shirts
During the first debate Trump’s decision not to condemn white supremist groups made the Proud Boys the new poster boys, representative of extremist groups. Hate groups are hate groups whether from the left, the right, or simply anarchists whose agenda is exclusively chaos & mayhem.
The Proud Boys’ estimated membership lack the numbers to cause serious problems, however their “brand” serves as the catalyst, the inspiration for other better financed, better organized, better armed hate groups. This is their moment in the limelight as they emerge from the darkness with the implicit (albeit silent) endorsement from the highest levels as they leverage technology to disseminate their message globally.
These de facto militias are America’s internal dogs of war on democracy as a loose confederacy for the purposes of maintaining or reverting to the imagined past to match their perception of what America should be.
Life Imitating Art
These menacing groups are often portrayed in art including cinema as a dark social satire. One film that comes to mind is Blazing Saddles (1974) which captured the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Comedy. In 2006, Blazing Saddles was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
Almost a half century after the film’s release one has the impression that America has barely progressed with respect to social and political civility. Although done on a small scale for the fictitious town of Rock Ridge the film portrays two comical yet disturbing scenes that are unfolding nationally.
The first is when a high-ranking town official provides the genesis on recruiting the worst criminal elements to intimidate the good citizens to comply and that the town’s leadership retains power, dominance and control.
The second is the follow-up to the recruitment phase, the gathering of varying groups of hate and intolerance to receive their marching orders.
Surge in Hate Groups
The following two charts are provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and presented by Statista, an online statistical firm, entitled America’s Active Hate Groups and Record Number of Hate Groups in the US.
The first is a 2016 snapshot identifying specific active hate groups.
The second is the total number of all hate groups as white nationalist groups have surged almost 50% according to Heidi Beirich, director of SPLC’s Intelligence Project.
Hate Groups’ Fashion Attire
It goes without saying that groups have their particular rituals with fashion playing a critical aesthetic and public relations role. If a hate group is to engage in destructive behavior they have to look good doing it. The online news firm Topic provides several fashion examples of hate groups’ attire in their article entitled Decoding the Language of Extremist Clothing.
With respect to social unrest Halloween is the perfect cover and springboard for any or all of these groups to trigger chaos & mayhem just ahead of the election – the masking of the masked. The mayhem begins on Saturday and builds momentum throughout the weekend and then reaches maximum destructiveness down the stretch to Tuesday’s elections.
Meanwhile Russia’s Putin and China’s Xi will be sitting back eating popcorn and enjoying the “show” in real-time as America begins to disintegrate and implode. Trump’s positive antibody test for Covid-19 is highly symbolic of a sick America. Although their respective countries have an equivalent of simmering social unrest – assiduously suppressed by state media - they can justifiably claim that democratic governance is not superior to their autocratic governance.
Werewolves in Election Aftermath
Because the name Trump is a brand not just a person, hate groups’ aggressiveness will continue well beyond the election results regardless whether the results are close, a landslide or contested. They are the American werewolves who’ll engage in violent surgical strikes similar to the post-WW II German werewolves, young fanatical Nazis who continued to carry the fight to the Allies and cooperating (collaborating) Germans.
Global recovery is a two-dose process. Because Covid-19 greased the skids of a slowing global economy, a successful vaccine against the virus is the first dose.
The second dose is economic as governments must formulate aggressive policies to boost business confidence and consumer spending to stimulate the economy. Until those doses are administered social unrest, enthusiastically stoked by hate groups, will continue to stymie efforts at recovery.
[Originally published 2 May 2020]
Copyright 2020 Cerulean Council LLC
The Cerulean Council is a NYC-based think-tank that provides prescient, beyond-the-horizon, contrarian perspectives and risk assessments on geopolitical dynamics and global urban security.