I was watching the President present the 2009 Medal of Freedom to an impressive array of recipients. How great, I thought. Here we had gays, lesbians, blacks, whites, Hispanics - even a gentleman from Bangladesh and a Crow Indian Chief. Stephen Hawking, Sandra Day O'Connor, Billy Jean King, Desmond Tutu and Chita Rivera among them.
As I read the news reports on the recipients I found there are already those who say some are not deserving. I don't know what criteria is used, but all are deserving of recognition for their achievements in life.
The idea that fault is being found bothered me. Along with calling people unpatriotic and evil regarding the health care debate, I wonder what is wrong with us! Far more troubling things are happening beneath the surface than healthy, if sometimes rowdy, debate on an important piece of pending legislation and celebrating great achievement by 16 of the world's best!
And what might that be? The re-emergence of militias! Living in Idaho, I'm well aware of the extent of their local history and the fact that since the death of white supremest leader Richard Butler, they had either moved on or quieted down. Until a couple of months ago when rock weighted bags containing their literature began appearing on people's lawns.
Just this past week end our local police were able to apprehend the offenders and cite them for littering. Hiding behind "freedom of speech" they were even tossing them at children playing. In an interview one of the offenders said he has moved the Aryan Nations headquarters to Athol, a tiny cross roads community about 10 miles north of us. They're baaaaack!
Apparently similar activities have been going on around the country though they seem to be concentrated in our area of the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest and the South. Researchers at the Southern Poverty Law Center have found "at least 50 new groups in the last few months". That's frightening.
What really caught my attention was when the reporter claimed the Idaho Citizen's Constitutional Militia, yet another organization of the same ilk, was recruiting for a sniper. I went to their website to see if true and found that they are also looking for a Chaplin and lawyer. Wow! That sounds like they mean business. All of it bad! And hiding behind God to boot!
A lot of this resurgence is because we elected our first black President but factoring in is the state of the economy and what they see as intense distrust of the government - the fuel on which they feed. It has spurred their recruiting efforts, that is an undeniable truth because it's happening in my community. That people can hate to the extent these people do is something I do not comprehend. I do comprehend that they exist.
It's things like this that remind me how important it is to get outside of my own self-interests and pay attention to what's happening around me though I'm not sure there is anything I can do. If their efforts at recruitment take hold, however, be assured, nothing good will come of it!