On February 2, Reuters reported that the Trump Administration was changing the Department of Homeland Security’s program “Countering Violent Extremism”. The program would now focus exclusively on “radical Islamic extremism” and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.
The timing of this announcement is chilling since the very next day the documentary “Oklahoma City,” was released to critical acclaim. The documentary recounts the rise of the white supremacist militia movement in the 1990’s that helped radicalize Timothy McVeigh and that led him to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on the anniversary of the fatal fire at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco.
The documentary is important because Oklahoma City is not a relic of the 1990’s, as the Southern Poverty Law Center reports the militia movement is alive and thriving today..
A report by the Anti-Defamation League found that domestic extremist killers “killed more people in 2015 than any other year since Oklahoma City in 1995.”
That may explain why a 2015 survey by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security found that “law enforcement agencies in the United States consider anti-government violent extremists, not radicalized Muslims, to be the most severe threat of political violence that they face.”
All of these facts make the documentary very timely. Time Out New York’s Joshua Rothkopf hailed the film, explaining
But you must see Oklahoma City, if only to know the enemy. They’re not stuck at the airport.
After watching the movie you will find that the Trump administration’s singular focus on “radical Islamic terrorism” despite the continued threat posed by militia groups is nothing short of alarming.
With the Trump White House being dominated by Steve Bannon and his comrades from the Alt-Right, this shift in policy only demonstrates how the bigotry at the core of this unholy alliance between Trump and white supremacist is driving policy today.
After Oklahoma City, President Clinton gave a commencement address at Michigan State University where he stressed that
there is nothing patriotic about hating your country or pretending that you can love your country but despise your Government.
One must wonder whether those views have now found a home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.