The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 20, 2009

ZACHARY HUBBARD | Confessions of a right-wing extremist

BY ZACHARY HUBBARD

I can just picture my first group therapy session at RE-Anon (Rightwing Extremists Anonymous). The first step toward recovery occurs when the patient acknowledges his or her illness:

“Hello. My name is Zachary and I’m a rightwing extremist.”

“Hi, Zachary,” the other group members respond in unison.Thus begins the healing process.

My moment of enlightenment occurred recently when the Department of Homeland Security informed me that I’m a rightwing extremist. I hadn’t fully understood this previously. Before my enlightenment, I’d considered myself many things – constitutionalist, conservative, veteran, gun owner, right-to-life advocate and Christian.

It took Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to show me what I really am – a whacked-out, rightwing extremist holed up in the remote mountains of western Pennsylvania, clinging to my guns and religion.

Thank God and Janet, I finally saw the light!

For those who haven’t been paying attention, I’m talking about a leaked document from the Department of Homeland Security that has attracted a lot of interest from the media and blogs in recent days.

According to The Washington Post, the document was sent to police and sheriff’s departments across the country on April 7 under the headline, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.”

According to the document, just about anyone who isn’t a so-called political progressive falls into a rightwing extremist category. Page 2 has a footnote explaining that such extremists include groups that are primarily hate oriented and “those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely.”

This includes groups that are mainly “dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

The document also warns about lunatic veterans returning from a combat zone, since rightwing extremist groups want to recruit these individuals for their special military skills. Remember Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing?

So if I understand Secretary Napolitano correctly, at least half of the nation falls into one of her rightwing extremist categories, including members of the armed forces, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, National Rifle Association, National Right to Life, Gay Liberation Front, Libertarian Party, Constitution Party, Green Party and probably half of the nation’s registered independent voters.

If Napolitano is right about the nascent threat from such groups, then the largest and most dangerous group of all must be the great state of Texas, where a bipartisan bill HCR 50, reaffirming the sovereignty of the Lone Star State, is currently being circulated.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s office released a press statement and video on April 9, supporting the legislation. It can be found on the governor’s Web site at: http://governor.state.tx.us/news/press-release/12227.

Perry claims he represents millions of Texans who are tired of Washington, D.C., trying to tell them “how to run Texas.”

The bill reaffirms the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states simply, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

James Madison wrote in The Federalist Papers, “The powers delegated to the federal government are few and defined.

“Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce.

“The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people.”

Many American citizens happen to agree with Madison.

According to the Tenth Amendment Center, a group advocating states rights, Texans aren’t alone in their contempt toward federal power gone wild. Oklahoma, Washington, Hawaii, Missouri, Arizona, New Hampshire, Georgia, California, Michigan and Montana will all consider sovereignty bills this year.

These states may be joined by Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Alaska, Kansas, Alabama, Nevada and Maine.

According to the center, even the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania may join the rebellion.

Those serving on Capitol Hill need to understand that a lot of citizens have grown weary of Congress enacting legislation that erodes states rights.

Napolitano and her merry men have apparently forgotten that the U.S. Constitution gives citizens the right to voice non-violent dissent against the government. Such dissent does not make any individual or group extremist, whether rightwing or leftwing. It simply makes them Americans.

Dissent is one of the characteristics that have made our nation unique in the world. Open dissent against the government, such as exists freely in America, is something that despots around the globe simply can’t comprehend.

Apparently, some of the despots on Capitol Hill can’t comprehend it either. Napolitano should do us all a favor and submit her resignation.

God bless Texas!



Zachary Hubbard is a retired Army officer and freelance writer residing in Upper Yoder Township. He is a member of the Tribune Democrat Readership Advisory Committee.