It is chilling that the largest rally Bush has been able to stage was pulled off in the heart of NeoNazi territory in Butler County, Ohio. Not only does Ohio lead the Midwest in the number of white-supremacist groups, according to a 2001 study, but Butler County in particular has a grim recent history of being a white supremacist stronghold. Bush's rally was held in a stark, post-industrial-park site called "Voice of America Park" in West Chester, Butler County Ohio, just 25 miles from Hamilton, where for a time, the Aryan Nations had their national "clubhouse." It is disturbing indeed that Bush's team felt certain they would be able raise the largest number of rally attendees in his entire campaign here in hate group country.
Bush's Biggest Rally: a White Supremacist Triumph?
It is chilling that the largest rally Bush has been able to stage was pulled off in the heart of NeoNazi territory in Butler County, Ohio. Ohio lead the Midwest in the number of white-supremacist groups, according to a 2001 study. More recently, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports that Ohio is now home to 28 racist groups, including a new branch of the KKK and assorted NeoNazi "skinhead" groups. Butler County, in particular is associated with recent white supremacist history. Bush's rally was held in a stark, post-industrial-park site called "Voice of America Park" in West Chester, Butler County Ohio, just 25 miles from Hamilton, where for a time, the notorious, violent Aryan Nations had their national "clubhouse." There, before a crowd estimated at 20,000-40,000, Bush adopted a highly militaristic tone. In the background, loud speakers blared the song "Mighty Wings" from the movie "Top Gun". At Hitler rallies in Nazi Germany, loudspeakers blared "Flight of the Valkyres" and other "inspirational" militaristic themes.
The entire scenario would undoubtedly have been roundly applauded by members of Aryan Nations. Aryan Nations moved their HQ from Idaho to Butler County in 1997. Here's a bit from a 1997 news story::
The Post: "Aryan Nations established its Ohio headquarters last year in New Vienna, 40 miles northeast of Cincinnati, in an old Ku Klux Klan meeting hall. ''We are white supremacists and our goal is to establish a white homeland,'' Ohio Aryan Nations leader Ray Redfeairn told The Post.
''Make no mistake about it, this is a group that is potentially dangerous,'' said Alan Katchen of Columbus, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.
Redfearim moved the Aryan Nations HQ to Pennsylvania a few years later to an area that has been visited a disproportionately large number of times in the past three years by Bush. Redfeairn's first successor in Ohio was Danny William Kincaid, who was indicted in 2001 on a charge of being a felon in possession of weapons and an unregistered explosive device, a pipe bomb. Kincaid was also accused of selling firearms, including assault rifles. The Aryan Nations and other hate groups must have been ecstatic over Bush's letting the assault rifte ban lapse. Makes it so much easier to increase their arsenals. Kincaid, thankfully, is now in prison. But hate group membership in Ohio - and nationally - has continued to grow.
For the past three years, white supremacist groups, including the National Alliance, have been aggressively working to recruit new members in Ohio, including Butler County, leaving fliers in people's driveways. (see news story: http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2003/01/13/loc_racistflyers13.html). The Anti-Defamation League has noted a marked increase in recruitment activity since fall, 2003. Although the ADL hasn't linked this spike to the onset of campaign 2004 (which kicked off in fall 2003), some do not believe this is a coincidence.
In any case, it is disturbing indeed that Bush's team felt certain they would be able raise the largest number of rally attendees in his entire campaign here in hate group country. Even OH GOP Chairman Robert Bennett admitted that there are few areas he could imagine that would be more uniformly "conservative" than the area chosen by Bush. More disturbing still are accounts that members of white supremacist groups attended the rally in large numbers, some recruited (by who it isn't known) from as far away as Idaho. Although many white supremacist groups claim to "hate" Bush, the evidence indicates this is largely a front. Such groups also brag of their ability to inflitrate the mainstream by stealth, by outwardly cultivating a stereotypical image: ''I know the average citizen out there thinks we're fanatics, hate mongers, foaming at the mouth,'' said Redfearim in 1997, "'But when we're out in public, you would not guess that we are white supremacists, which we are.'
It was a coalition of white supremacists who tried to disrupt the Florida recount in November, 2000 to aid Bush. The "Village Voice" reported how these groups disrupted a street fair in West Palm Beach:
"On November 16... coalition of angry conservatives - neo-Nazis, Second Amendment zealots, and Confederate flag wavers, among them - are planning to crash the party. Many of the same Gore-haters who forced Reverend Jesse Jackson off the stage across town Monday at the Governmental Operations Center are planning to stage a demonstration to protest recounts in Florida and tell the world, "No more Gore!"
[The event has] drawn the vocal support of the white supremacist Don Black, founder of the Florida-based Stormfront. Black [also] the founder of the Internet's first "hate" site is claiming he'll help lead the rally. Black has been using his site to promote the event to the world from his home in downtown West Palm Beach, two miles from the voting action this week at the Emergency Operations Center. Black, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, will be there with his 11-year-old son, Derek (the webmaster of Stormfront for Kids.) Both father and son are featured in the HBO documentary Hate.com, airing this week. "
One white supremacist group called the Skinheadz reported that in 2000, all of its members who actually did vote, voted for Bush. In fact, the fastest growing type of hate group in the US, collectively known as "Racist Skinheads," are young white males. Like the Skinheadz, If they vote, they will vote for Bush.
Finally, in 2000, an article in "Southern Exposure" magazine revealed the depth of Bush's ties to Neo-Confederate groups, many of whom embrace blatantly white supremacist ideologies. http://www.commondreams.org/news2000/0218-04.htm
Given these facts, it is hardly surprising that Bush would choose white supremacist country to stage his mega rally.
Meanwhile, the media coverage of this long-planned and scripted event was gushing and extensive. By contrast, when Kerry drew a crowd of 50,000 in the northwest a few months ago, the media blacked the event out, instead covering a 2,000-strong Bush rally a few miles away.
Here's a snippet from the Cincinnatti Post on the Bush rally:
HEADLINE: Bush euphoria trumps traffic gridlock, hot sun
"Traffic and parking were a nightmare, and standing in a crowd of people under the blazing sun for several hours was unpleasant, but those were mere details to ardent Bush supporters at Voice of America Park in West Chester on Monday.
"Oh, it was fantastic," Dynel Fuller, 35, said. "President Bush is the greatest president that has ever lived."
This bit would be nauseating enough if you didn't know that the event was, in fact, tantamount to a "white power" rally. But when you combine the gooey propaganda under the heading of "news report" to the facts, it is scary indeed.
Hate Groups, Militias Stage Comeback
Southern Poverty Law Center:
After you check out this assortment of news stories on the violence of white supremacist groups, you may well ask why Homeland Security has failed to make this problem a top priority, and why the media has failed to adequately report the problem:
Ex-racist 'Skinhead' Tells Gripping Story of Hatred and Redemption