– L. Arthalia Cravin

Yesterday three members of the Russian female punk rock group that calls itself “Pussy Riot” were given two year prison sentences for what the judge called, “hooliganism driven by religious hatred”.” The three were arrested in March after a February guerrilla performance in Moscow’s main cathedral, high-kicking and dancing while singing a “punk prayer” pleading the Virgin Mary to save Russia from Vladimir Putin, who was elected to a third new term as Russia’s president two weeks later.

American could learn a lot from the Russians because hooliganism is running amok in this country, but not by punk rock groups, but by “political hooligans” bent on fomenting racial and ethnic civil war. The word hooligan is defined as “rowdy, violent, or destructive behavior.” The term is typically applied to “lower class” folks such as minority youth who break store front windows—or civil rights groups such as the former Black Panther Party or the Symbionese Liberation Army. Remember when folks like Barry Goldwater routinely referred to anyone who dared to resist racial oppression, even nonviolently, as a “bunch of hooligans?” What a difference a day makes. Why did no one call the South Carolina congressman Joe Wilson a “hooligan” when he yelled “you lie” during the President’s address to Congress in September 2009? That was hooligan behavior at its worst. Why have folks like Michelle Bachman not been labeled “hooligans” for making false and ridiculous claims that Hillary Clinton’s assistant was part of a secret Muslim group bent on destroying America? Why was “fomenter in chief” Sarah Palin, not label a low-class hooligan for encouraging red-neck racists of every stripe to “don’t retreat, reload,” and using guns with cross-hair targets of individual? Why was this sort of low class, rowdy, destructive behavior not labeled “hooliganism?” And how can someone like Rush Limbaugh, who is Idi Amin in whiteface, not be labeled a “fat hooligan” for the foul-mouthed hatred that he spews forth everyday?

As this election season plays itself out, it is clear that so much of the anti-Obama hatred is being fueled by a bunch of hooligans. As far as I am concerned the Koch brothers fit the description of “hooligans” to a T. They’re just two rich hooligans, but hooligans nevertheless. Why were the folks who set in motion the entire swatch of voter ID photo laws not labeled a bunch of hooligans? The entire Tea Party could well be called a “bunch of hooligans.” What if the Black Panther Party were to encourage gun-toting, “don’t retreat, reload” behavior using billboards depicting shotguns aimed at folks like John Boehner? How soon would there be a national outcry to suppress this sort of hooliganism? What is the difference between the actions of oppressed people seeking redress of civil and economic wrongs and folks whose behavior serves no purpose other than political, social, and economic violence and destruction? Why would one group of individuals be labeled “hooligans” and the other by some fancy name such as the Americans for Preservation of American Values?

Copyright 2012 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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