Do You Know This Racist Driver?

Courtesy of <a href="http://www.cair.com/images/Heil-Hitler-License-Plate.jpg ">the Council on American-Islamic Relations</a>.

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Proof positive that racial justice, of a sort, can be crowdsourced: A few days ago, someone posted this photo of a rolling Inner America sterotype on the Internet, and Gawker picked it up. Apparently, a patriotic Confederate—as evidenced by his love for the stars and bars—wanted everybody behind him to know how much he hates Muslims while driving past the Philip Morris plant south of Richmond on I-95. “EVERYTHING I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ISLAM I LEARNED ON 9/11,” his slick tailgate decal reads, in block letters superimposed over explosions at the World Trade Centers, which must have been oh, such a personal blow to this south-of-the-Mason-Dixon waterdrinker.

But then the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) took a look at the photo and noticed Jebediah Q. Public’s license plate: Turns out it’s laden with white supremacist code. The “88” you might know: That’s a popular way among yahoos of subtly saying “Heil Hitler,” since “H” is the 8th letter of the alphabet. (Apologies to all you well-intending NASCAR fans of Jarrett, Junior and Geoff.) The “CV” means “confederate veteran”, which is consistent with the plate’s tiny confederate battle flag denoting the licensee as a Sons of Confederate Veterans member. Best of all, though, is the lesser-known “14,” which is a reference to the “14 Words,” a white supremacist manifesto first coined by The Order member David Lane: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” Turns out the driver of this mystery machine isn’t just a racist lunatic; he’s a joiner.

“If the license plate had been on a VW Beetle with nothing else on it, or a Volvo station wagon, no one would probably have noticed,” CAIR’s director told the Washington Post. “But when the Confederate flag is thrown in…it shows the convergence of anti-government and anti-Islamic sentiments that unfortunately seem to be growing.”

Mind you, this is Virginia, where the recently elected “moderate” Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, has held a shadow state of the union address, fought against equal protection for gays, expressed secessionist sentiment over health care reform, and declared April “Confederate History Month” (a proclamation that he was forced to modify when critics pointed out that it glossed over that whole, you know, slavery thing). In Virginia, you may not be able to hang testicles on your truck or have a casual chat with cops while cutting loose, but hey, the Confederacy’s cool. That’s part of a general doublethink trend in (mainly southern) conservative circles, where extolling America’s anti-American past is now a supreme sign of patriotism.

To its credit, once CAIR and the blogosphere got involved, the state commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles moved quickly to put the kibosh on this David Dukemobile’s licensing.

Next, maybe they’ll write the dude a ticket for bogarting that disabled parking spot. Unless he claims some mental derangement. But last time I checked, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders didn’t have an entry under “douchebag.”

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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