FOX News's Laura Ingraham really needs to self-check because the senior leadership at the Department of Defense is on a mission to root out extremists within the ranks of the U.S. Military. It is not a mission to attack ideology, but rather an objective of eradicating extremist behavior. This right wing Republican assault on our armed forces in America is courtesy of the same type of attack that is akin to Trumpism.

Under President Donald Trump's administration, congressional allocated money earmarked for military construction projects was re-routed for the border wall. Remember when Trump mocked the late Senator and combat U.S. Navy Veteran, John McCain, for being a prisoner of war in Vietnam? And this disrespectful remark came from a person who had received multiple academic and medical deferments to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War. And then there was Senator Ted Cruz, who had accused the U.S. Army of promoting an image of "pansies".

We are now seeing the GOP culture war manifest itself in a campaign to "defund" the DOD because you have right wing pundits, politicians, blowhards, and conspiracy theorists who claim, for example, that tax dollars are being spent to root out "conservative evangelicals" within the ranks, and not white nationalists. From calling the January 6th insurrectionists "tourists" and "victims," to asserting that the U.S. military is "woke" by spreading a Marxist agenda, we are seeing the Republican Party spiral into the very white extremism that permeates its base in America, which Joint Chiefs chairman General Mark A. Milley was on a mission to curb in the first place! Do not be fooled as the GOP is making excuses for extremists, and defending them with certain nuances, yet it is easy to see through these nuances like a lace curtain.

The grievances of white conservatives are right out in the open despite any nuances about economics that permeated throughout the Tea Party movement during the Barack Obama presidency. The Tea Party, also, did not evaporate as a movement after Obama exited the White House, and if anything it demonstrated that politicians or popular movements can, in fact, make racist appeals to white Southerners. Currently, the MAGA movement is still energized by the fuel that fed the Tea Party except that now there are no blurred lines or attempts to claim that race is not a factor within the Republican political realm.

In 2016, then-candidate Trump was able to channel the economic and cultural anxiety among low income white conservatives, but well before the 2016 race consider the Tea Party's opposition to policies viewed by the movement as policies that constitute as "handouts" to what some in the MAGA base would refer to as "undeserving" people. Trump's brand of populism was his channeling of all of that conservative paranoia against the Washington D.C. establishment by appealing to the fear within the MAGA masses who see themselves as the "victim" in a world where Christian whites fear being culturally displaced by growing members of minority communities.

Ultimately, instead of attacking racism and white supremacy directly, we see Republican senators such as Ted Cruz, who choose to attack critical race theory, which is a way to move toward a reckoning of systemic racism and United States history. In a country where thousands of angry Americans attacked our democracy in the name of a myth, it is of utmost necessity that the U.S. teaches history accurately.

Brent Been is a Tahlequah educator with an emphasis on civics and history.

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