July 16, 2016
What’s in a name?
The Right has had tantrums about President Obama’s reluctance to utter the term “Islamic terrorism.”
But whether it is appropriate or not comes down to what his advisors are suggesting. And by his advisors, I mean only those around him who have spent significant time in the Middle East, in the fight.
If they are informing the POTUS, “In my experience, it doesn’t help our relations with moderate Muslims if you say Islamic radicalism,” then I understand him heeding their counsel.
But if that is the case, why aren’t other world leaders as reticent about labeling the extremist followers of Mohammed for what they are? More yet, perhaps it is just Obama’s own “gut feeling” not to declare it – if this is so, then his taciturnity is idiotic.
True, even if he were to shout “Islamic terrorism” at his next press conference, it does nothing in terms of helping in an actual fire-fight. Yet as President, one must behave confidently, and this would imply not treating Islamic radicalism as Voldemort. Calling this plague by its name can bequeath Americans a certain determination, make them want to stay in this long fight against a most vicious enemy. It could be seen as a psychological necessity in war to name the foe, even if it doesn’t help aim and fire a gun any better.
And I might add, any moderate Muslim so enraged by the designation, might not be as moderate as we suppose.
“Never Surrender” Reworked
Just imagine Churchill’s “Never Surrender” speech:
“Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail.”
“Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of people who pervert the meaning of German patriotism, we shall not flag or fail.”
Bit of a drop off in quality and power, no?
Further, it is somewhat disingenuous that in a society obsessed with correctly labeling everyone and everything, we can’t find in it in ourselves to designate Islamic radicals as such?
Hoping for White Extremism
After several Islamic attacks, more than one person on Twitter has openly hoped it was a white, rightwing extremist and not a Muslim who shoot/blew up/drove over the innocents. On a few sites, actual articles were written hoping it was white terrorists.
This is strange: it seems such people want to prove there is an epidemic of white terrorism by clearly ceding that there is, in fact, essentially no white terrorism. In the 1950s South, you didn’t have to hope the young African-American beaten off the barstool was a white person.
I suppose those who have such wishes fear the more attacks by a minority of Muslims in Europe or America, the more likely it is extremist whites will start targeting all Muslims indiscriminately. One might say it is a preemptive war on the belief systems of whites, oddly analogous to President George W. Bush believing Saddam Hussein had WMDs and it was imperative to invade. Make of this what you will of their psychologies.
The intention to prevent a redux of white bigotry in America may be pure, but the effects are only to reinforce what white nationalists, and more recently, even non-radical whites, already are starting to feel: that whites are being unfairly persecuted and blamed for all societal woes, that they are being prejudiced against.
Standing in a “White Man’s Shoes”?
We are told to put the shoe on the other foot, but what that often means today (and what accounts for much of the school of fish like responses to events) is to see the world solely through the eyes of the historically oppressed.
No doubt this is vital and any decent person does this and attempts, in his or her own small way, to make amends for the horrors of prejudice past and present.
But a majority, such as whites, that is not actually oppressed, may yet genuinely perceive that they are being diminished. One can be dismissive or condescending of such perceptions and feelings on behalf of whites, but it doesn’t make them go away.
Many whites I speak to feel that the Left are more afraid of what radical Caucasians might do, than what radical Islamists actually do.
They wonder why it is that the Bible is made to seem for uneducated hicks, but the Koran – for some inexplicable reason – is seen as a book that pacifies and civilizes people?
Or, they ask, why all women are supposed to be believed concerning an accusation of rape unless, it seems, it is white European women accusing Syrian refugees of assault?
I often walked through Manhattan since 2001 and wondered (as I am sure many people did), why don’t they just use cars to kill us? It would be so easy. You don’t need hours of flight training to master hopping a curb onto a crowded sidewalk.
The Guernica type video of the carnage of the nearly 100 dead in Nice, France is some of the worst I’ve seen, and I have seen some pretty awful footage.
One man is lying in the road absolutely crushed, his head grotesquely facing the opposite way it should, so too one of his legs. Like an old G.I. Joe toy, with those dislocate-able joints, that has been crumbled under a foot.
In India, the juggernaut was an enormous vehicle which devotees would willingly fling themselves under to be smashed for the deities of Hinduism, hopefully to be heaven-bound by being squished and squashed.
The driver of the delivery truck in Nice was the anti-Juggernaut: he was the devotee crushing “unbelievers” in his path – attempting, by his rampage, to launch himself to that virginal Elysium.
New “Acts of God”
What shocks the world any more? An athlete changing his gender appears to impress us more and for a longer duration than an Islamic terrorist attack that kills a few hundred in the most horrendous of fashion.
Murder is mundane, terror is trite. Sex changes are scintillating.^
We have disgustingly and ostensibly accepted our fate. We have expanded the definition of “acts of God” to include not only flash floods, earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, and lightning, but I suppose, “Islamic extremism.”
So many believe: It’s just going to happen and there is nothing we can do about it.
I’m shaking my head as I write this.
^This is not to say that the rights of transgenders is not a story.