Norway this past week suffered a brutal terrorist attack. Whatever your opinions on the man (and I eventually believe his co-conspirators) and his political and religious beliefs, he murdered a lot of people in a country without a lot of people. The event was a shock to their way of life and they reacted with swift vengeance and an increase in security.
No wait - that's what we would do. Kind of. In fact, Norway has reacted with reasonable calmness and resolve - investigating the crimes without any actions that increase security at the cost of personal liberties and freedoms. How un-American of them!
With every terrorist attack since 9/11 the United States of America has increased security and decreased personal liberties for our citizens. Remember when you didn't have to take your shoes or belt off to get on an airplane? remember the days when Miranda had to be read to you every time, with no exceptions? Remember when we used to put all accused criminals on trial?
So what's the difference? Why have we been terrorized when Norway hasn't fallen prey to it, despite a home-grown terrorist attack? Glenn Greenwald at Salon has a good article on it but I don't think he hits hard enough on a key issue. He talks about how Norway has resisted pressure to increase security and until this moment of home-grown terrorism has done so successfully - and appears will continue to do so. He talks about the differences between our country and Norway, and how we have become terrorized while they have not.
It's in an update to his article that I notice something. He talks about how we didn't increase security in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing. Well, he accurately points out that in fact we did, but it was nothing on the scale of what we go through today. But there's something else underlying all of this. A man blows up an abortion clinic and sets off a bomb in the Olympic park in Atlanta. A man guns down a doctor in his church. A man places a bomb on the streets of Seattle. None of these terrorist threats warranted an increase in security anywhere in the U.S. But a man attempts to set his feet on fire, and another his undies. A man shoots up an army base, while another attempts to drive a car bomb across the Canadian border. Each of these terrorist threats were responded to with changes and increases in our security.
The difference? Group A weren't Muslims. Group B was. Greenwald didn't want to go to the logical conclusion and went to great pains in his article to talk about differences and make it out to be a difference between our country and Norway. I'm going to go a touch further.
For a melting pot we seem to be really unable to accept differences. We suck at it. Conservatives hate gays and Islamic people and even sometimes Jews. Liberals hate those who are close-minded. I could site you a thousand examples but the point for today is a simple one - these security increases and loss of liberties are the result of perceived Islamic terrorism.
Bill ORLY has nearly popped a vein in his skull over the idea that the Norwegian killer could be called a Christian terrorist. Well, I call bullshit. If you can constantly refer to people using the name of Allah to commit unspeakable acts as Islamic terrorism then this nut job in Norway is certainly a Christian terrorist. And therein lies the heart of the matter - we are racist against Muslims. It's a definitional problem, the same as a white man will lock the doors of his car when he drives through a black neighborhood. You don't want to acknowledge that this is racism, but it most certainly is.
And I don’t see how we're going to get past this without a complete overhaul. Or perhaps by defeating the thing that scares us most - our own fear. I'm not saying it's easy - FDR really nailed it on the head with that one. But until we reach that point the terrorists beat us. Because we are afraid of the people they supposedly represent (even though they don't). It's the same reason that blacks have a suspicion of whites even if they don't dress in sheets. It's the same reason that Native Americans distrust our government and have their own cops - because they were railroaded so often. It's the same reason that Jews, Irish, Italians, and just about every immigrant group has been blamed for the bad crap that happens all throughout the history of the United States.
We are a nation founded on escaping persecution, and while our founding fathers found a way out of that morass for the most part we easily sink back into it. It becomes an us against them mentality, and lately it even permeates the differences between political parties. And even if they all have the same skin color it all boils down to that basic fear - the problems are caused by the NOT US.
Racism. And unless we get past that we're in serious trouble - because we're losing the moral fight.
I'll be honest, I never thought there was a fan-fiction category for anything like this.
Painfully thickwitted. I like that phrase.
And again, The Onion nails it.
No Rand, you've misinterpreted the book. The Hobbits weren't the heroes - a small band of them, outcasts from the rest, were the heroes. You and McCain are just assholes.
Speaking of books, I think I just found two more to add to the summer reading lists of my children.
And the jobs bill is where exactly?
Someone castrated the Speaker of Orange!
And because I love you, Robert Randolph and the Family Band