09 January, 2011
Acts of Deranged Individuals
I like to make up words. The latest: tearrorist. A right-wing zealot willing to bring about political goals by means intended to arouse terror into opponents. At some point, the Tea partiers will become organized and orthodox enough to also use fear as a means of keeping their own in line, but for now it is enough to attack the enemy.
I must be an enemy, being loud-mouthed and left, secular and human, and I vote every time (sometimes for people like Ralph Nader and Jesse Jackson). But I'm just a prole, and don't merit an actual Target. Wealthless and blueless in the blood department, I am no threat to the mega-wealthy few who pull Teapuppet strings. Sure, they wanna maintain a certain level of rage at guys like me, but the general warfare has not started (and woe to us if it does), and it's enough to aim at people like Congresswoman Giffords, who was shot along with a bunch of other people, many of whom died, including a girl who was born on 9/11.
Open fire in a public place, gunning for a politician but happy to spray the crowd with hot lead? Terrorism.
Of course, the spin is already underway, the right claiming that even though they literally placed crosshairs on the woman, that the violence is the work of a lone, misguided and probably insane, individual. So we have this on Reuters:
"This was the act of a deranged individual," conservative Republican Senator Rand Paul told "Fox News Sunday."
House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner ordered flags at the U.S. Capitol in Washington lowered to half staff in memory of the victims. He said the incident was a reminder that public service comes with a risk.
"This inhuman act should not and will not deter us from our calling to represent our constituents and fulfill our oaths of office. No act, no matter how heinous, must be allowed to stop us from our duty," Boehner said.
In Tucson, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said the suspect "has kind of a troubled past and we're not convinced that he acted alone." He said he believed Giffords was the intended target of the shooting.
See? Choosing Rand Paul, deranged scion of a libertarian political dynasty, to deliver this message is classic irony-impairment. Foxnews of course is renowned for its derangement, if lying counts as deranged behavior, if believing that the media is liberal and war is peace and that Democrats are fascists signals derangement. Fox spends it's 'news' time mongering fear at a great discount, telling its dumbstruck viewers that someone (liberals, brown people, foreigners) is trying to get them. It whips up indignance, resentment, ire, and bile. Inchoate rage will do and frequently does. Constant martial language, puffed up tough talk with but one message "Those people want to attack you, help Americo get them first." Terrorism coming and going.
To see Hannity jutting a jaw Mussolini style and barking some easily debunked crap, or to hear one of Limbough's drug-addled rants is to laugh. Silliness. Besides which, most of the figureheads and pundits probably don't believe half of what they say anyway, they're just giving people what they want, selling advertising space.
Yet...there's danger. Years of fear of terror allowed the unfettered expansion of Cheney's ambition at the expense of Americans' civil rights. Masses complained not; individuals who did were shouted down. Organizations that feared not, that stood up, either failed to get attention from the media or were denounced therein as aides de terror, targeted for investigation, break-ins, and monitoring. Since 9/11, we've been introduced to long lost Big Brothers, watching what we say, hauling us to Gitmo when we get out of line, and just generally bullying and intimidating.
The fearful, the unduly fortunate who live in terror of a black man helping the less fortunate, have mostly been along for the ride, doing little more than casting votes and calling in to rant and espouse baffling political theories. But now we start to see some of them taking it to the next level. Ratcheting up the terror.
We need to answer, cannot afford to roll over. And not by making up further protections for the elected elite (who to be honest, are just there to represent the monied interests that put them there), in fact one of the saddest bits of fallout from this kind of violence will be to further isolate the ruling class from the people. Boehner's bit about congress needing to be brave and undeterred from its "calling" smacks of a guy who does not want the corporate agenda slowed down because of a few dead people. To act like the risk is evenly distributed is completely bogus: liberals do not arm themselves and pose threateningly outside GOP events, and they're despised by the right precisely because they seek controls on weapons.
The answer must be non-violent, but delivered face to face, more aggressively than the left is used to acting. No more silent head-shaking when the buffoon at the office spouts some teaparty crap. Educate your old and fearful relatives, switch their channel from Fox. Respond and debunk every propaganda email you get. Participate in citizen actions that let the leadership know that we cherish the Bill of Rights. Insisting on freedom.
The deranged individuals are not the lone gunmen, the fanatics shooting what they fear. The deranged individuals are Rupert Murdoch, who would flush democracy for a few more bucks. Ms. Palin is so deluded as to believe that she is genuinely able to lead, and not just a petroleum puppet. Deranged is the commentator who equates a little bit of help for the poor with Hitler and Stalin. The pastor who deranges his flocks to the battlefields of Iraq (and for that matter, of our own culture).
These are dangerous people, but they are not unstoppable, and we don't have to sink to their level of dumb hatred to beat them. We will prevail not by force (they have a hell of a lot more weaponry and are itching to use it), but because we refuse to give in to terror. We will laugh them to death, outvote the dwindling ranks of elderly fools, keep blinding them with the light of reason.