So this morning I’m surfing the hashtags on Twitter, cause I have plenty better to do of course, but anyway…
…and I come across the image to your left. It’s just one of many memes produced every day by the right wing hate machine. This one in particular happens to have been retweeted by professional bigot Ann Coulter.
I look at this image and I can’t help but think of the words ‘nits make lice.’ the saying is popularly attributed to Colonel John Chivington, another of history’s great war-mongers who didn’t care to distinguish children from enemies. Ostensibly charged with protecting the people of Colorado from Cheyenne and Arapaho, Chivington wasn’t much good at fighting real warriors, but he sure knew how to kill women and children, and on November 29th, 1864, he knew exactly where to find a band of Cheyenne who weren’t going anywhere. They weren’t going anywhere, because they’d already been placed under the protection of the army at Fort Lyon. Chivington didn’t care.
Neither do people who produce images like this.
Sadly such folk are not such a fringe group in America, or in other parts of the western world. Today the net is also abuzz with talk of plans from Narcissa Trump to force Muslims to register all across the nation so we can keep track of them. We’re still hearing the echoes of a Jeb Bush plan to admit only Christian refugees to America. And of course calls abound to reject all Syrian refugees out of some generalized fears about terrorism. Some are concerned about the possibility of terrorists inserting themselves into the refugee population. Many more simply refuse to think of any Muslims, or those coming from Muslim regions, as anything but terrorists.
I find myself waxing nostalgic for the days after 9-11 when President Bush carefully made it clear that our nation is not at war with Islam. I’ve never been a fan of Bush, but in this regard he at least held the rising tide of right wing malice to within certain degrees of sanity. In the intervening years, pseudo-conservative culture warriors have been working damned hard to overcome that limitation, and they have made great progress. They want a general war between the west (and Christendom) and Islam itself. Sometimes folks will qualify this by saying we are at war with ‘radical Islam’ as if ‘radical’ were ever enough to clarify the difference. These people want desperately for America to commit to general war against proponents of Islam all over the world.
And in this respect, they want very much the same thing that terrorists want. It’s as fascinating as it is disturbing to the dance of dangerous men and their couch-bound cheerleaders. Nothing brings the bigots out from under the rocks that hide them in America quite like events such as Paris. They find in terrorist acts a real source of empowerment, and they use that empowerment as much to attack moderates here in the west as any radicals abroad.
What is the worst thing about Isis? To so many right wingers, that would be Obama.
…or liberals in general.
What these war-mongers want doesn’t have much to do with ending terrorism or defeating actual terrorists, but they will make life miserable for those who happen to live near terrorists, who happen to look like terrorists, or (in the case of Syrian refugees) who happen to have already been hurt themselves by such terrorists. They would have been right at home with Chivington and the Colorado 3rd.
Each act of terrorism is an opportunity for right wingers to push aside the rest of us, to finally defeat their own domestic enemies and set the nation and the world at large on a violent course. They see in Paris and every act by the terrorists proof positive that their own violent worldview is the correct one, and that our nations must ever more place warfare at the center of public policy. That our own war efforts may have similar effects in far regions of the world could hardly be an objection to such a mind-set. It is synergy in action, the benefits of an ever escalating rhetoric of violence. As much as these people hate each other, they hate the rest of us more.
Its tough not to see a measure of alliance between terrorists and those who would reduce of American policy to a war against them, and against all of Islam. In some cases, this connection would be concrete, because you can bet the KKK and everyone at Storm Front are among the voices flooding social media this last week. In other cases the connection takes more thought. But each act of violence brings both forth cries for more of the same. These messages come ostensibly from enemies, and yet they coalesce into an odd sort of harmony.
The mating calls of violent men!
These violent men only have eyes for each other. And if they have their way, the world at large will soon be nothing but a battle ground between such people.
It will also be a dance hall for the morbidly obsessed.