I’m against waterboarding because I believe it’s illegal, but many on the right clamored for it when we were fighting our war on terror against people with Arabic names who, it was said, posed a threat to our Republic. The waterboard, that instrument of death, was pointed to as something needed to extract information from even the most diehard terrorist in order to save lives. When it was presented in those stark terms even some “progressives” demurred in their protests afraid they would be seen as anti-American, traitors or worse, threats themselves and singled out for persecution. (Regrettably, the latter may have happened a time or two.) It didn’t matter that America was a signatory to a law that said we were against torture and would prosecute anyone who committed it, we were told waterboarding was necessary.
After the latest assault on a sitting member of Congress and the murder of a federal judge at the hands of an assassin who resembles a skinhead in all appearances and who had made references to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, there comes news that another congressman has received ominious threats from places unknown, raising the specter that more death and destruction might be visited on members of Congress. How can we stop what looks like certain carnage? Waterboarding and profiling are two solutions offered up by those on the right when they spoke of Muslims and jihadists who were threats to the American way of life and yet not once, except on the pages of Miscellany101 have these tools not too long ago embraced by many Americans, been mention in the latest discourse. Unfortunately, neither has the matter of whether what Loughner commited is terrorism been discussed much in the media and for obvious reasons.
Terrorists can’t be white, non-Muslims and waterboarding or profiling (racial profiling) can’t be applied to them because it obscures the debate about what’s good and what’s bad for America. White crime is tolerated and ostensibly good for America…we can build case law around it, institutionalize it and put people to work combating it yet maintain a civil society, or so it seems. Terrorism many on the right maintain is the purveyor of dark skinned or Muslim people who threaten our very civilization and we must fight them by any means necessary, even illegal means that we visit upon them and sometimes ourselves. We have bemoaned that double standard time and time again here on Miscellany101. The right seems to relish, embrace it and heap scorn on those who point it out.
The “wingnuts” on the right have for the past decade managed to escape responsibility for any miscalculations on the political stage. The WMD fiasco was dismissed because Saddam was a bad guy and we needed to get rid of him anyway, the encroachment on our civil liberties was proposed because it’s government’s job to take care of us, during the administration of Bush, and during Obama because liberals elected him into office and he is a socialist and that’s what socialists do. The spiteful and intemperate political rhetoric is necessary because it’s a “war” of ideas and too the hearts and minds of the people. It seems every excuse is made that absolves the right from any responsibility for any misfortune that has occurred over the past decade even though they were the party in power for over half the time.
Now comes the political assassination in Tuscon, Arizona right after the virulent election campaigning of 2010 where the political opposition rode on the backs of people who believe in conspiracy theories that rival those concocted after 911. This murder didn’t come in a vacuum; it was sparked by a constant barrage of speech that equated a democratically elected political party with the equally repugnant foe of terrorists, jihadists and Muslims; some even calling the President a secret Muslim, whose goal is to promote a socialist agenda. It was against these policies that the right was shaped and the makers of these policies were the focal point of everyone’s rage. Loughner who it was claimed by neighbors/friends targeted Congresswoman Giffords wasn’t the only one. Byron Williams who had a shootout with authorities after planning acts of violence against the ACLU, a favorite target of the right and the Tides Foundation, said he wanted to spark a civil war and he pointed to a radio head pundit as being a primary source of his information and motivation. Yet the right, the more vocal among them, claim no responsibility for this violent swing in politics even while others among them are asking for de-escalation in the rhetoric. Fat chance.
This is the group that claims when it comes to their enemies that everyone of them is responsible for the crimes committed by one of them; that the idea of collective punishment, something practiced by the Israelis against Palestinians, is a legitimate way of dealing with a threat, not just the kind that a Loughner, or a Williams or the unknown assailant threatening Congressman Renny Davis pose. So there will be no talk of waterboarding anyone to get information from them about the impending murder of another Congressman, now will there be calls for profiling white males who look like Loughner, or Williams and we won’t hear not one suggestion that the motivating factors behind their rage be investigated or asked to condemn their murderous impulses because in almost every case they, these perpetrators of terrorism against the homeland are just like the pundits and politicians who use these acts of government coercion on others. That is the story of America and her injustices and it will plague us for as long as we continue to ignore it.