As the story develops there has been important commentary that probably will get lost: as reality checks tend to. I hope my mentioning it will at least help prevent it from totally disappearing.
I believe it was on The Thom Hartmann Show where the comment was made that if we find out it was a radical Muslim then one side of the political equation will demand attacks on Iran, or whomever, and once again try to frame all Muslims as drooling, foam at the mouth, fanatics. If we find out it was one of the more out there, on the edge, righties, then the spin will have it that it’s just one crazy whose parents are probably Democrats: even if they’re not, and why are you painting everyone on the right with such a broad brush?
Just like some tried to excuse, or gloss over, some of the worst actions of revolutionaries 50 years ago.
Having read that, I’m sure immediately spinsters will start with the false equivalency tactic where the corpses of 60s revolutionaries are unearthed and dragged out of their coffins, or if they’re still alive their actions from 50 years ago will be highlighted, to “prove” the left is exactly like the right. The current meek, small, Black Panther revival will suddenly become equal to Godzilla tromping across America. Jeremiah Wright and anyone else they can half-ass tie to Barack Obama will become leaders of a massive army swarming the country like killer socialist bees.
But all this is utter, complete, nonsense.
There is no comparison, in either case.
Look, this isn’t hard to understand. 50 years ago there was a massive, strong, young, radical left movement pushed by the baby boom in this country. That massive, strong, young, radical left movement doesn’t exist anymore. Many are dead. Many have turned to the right. And many have decided to let the next generations handle it all, and by that I don’t mean they’re not active at all. I mean when it comes to that kind of movement youth is pretty much required, and our numbers are smaller, and we are older. A lot older.
50 years later the right has built a similar phenomenon, but instead of relying on a baby boom they rely on fundamentalists, libertarians, rednecks, racists, skinheads: pooling radicals from their own side and people who have causes that allow pretty much no compromise. Because of that they have a movement that is loud, influential and strong. And I don’t mean most are drooling fanatics, and I’m not making any specific claim as to what percentage of the worst might be part of the right wing. That’s another discussion, really.
The singular point here is the whole spin that the right and left are coequal these days is no more accurate than it was in the 60s. Back then you had some revolutionaries: not “all,” so dedicated to their causes they were willing to do anything to get what they wanted. Most of them were on the left. Today you have the same, only the trend had flipped, politically speaking. Which was, or is, worse? Well, I think you know what I would say. But, once again: really another topic.
Not everyone from the 60s was a pot smoking hippie. Not everyone avoided the war. Not everyone bombed buildings. Not all Muslims are drooling fanatics, anymore than most righties. Both have their terrorist elements.
If you’re willing to plant a bomb that might kill innocents to stop a war or destroy a clinic…
If killing those who work for a defense contractor or murdering a doctor, members of his staff and any innocents who happen to be in the way are acceptable parts of your plan…
If slaughtering any gay, or policeman, matters more to you than “collateral damage…”
If to make your point you must massacre men, women, children and runners at the Boston Marathon….
You are a terrorist.
What you consider yourself to be, philosophically, doesn’t matter. You should be dealt with like Osama bin Laden, or at least Eric Rudolph, Timothy McVeigh: no matter what your ideology is.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
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