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Rooting For The Homegrown Whackadoo

I’ll admit it, I was hoping the Boston Marathon bomber was a homegrown, domestic whack job rather than an import. That sounds fucked up, I know but hear me out. Part of my reason was altruistic, and part was purely selfish, but both stem from the same logic.

I wanted the bomber to be a domestic whackadoo because we don’t lose our shit when the terrorist is white.

The altruistic part of me wanted the terrorist to be white because no white guy, even if his last name is McVeigh was ever randomly beaten up by ignorant assholes looking for revenge. I lived in Los Angeles when 9/11 happened. In the weeks after the attack, I remember seeing a cab with an American flag that was made to be displayed from your home, strapped to the antenna of his cab. And when I looked at the cab driver, I understood why; he was a Sikh. That poor bastard had to find the biggest American flag that China could manufacture to put on his cab so that he wouldn’t get the crap kicked out of him by lunatic vigilantes who couldn’t tell a Muslim from the holes in their own asses. So for that reason, for my love of humanity, I wanted the terrorist to be white. We don’t react when the terrorist is white. Does anyone think that we’re going to round up all of the Elvis impersonators in the country, and haul their sequin adorned asses down to Guantanamo for interrogation, just because an Elvis impersonator sent ricin to the president? I think not. So for the loveĀ of humanity, I wanted the terrorist to be white.

The selfish part of me wanted the terrorist to be white too. My life would have been easier because we tend to be less reactionary when the terrorist is white. Gabby Giffords was shot by a white terrorist, and I didn’t have to take off my shoes, belt, or remove my laptop from my bag because of it. Shit, I still don’t even need to go through a background check to get a gun, and I can buy as much ammo, in the biggest clip I can. Nothing changes to complicate my life when the terrorist is white.I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to give up a DNA swab if I want to be anywhere near a public event in the future.

So judge me as a racist if you will, but I think that a lot of you secretly agree with me. Everyone would have been better off if the terrorist were a white, homegrown, protestant whackadoo.

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Fear Interrupted

I’m struck by something as I watch all of these violent teabagger flair ups across the country. I’m struck by the fact that for eight LONG years I was told to remain in a constant state of fear. I was supposed to be afraid that a foreigner was going to walk into Times Square and set off a dirty bomb every day. I was told to be afraid of biological weapons going off on my stoop. I was supposed to be afraid that prosecuting suspected terrorists within the confines of my justice system was going to embolden the dirty bombers that were laying in wait. I was told to duct tape my windows, and to have a gas mask on hand for when the inevitable attack came. For eight years, I was told that I should be crapping my pants with fear so that the terrorists don’t win.

None of that materialized.

Fast forward to today. Every single day for the past couple of weeks, I see reports like this one and I wonder why the same republicans that demanded that I be afraid aren’t at all concerned. Is it that one big attack every few years is scarier than much smaller daily acts of terrorism? Yes, I said terrorism because terrorism is defined as “the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes”. Is it that they believe that foreigners are scarier than homegrown terrorists? Or would it just inconvenient for republicans if I were afraid of these domestic terrorists because that would take my focus away from being afraid of health reform?

None of these scenarios actually work for me. I find these constant acts of violence to be much more frightening than one big attack. I’m afraid because their frequency is a sign that something ugly is brewing in America. And I’m definitely more afraid of American terrorism than I am of a foreign attack. I don’t fundamentally believe that this country can ever be destroyed by external forces. But I am terrified by my belief that this country can be destroyed from within, which brings me to my third question.

Are republicans ignoring the domestic violence that we’re being subjected to on a daily basis because denouncing it would be inconvenient for them?

John Boehner took his sweet time in denouncing the violence. When he finally did, he spent 1/4 of the length of his press conference denouncing the violence and dedicated the remaining 3/4 of the time reiterating how scary the health reform bill is, and how democrats ignored the wishes of the American people. So he spent more time ginning up the anger than he did reigning it in.

Eric Cantor didn’t denounce it at all. He decided to take the age old tactic of blaming the victim, claiming that reporting on the violence was a means of exploiting what was happening for political gain. He went on to claim that his congressional offices were also subjected to vandalism in order to make the point that democrats are to blame for the reporting the violence AND for creating some of it. His claim was quickly proven to be baseless. It turns out that a stray bullet that was shot in the air landed on the windowsill of his congressional offices. I want to take a moment to tellĀ  Eric Cantor that he is a dickless piece of shit for making up a story and adding an antisemitic twist, just for kicks. Yes, he claimed that this imaginary attack on his office happened because he’s Jewish. Every time you fabricate antisemitism, you create antisemitism. So when I say “fuck you”, I say it as a Jew.

Sorry, I got off track there. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m much more fearful of domestic terrorists than I am of any foreign attack. Domestic terrorists have several advantages that foreigners don’t. The most important one being that foreign terrorists unite us while domestic terrorists divide us. We stood together after 911. The whole world stood with us after 911. The fracture that we’re seeing now didn’t exist because it can’t exist as a result of a foreign attack.

I am frightened and angry now, when I never was before. In addition to Eric Cantor and his fellow republicans that aren’t standing up to this, I’d like to add FOX News to my “fuck you” list. They’re perpetuating something very dangerous here just to prop up a political ideology.

I have a question for everyone that is throwing down with these violent extremists. If you have to align yourself with terrorists to keep your ideology alive, isn’t it time to reassess your beliefs?

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Rage Against The Machine

I first want to start with a warning; this post isn’t going to be bitchy so much as hippy dippy and full of sunny optimism. I know what you’re thinking, and I’m sorry. I’m not feeling like myself today but I can tell you from past experience that it won’t last. I can assure you that I will be back to my usual bitchy self soon enough so please forgive my temporary bout with optimism.

I, like most of you, have been following the stories of violent teabaggers gone wild over the past week. At first I was scared. Okay, I’m still scared. But something struck me as I was reading through the stories. I’m going to focus on one teabagger in particular because I think he’s emblematic of most of them.

Mike Vanderboegh is a blogger that has stepped up to take credit for the brick throwing through windows of some of our democratic representatives’ offices. He sent out a call to arms last Friday, urging his readers to “Break their windows. Break them NOW”. He did this in protest of health insurance reform. The Washington Post discovered that Mr. Vanderboegh is a 57 year old man from Alabama. He receives $1,300 a month in federal disability checks. He’s on disability because of congestive heart failure, diabetes and hypertension. My immediate reaction to this man focused on the utter hypocrisy of taking an anti-government stance WHILE receiving government hand outs! After I let that stew for a while, it occurred to me that this was a very sad man. His life obviously didn’t turn out the way he had hoped it would and he’s full of rage because of it. I decided to go to his blog. It was full of vitriolic anti-government rantings as I suspected it would. Then I looked at the comments that people posted. There were supportive posts from his batshit crazy supporters and there were posts from “liberals” telling him off. I felt compelled to leave a comment myself, not to tell him off but to tell him that I was sorry that his life turned out in a way that has filled him up with so much rage. I suggested that he take steps to make some positive changes in his life like starting a small business or taking some classes that might qualify him for a desk job. I told him that I really believe that taking some positive steps would make the rage disappear before he even realized it. I clicked the “post comment” button when I was done and, to my surprise, received a message telling me that my comment would appear as soon as the owner of the blog approved it. I was surprised because the comments that told him off led me to believe that he wasn’t moderating comments. I waited a day before I went back to look at his blog again, curious to see if my comments made the cut. They did not! Once I realized what was going on, I was struck by the fact that Mr. Vanderboegh is a person that responds to rage. He’s filled with it, and he feels comfortable being surrounded by it.

I think he represents most teabaggers. From what I’ve seen, these are not wealthy people. They don’t appear to be a crowd of people who have seen their dreams realized in their lifetimes. They all seem to be full of rage. Dick Army did a pretty impressive job of misdirecting their rage and motivating them to go out and protest against their own interest.

We can’t respond to them with rage because doing so amounts to pouring gasoline on a fire. Rage is the only thing they understand. They’re filled with it, and they feed off of it. We can’t educate them. It’s obvious that their anger makes them impervious to facts. They have no use for them. So what do we do?

I feel like we only really have two options.

We can ignore them. I don’t mean ignore them by not reporting on their violent activities. I mean ignore them by not reacting with rage. Berating them publicly only seems to increase their resolve. If we just pass the reporting along to everyone we know without reacting, we ultimately win because the majority of Americans are appalled by what they’re doing. We can let them do what they do and just watch as Americans turn against everything they believe in.

The other option is admittedly a long shot, and it’s where the sunny optimism comes in so bear with me. Maybe we can throw in with them. I don’t mean that we should all go out and fill wheelbarrows full of bricks to hurl through windows. I mean that we should leverage their rage and point it where it belongs. Maybe we can band together with them on things that we all agree on to build a productive coalition. Everyone hates wall street right now. That’s one thing that teabaggers, republicans, and democrats can all agree on. Maybe we can agree that good government isn’t possible as long as our political system is wholly owned by corporations. They surely must agree with that premise so why not work with them to get ballot initiatives in every state across the country to make our elections publicly funded. Clean elections is the only way that we’re actually going to have ideological battles about the direction this country to take. Until that happens, we’re relegated to fighting for corporate America. The only thing that separates democrats from republicans is the pace at which the corporate takeover of America happens.

That second option isn’t likely, but we won’t know that until we give it a shot.

What I am certain of, is that combating teabagger rage with rage isn’t going to work. Let’s give something new a shot.

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