Watching the news, it’s fascinating how France and the US are dealing with their respective terrorist attacks. In France, the attacks are discussed in terms of radicalized Islam vs the French Republic. The enemy is ISIS and its supporters. But in the US, the attacks are discussed almost purely in terms of American presidential politics, and the enemy is either the Republican party or the Democratic party. It has yet to sink in who it is we are fighting. For Republicans it seems to be all of Islam, while for Democrats it seems to be the National Rifle Association. The fact that both Democrats and Republicans (aka conservatives and liberals) are both quite divorced from reality here is never mentioned, because to the next terrorists–and there will almost assuredly be more attacks–Democrats and Republicans are exactly the same. We’re all targets. As far as they are concerned this whole political debate, and the furor all over Facebook, is quite irrelevant.
But then almost everyone in America sees everything in America through either conservative American or liberal American glasses. In fact probably the only ones who don’t are the few thousand scattered ISIS supporters. We wonder how the two terrorists in San Bernardino were never noticed beforehand. But how could they be? They didn’t exist within the American Left vs Right universe. They were in a parallel universe. We could not see them. They were right in front of us, invisible. You want to know how invisible? Two people with typically Islamic names attacked a Christmas party with assault weapons and pipe bombs, and the first thing everyone thought was it was a workplace tiff. That this guy got in an argument with his co-workers, went home, got his wife, both of whom suited up in black tactical uniforms, filled the car up with thousands of rounds of ammunition and a dozen pipe bombs, burst into the room, slaughtered people, left a pipe bomb booby trap in the lobby, and escaped. For two days no one could imagine any other explanation except it was because of a work place argument. Indeed, if someone was crazy enough to mention the possibility that it was Islamic terrorism, they were denounced as paranoid racists. Apparently the Left vs Right worldview in America is so dominant it can’t even see anything that does not fit snugly into a left or right point of view. And Islamic terrorism, genuinely crazed extremist ISIS terrorism, does not fit that view. It doesn’t exist. Two ISIS supporters shot up a room full of civil servants and social workers, mostly women and people of color, and the Left blames the NRA and the right blames Syrians. Not blaming the NRA or not blaming all muslims does not make any sense to, respectively, the Left and Right. In fact thinking otherwise is not only wrong, it is immoral. Americans have tied this world view to the very concept of right and wrong, and any deviation from the accepted points of view is not only nonsensical, but depraved. It’s no wonder Americans can’t see any other point of view. They’ve trapped themselves in an American universe that, alas, has little bearing on the real universe. We simply cannot see things that do not fit into our rigorous left or right ideology.
Had this been in Europe, no one would have been stupid enough to believe that this was anything other than ISIS inspired terrorism. But it will take a couple more of these attacks to slap the American public into reality. Obviously this one didn’t work. Which explains why the posts on Facebook seemed to care so much more about the murdered in Paris and so little about the murdered in San Bernardino. The dead in France made sense….they have terrorism there. The dead here were just items on political scorecards. It was even politically incorrect to pray for them.
One of the murder victims in San Bernardino was a gay man. There was an absolutely heartbreaking photo of his boyfriend getting the news and bursting into tears. Perhaps you saw the photo. Of all the pictures I saw, that one caught the most raw emotion. Oddly enough, it was scarcely mentioned on Facebook. Every other murder or attack on an LGBT worldwide got outraged attention on Facebook. Even the tiniest micro offense against LGBT students was discussed in the media and on Facebook. But this guy went unremarked. The poor bastard had the misfortune to be killed in a politically incorrect massacre. It’s too bad it hadn’t been a workplace tiff. Then you’d know Daniel Kaufman’s name. You might even know the names of Robert Adams, Isaac Amanios, Bennetta Betbadal, Harry Bowman, Sierra Clayborn, Juan Espinoza, Aurora Godoy, Shannon Johnson, Damian Meins, Tin Nguyen, Nicholas Thalasinos, Yvette Velasco and Michael Wetzel, too.