Madame Malkin and the Army of John Does

So last night Mike sends me an e-mail entitled “Silly”. Considering that most of my work email is crap that I can’t be bothered to read (Seriously, we have people emailing tens of thousands of workers to inform us that their cell phone number has changed), I quickly shuffled past all the retirement announcements, safety notices, and opened it straight up.

Mike was… ruffled.

Apparently Michelle Malkin had turned into a Nazi, a rather precarious position for an Asian American woman, I mean, what if the rest of the Nazi’s turned around and looked at her. I think they wouldn’t be very pleased, no? The situation would, to say the least, be awkward.

So, Mike provided me with some linkage that would inevitably explain his complete and total distress. Through Firedoglake, I came across the root of the problem, Madame Malkin’s “John Doe Manifesto.”

Go read it. Go on… I’ll wait.

… (goes to smoke a cigarette and contemplate life)…

Okay, I’m back, and hopefully you are too, else I would be wasting my time, wouldn’t I? See, I have a few problems with this.

The least vitriolic of which is that this has the potential to be a somewhat unifying statement if it weren’t so divisive, and I’m not talking about divisive amongst people of varying racial and religious backgrounds, no, I haven’t gotten there yet. I’m talking amongst people of varying political beliefs. Namely, “I will put my family‚Äôs safety above sensitivity. I will put my country above multiculturalism”. She mentions congress in the same breath as terrorists…

In a somewhat subtle way, Madame Malkin implies that it’s all our fault, and for a moment, I think I’m looking at a piece written by Ann Coulter, I’m just waiting for her to call someone a faggot.

The point is, if she could toss out the finger pointing and the bigotry, the statement MIGHT be something Americans could get behind. Vigilence is good. If one weren’t vigilant, then one might walk into a pot hole or something and break their ankle. But that’s not where Madame Malkin is at. Like so many of her right wing colleagues and heroes, she takes a template for something that could be stirring and unifying, and uses it like a chainsaw to hack the country into multiple subdivisions of us vs. them.

Let’s read that one line above a little more carefully. “I will put my country above multiculturism.” Now, I don’t know what USA Madame Malkin inhabits, but it’s not my USA. See, my USA is built on Multiculturism. Someone somewhere, I think he’s important, I’m not exactly sure decided to write a little document that kinda defines what we are all about, and it goes something like, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

All men. Not just christian men, or blond haired blue eyed men, but ALL men. Admittedly, this nation has fought a long hard battle to get there, and we still have a long way to go. For instance, the term “men” excludes women such as Madame Malkin herself but through the wisdom of our predecessors, women may still not have attained true equality, but they enjoy the same unalienable rights that Jefferson spoke of oh so long ago and every day we fight to level the playing field a little bit more. We have endured a long and bloody history, the events of which have shaped the character of our nation; slavery, lynchings, japanese internment camps during the second World War, women’s suffrage, riots, tailhook, Vietnam, segregation, KKK, abortion clinic bombings, the assassination of good people, brave people who laid out for the world one simple fact, “We all share this small planet, we all breath the same air.” People who dreamt that, “…one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

If anything, the story of America is the story of how all of God’s creations can come together and live as one family. “E Pluribus Unim. Out of many, one.” So, Madame Malkin, do not talk to me about multiculturism, because if you are willing to put your country above multiculturism, you are not living in the same country I’m living in. MY country has spilled too much blood in the name of multiculturism to look back now.

But as I read this manifesto, I get this feeling that she’s look for some kind of cool Fight Clubesque feel. “I am your neighbor. I am your customer. I am your classmate. I am your boss.” But somehow it feels more like a Dr. Seuss rhyme: “I am traveling on your plane. I am riding on your train.” I will not take them plane, I do not like terrorists I do not. Sam I am… whatever.

The problem in the tone and the general gist of this whole thing, though is that… well… Madame Malkin’s trying to be intimidating. Let alone the fact that I’m about as scared of her as I am of my one year old daughter (admittedly my two year old is actually quite frightening, especially when you pump her full of sugar), Madame Malkin’s attempt at intimidating terrorists is indicative of a problem that many on the right seem to have with terrorism in general.

They do not understand it.

I can’t count how many times during the 2004 campaign that Bush & Co. made the case that Kerry doesn’t understand terrorism, that the republicans were the pols who had the brass boulders to take out the terrorists, blah blah blah. You gotta bomb em, war em, get your war on yeah!

Sorry, but not really. In all this talk about understanding terrorism, and being able to beat terrorists, our friends on the right, the war hawks, every beer slugging man who has said we should turn the entire middle east into a glass parking lot, where they have all made the same miscalculation is here.

They are not afraid.

We can not scare them.

Madame Malkin stating this rather ineffective manifesto won’t scare a toddler, let alone a terrorist. Hell, Jason Vorhees, Freddy Kruger, and Michael Myers stating this manifesto in unison won’t scare a single terrorist. The entire population of the United States of America won’t make one solitary terrorist quiver in his little space boots.

That’s the point.

That’s what everyone seems to be getting wrong. Shock and awe tactics don’t work because they aren’t detailed around the enemy they are being aimed at. We are fighting a small subversive group of persons like they are an established nation with ill effect.

We talk tough, because things like timetables and such embolden the enemy. But if those who were running the show actually understood the enemy, then they would understand that the hard ass posturing is what really emboldens the enemy. With our threats and violence we hand terrorists pamphlets to issue among a field of people rich for recruitment; a result of the infrastructure we destroyed, the homes we have leveled, and the families we have split apart.

And with our overscaled response of warfare, we have given the terrorists not only a microphone and a stage, but we have also managed to hook up their speech writers with an inordinately easy job.

Terrorism is a shadow. Fluid. The more you feed it, the greater a threat it becomes. You blow up a town, you’ve just turned the survivors into potential terrorists. Condemn Islam, you just gave a bunch of radical Islamists a reason to say, “I told you so.”

Curiously enough, El Presidente has claimed an innumerable amount of times that the world changed on September 11th, 2001, and yet he is attacking the enemy in the same way nations have always done. Conventional warfare, secrecy, and in the cases of governments who have overstepped their bounds, the frightening infingements upon the rights that have made this country what it is.

This is the error of this ideology, this machismo filled echo of manifest destiny that should have went the way of the dinosaur long ago. Brute force is only effective if it is employed in the complete eradication of the foe, and when one so widely defines the foe as these people have, than to actually be successful, it would later only be known under one term; genocide. Under the doctrine that Bush has laid out for us winning in the middle east, really, the only feasible way to win is to actually turn Iraq into a glass parking lot. Under this doctrine, we are to hate islam, even though it is part of our family.

Again, as Madame Malkin and her presumptiuous army of John Does indicates, we are at the threshold of another age of subjugation, one that can only be reflected back upon us, and will taint the history books our children will read with the shadows of hate. That is how these things always begin. No one believes they are evil at the onset. We justify, rationalize. Slave owners did not believe they were going to hell because they kept slaves, nor did citizens of Nazi Germany think Hitler was the devil incarnate.

Don’t mistake what I’m saying, I’m not, for once, tying the administration nor Madame Malkin to either instituion, I’m simply pointing out that it can be very easy to justify evil, and that only prudence and clear thinking, not pack mentality, can avoid this.

So no, Madame Malkin, I shall not be joining your army. No, El Presidente, you were wrong from the beginning on how to fight terrorism, and you still are, and you need to get the hell out of Iraq now. These people are wrong, offering easy solutions that sound great, but ultimately will lead to failure and shame.

So what’s the alternative? What is right? What may work without this nation we call home losing its collective soul? It’s a tricky question because it requires thought, it requires not making decisions that are prepackaged for you, but actually coming up with IDEAS. This is stuff that is over my head, but I think there is someone who had a pretty good bead on it, and so I’ll leave you with a thought from a Democratic Senator you all know rather well..

When I asked Kerry what it would take for Americans to feel safe again, he displayed a much less apocalyptic worldview. ”We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they’re a nuisance,” Kerry said. ”As a former law-enforcement person, I know we’re never going to end prostitution. We’re never going to end illegal gambling. But we’re going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn’t on the rise. It isn’t threatening people’s lives every day, and fundamentally, it’s something that you continue to fight, but it’s not threatening the fabric of your life.”

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