Dé hAoine, Meitheamh 26, 2009

The Object of Attacking is Attacking

President Obama is being criticized for having ice cream with his daughters on Father's Day. No, really.
"How in the tank is the mainstream media when we have people dying for the right to be free in a country like Iran that has been such a thorn in the side of America and the spread of democracy in the Middle East and the media thinks that covering Obama and his daughters having ice cream is news?! WTF!
This was, by the way, the day of the famous "Nedia" incident, in which an Iranian election protester with that name was shot dead by revolutionary guards. It is indeed enraging to see the woman lying on the ground, her eyes clouding and tearing as she sees the void and knows; a comrade forlornly trying to staunch the bleeding from a hole half the size of her chest. It is brutally effective propaganda for the democracy movement in Iran. Or you could use it to shit on the president for having ice cream. Whatever.

To the credit of the GOP, this trope has not caught on among that party's leaders. The top brass, at least, is not that stupid, knowing that attacking a man for having ice cream with his elementery-aged girls will win no votes. Still it does reveal a section of the far right that is consciously and deliberatly trying to be outraged by anything the president does. They are seriously going to go there. 'How dare the president have ice cream with his little girls.' If they really are that bothered by it, then I suggest they have some friendly congressman introduce the following resolution.

The president is hereby forbidden from engaging in recreational activities while there is somebody suffering/and or dying somewhwere.

Then again, considering the very noticible emphasis on "having been such a thorn in the side of America." Perhaps the resolution could be reworded like this.

Being that their are millions of human beings suffering and/or dying at every moment of every day. It is certainly too much to expect the president to personally address the pain of all of them. Nonetheless, the president is still forbidin from engaging in any recreational activities when their are people suffering at the hands of forces with unkind things to say about the United States, thus making their suffering trully important.

If middle aged-white men want to play the childish game of showing that they are not afraid of President Other, that they are perfectly willing to criticize him for quite literally everything he does and invent drama out of thin air when need be, fine. So long as they aren't downing a case of Keystone Ice and rolling to the Unitarian Church with their AK's, than we on the left are most profoundly unafraid of them. It would be easy to say that their behavior is that of a bully, but that wouldn't be right. Bullies tend to straighten out after getting smacked in the mouth once or twice, as conservatism certainly has been. Bullies are not religiously commited to believing themselves martyrs. Sara Robision at Orcinus does a fine job of explaing what's going on here on her 'blame the parents' blog post..

"... you learn that you're not entitled to have any physical or emotional boundries. The authorities have an unlimited right to intrude on you're thoughts, feelings, personal space, and even your body perimeter at any time, for any reason. You are not your own; you're entire being is at the mercy of those set by God to rule over you. You must trust that whatever they do, they do for you're own good, even if the reasons arn't clear to you right now, and in fact may never be explained to you. They know best. Just go with that.
On yet other fronts, they learn that they do have boundries, but only to the extent that they're personally able to fight and defend them. The far-right affection for pugnacious rhetoric and a strong defense comes straight out of this---

It is the soldier, not the minister, who has given us freedom of religion
It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press
It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial
It is the soldier, no the politician, who has given us the right to vote
It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.
- Charles Provience.

That was a little ditty I saw taped to the old Nebraska U. credit union next to ads for used cars and bastard puppies. It always did piss me off something fierce. Apparently there is no such thing as civil society. Saul Bellow would have never written a word on his own don't you see? His Russian-Jewish heratage, study of Hebrew, comprehensive education, time in the Merchant Marine, and stint of living in Paris would have never inspired him to create a thing. No, it was not until some specific set number of Nazis were killed, say 298,123, that his talent magically came to him.

There is a place for self-defense, both personal and national, and I can agree that part of national self-defense is defending the free thought and culture of a nation. But in order to defend a nation's culture the military must neccessarily be the servant of that culture, and they had damned-well never forget it.

There is nothing neccesarily wrong with a solid, tangible brain that shuns abstractions. I could not float away on this blog if some sharp and caffinated brain had not invented the microchip. Still it is understandible that the tangible mind would have trouble with grasping the etherial human liberties; freedom of speech, expression, belief, etc; freedoms that, at some level, exist independently of the person exercising them. It has of course long been noticed that one can record some controversial belief that one later dies for, and that after death somebody else can hear or read the idea and maybe agree. Many are inspired by this fact, others may be disturbed by such negation, unable to accept freedom beyond my freedom, will beyond my will. So among the far right, which loudly and proudly loathes the abstract and intangible, there are two methods for attempting to make the ideal of liberty into a physical thing.

1. The emphisis on property rights. Property is the primary, and perhaps even the only means, of determining a persons freedom and dignity.

2. The exercise of liberty is the violent defense of it, and nothing more. Freedom cannot exist unless it is imperiled. any violent crime commited anywhere absolutely must be a personal threat. Whatever the tax rate happens to be, it must be outragously high, any dispute with or threatining gesture from a foreign country absolutely must be the equivelant of the World Wars.

This mindset is mostly just irritating and amusing until taken to its absolute extreme, where the desire for tangibility reaches the point to where one convinces himself that the truth of his political opinions are as obvious to everyone as the color of the sky. There isn't really any such thing as disagreement. There are only those who pretend to disagree for reasons either foolish or evil, preferibly evil. It is this mindset that brings truckbombs.


snev said...

I've never thought of property obsession and warmongering as being related to people having difficulty grasping the abstract nature of freedom, but it seems kinda obvious after reading so.

thanks for writing this.

Joshua Beran said...


Joshua Beran said...

I do try to be wiser than I am.