This post may rankle a few feathers, but you know what?
It’s midterm election season and the mud is slinging fast and furious here in Albuquerque. In my district, we’ve got a showdown between the Democratic Destructor Bob Coffey and the Republican Revenge Machine Nate Gentry. Both of them have peppered our house and mail with attack ads of all stripes, demonizing the opposition. According to the campaign literature I’ve been getting Bob will increase my taxes to give violent drug addicts better access to cable television and Nate is going to eat every tenth child on national TV.
Such is American politics these days that I have to do a ton of research on these guy to figure out what they actually want to do. Their campaign literature only tells me what horrible things the other guy is doing that this guy definitely won’t do. Great. Nate won’t tax the hell out of me and Bob won’t eat children. There’s some stuff about education in there, too, but it’s nebulous. Both of them are going to fix education. Somehow. Don’t question it.
Normally, I get campaign literature ads and they go straight from the mailbox to the recycling bin (yes, I recycle, what of it?), but I got one from Nate’s campaign that actually made me laugh out loud. It was a beautifully printed 8.5×11 double-sided, full-color ad on heavy card stock. The damned thing must have cost a fortune to print. On the front, in big type was “They’re not coming for the Balloon Fiesta.” This is fine by me. For the folks who are unfamiliar with Albuquerque, we host a big balloon party every October and a short-ton of people show up and fly balloons. The balloons crash or drift over Kirtland Air Force Base and the Air Force threatens to shoot them down. People drive really slowly, watching the pretty colors and shapes, and accidents increase exponentially. You can also get up at 4am and join 100,000 of your closest friends on the launch field and eat $9 breakfast burritos. A good time can be had by all.
So, anyway. “They’re not coming for the Balloon Fiesta” is on the front. Flip it over and I find “They’re coming for our drivers licenses.”
I wonder if they’re coming for our women, too. I also wonder who “they” are.
Turns out “they” are illegal immigrants. It’s funny, I thought illegal immigrants were taking our jobs, but it turns out they’re taking our drivers’ licences, too. So, the logic here is something, something, driver’s licenses, bam! we’re all broke and speaking Spanish. Oh, and they’ll probably take our women, too. And it will all be Bob Coffee’s fault.
Oh, and Nate Gentry is a criminal or something. I had kind of assumed he was a criminal. He is a politician, after all.
Texas is having it’s fun with midterms, too. Up for grabs is the lieutenant gubernatorial position and seeking that esteemed post is one Dan Patrick. I don’t know much about Dan Patrick and really don’t care. What he does in Texas is up to the Texans, so if they’re cool with him, that’s cool with me. He has, however, echoed a recently evolving meme in political discourse: Secure the borders because Islam. Or, to quote him directly:
“While ISIS terrorists threaten to cross our border and kill Americans, my opponent falsely attacks me to hide her failed record on illegal immigration.”
ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), in case you’ve been living on Mars, in a cave, with your fingers in your ears, is the group running around the Middle East raping and executing other Muslims for not being Muslim enough. They’re filthy bastards and deserve the worst the world can throw at them, but last I heard they weren’t trying to cross the border into Texas to continue their mad quest for power. It would seem Patrick’s logic follows from the fact that someone found a Urdu dictionary on coyote, or at least he wants us to believe that. Never mind the fact that Urdu is the native language of Pakistani and Indian Muslims and most of the nutters in ISIS would be speaking Arabic. Fun fact, by the way: India has the second largest Muslim population on the planet at about 142 million people and very few of them have become radicalized. So, being Muslim does not necessarily mean someone’s going to detonate themselves in a coffee shop. Of course, it’s easier for most people if we just go right ahead and say Muslim equals terrorist even if it’s not the truth. Then we can use terms like ‘radicalized’ to further demonize the enemy.
Radicalized. There’s a term for you. This is the term that’s been applied to groups like Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, and ISIS to denote that they’ve gone from being happy-go-lucky guys to a bunch of people with a strict view of their religion and a willingness to kill to enforce it.
This is where things start to get ugly and dangerous. I don’t think ISIS has its sights set on Texas, and the Texans would crush them in a heartbeat, anyway, so breathe easy. Dan Patrick, whose past experience as a sportscaster give him mad skills in the political arena, can rest easy knowing his fellow Texans would stomp the ever loving crap out of any invading militants, especially since there really isn’t any evidence for an invasion.
What should frighten you is this: there is a slow incursion of radical thought into the United States and Canada and there’s not a damned thing you or anyone else can do about it. The message is out there and some people are already picking it up and running with it. It’s an idea based on hatred and fear that promises identity for those who can’t make one on their own. All someone has to do is take up arms against people that haven’t done a damned thing to you, be it America or (recently) Canada. That right there should tell you some of these people are crazy. Seriously, who hates the Canadians? Hating the Canadians is like hating Mr. Rogers. Two separate sets of people in Colorado have recently decided to travel to Syria to join ISIS in the fight for, well, whatever it is that they’re fighting for. More radicals in governance, I guess. The guy in Oklahoma who beheaded a former coworker after he was fired had recently converted to Islam. The guy who shot up Canada last week? Muslim convert.
Now, I don’t think every Muslim is out there secretly planning a new caliphate. I’ve had a handful of friends and acquaintances who were Muslim and they were generally pretty cool people. My point here is we don’t have to worry about foreign fighters coming to American soil to do their dirty deeds, all they have to do is put the message out there and let the idea take hold. And it is taking hold. You can secure the borders eight ways to Sunday and not stop that because you can’t block an idea with a fence and drone strikes.
So, mark my words: the next election cycle will find a way to weave militant insurgents into the narrative as an excuse to seal the borders. The whole “they’re taking our jobs” message didn’t stick, so someone will find a way to up the ante and keep everyone afraid. Now it’s not just our jobs at stake, it’s our lives. And probably our women, too.