Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Brussels / Michael Dukakis Dilema

The attack in Brussels, like the attack in Paris, like the attack in Istanbul - all by ISIS - is horrifying.  Those who did it are evil people, Islamic terrorists, trying to start a war between the west and Islam for their own purposes.
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Oddly, then, I am reminded of Michael Dukakis in this moment.
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For those of you not old enough to remember, or not Americans - let me explain.
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During the 1988 Presidential Election Michael Dukakis ran against George Bush (the 1st) who was, essentially, running for Ronal Reagan's third term.  Bush had released a notorious commercial in which Massachusetts (Dukakis' home state) had allowed a black man inmate convicted of a violent offense, while out on a furlough from jail, had committed a murder while on that furlough.
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It was the original "Democrats are easy on crime" meme that they have been trying to live down since - which was the origin of the Clinton's tough on crime response.  Anyway, Michael Dukakis was anti-death penalty, and questioned about it often.  It was a big deal in 1988.
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In a famous interview / debate he was asked how he would feel if Kitty Dukakis (his wife) was raped and murdered, would he still not support the death penalty.  Apropos of what he thought would be a Presidential answer, he gave a dry response of why the death penalty wouldn't help.  It was, instead, the final nail in the coffin of his Presidential aspirations.  People wanted to vote for someone who was outraged and wanted to kill the man that killed his wife.  It was universally decided that after delivering a visceral, hateful answer - then, and only then, he could follow up with his reasonable answer.
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I bring this up know because American Politicians have learned from this.  The Republican response (today) to any action is all id.  Hillary - and other Democrats - try to play id then ego, but are trashed by the conservative media that wants id all the time.
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So, here is the subject change - stay with me.
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Part of me, part of every gay person, hates ISIS members / terrorists with a passion.  And by passion, I mean passion.  They are rapists and killers who flaunt their hatred of women, gays, non-Islamic people (as they define them) and express no remorse in killing the most venerable or innocent.  If there was a bomb created that only killed ISIS fighters and killers, I would strap it on my chest and parachute into Raqqa setting it off.  But there is no such thing.
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However, in our politicians stampede to display John Wayne-ish bravado, they tar over 1 Billion members of Islam with the ISIS brush.  And so those of us who value human life have to say, "No.  Every Islam follower is not a killer."
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There are 3.3 Million Muslims in the United States. So, if they really were all as evil as Donald Trump or Ted Cruz said, there would be millions upon millions of deaths tomorrow.
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Those of us who value the country over insane retoric - those of us who believe American means something - we must pull the Dukakis and say - into the face of hatred - you cannot blame every Muslim for what 3 or 6 or 30,000 are doing in Paris or Brussels or Syria.  In particular you cannot blame Americans who happen to be Muslim and follow the faith peacefully.  Even though, for the great majority of them, this means hating me as a gay person.
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And I say that, still knowing in my heart that those that attacked Paris or Brussels or rape and kill in the name of God in Syria and Iraq are evil and deserve to be fought to the death.

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