Friday, November 20, 2015


Ever since I first encountered it, this quote from H. L. Mencken has spoken to me: "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

We have no vetting process in place. We have no reliable way to determine who is an innocent refugee and who is a terrorist, who wants to use those freedoms against us.
Washington State Representative Jay Rodne. R-Snoqualmie
Our current process for bringing in refugees takes 18 to 24 months to complete. Refugees are vetted by the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center, and the Departments of State, Defense and Homeland Security which includes having their fingerprints taken and biographical information collected. Then every single refugee is individually interviewed by people trained to look for deceit. And if the refugees are from Syria, they aren't done yet - as United States officials check out their stories. All of this happens, mind you, before any refugees are allowed to set foot on American soil.

When I think of "affluenza," what comes to my mind is fear. A fear of someone coming along and taking all of the stuff that the affluent rightfully deserve, because they're better and more moral (more Christian, really given that this is the United States) and more hardworking than everyone else on Earth, so of course everyone envies us and hates us, and we have to keep them at bay because otherwise they'll come and get us. And that's what people like Representative Rodne are playing on. That fear that everyone in the world who isn't like us is a threat to us - and a threat so powerful that even one person who might do us harm is completely unacceptable. Only absolute safety can be tolerated.

Unless of course, absolute safety means doing anything about the American tendency to use violence, including murder, to solve problems.

"If there had been a concealed carry in that theater in Paris; if there had been individuals there that had been concealed carry like we enjoy in this country; had there been individuals there that were properly concealing, maybe we wouldn't have 100 dead hostages," Rodne said. "People of France have been disarmed."
But people in the United States carry guns just to go to Starbucks. And have been shown to be quick to attack anyone who looks suspiciously Middle Eastern. Because it would be un-American to start screening people for severe mental illnesses before allowing them to purchase weapons, or expand background checks. So I don't see what the good representative is worried about. Certainly if terrorists attack Key Arena or The Gorge, surely they'll be met with a hail of gunfire from all of the music lovers with concealed carry licenses.

What I hear from Representative Rodne are little more than Republican talking points, designed to use a stereotypical fear of Islam and disdain for the Obama Administration to allow him to present himself as a defender of a vulnerable and ill-served America. And conservatives who want to see themselves as vulnerable and ill-served (rather than simply admit to a partisan dislike of the President) flock to the message, precisely because it tells them what they want to hear about themselves.

h/t: Jamie Crisalli.

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