Monday, June 13, 2016

The "radical Islamic terrorism" spell

Here's what Franklin Graham said on his Facebook page today:

I appreciate President Barack Obama speaking to the nation yesterday in the wake of the Orlando massacre. He was right in saying that this tragic shooting was an act of terror and hate. But why didn’t he say it was an act of radical Islamic terrorism? Mr. President, with all due respect, don't forget Fort Hood; don't forget the Boston Marathon; don't forget San Bernardino; and don’t forget 9/11. What do they all have in common? They were all Islamic terrorists carrying out their treachery in the name of their religion. Mr. President, your administration has cut our military to the bone and some experts say we're the weakest we have been in modern times. It’s time we were rebuilding our military force worldwide to take on this enemy. It’s time we tighten America’s borders until we can clearly vet those we’re letting into the country. Mr. President, how many more American lives have to be lost before you understand the threat radical Islam is to every freedom-loving person?
This is contemptible stuff. But that's not to say it won't be politically effective for the Republicans.

This piece by Jonathan Chait (Donald Trump Is the Fearmonger Republicans Have Been Waiting For New York 06/13/2016) is right about how illogical the Republicans' approach is.

But hatred, fear and politics don't work strictly by formal logic. And Chait also holds up Shrub Bush and his ritual of calling Islam a "religion of peace" to suggest the Republicans could be more reasonable. But the xenophobia and Islamophobia that Trump is exploiting today was fomented relentlessly by the Cheney-Bush Administration. Even while Bush occasionally said vaguely nice things about Islam so as not to tick off his BFFs in Saudi Arabia.

I'm intrigued by how even supposedly Godly Christians like Franklin Graham treat the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism" as something very like a magic spell. If Obama and Hillary would say the words, the Republicans tell us, then ... well, what? ISIS will disappear? All Muslims will convert to Christianity? On the face of it, it looks like magical thinking. And maybe it really is that, at least in part.

It's also a manifestation of Republican Patriotic Correctness. This is a phrase that Republicans are expected to use as a self-identifier. And it's held against the Democrats not just that they say something different, but that that don't use that exact phrase.

But the "political correctness" of not being hateful to nonwhites or LGBT people is something they regard at completely despicable?

As silly as it is, though, on a logical basis, I share Ed Kilgore's concern that Hillary Clinton's response may not be adequate. (The Problem With Hillary Clinton’s Proposal for an Anti-Terror ‘Intelligence Surge’ New York 06/13/2016)

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