Monday, October 06, 2008

Terrorist or Freedom Fighter....

"Our opponent ... is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country." — Sarah Palin, to donors Saturday at a private airport in Englewood, Colo.

Sarah Palin made this idiotic statement Saturday because apparently at some point, Barack Obama shared planet space with 60s revolutionary William Ayers, one of the founders of the Weather Underground.

I'd hate to think that any of us, especially those of us who were politically active would be nailed to the cross because of someone we might have been in the same room with at some point in the distant past.

But let's go a few layers deeper on this.

Twenty-first century capitalism requires a docile, compliant population, subject population. "Consumer" is put forth as the ideal type, as the model for individual and mass self-identification. It is the population Sarah Palin continually appeals to.... "Joe Sixpack". Her homesy, folksy presentation is generally directed at those who barely graduated high school, who can be found sitting on his or her couch, drinking beer, watching TV after working at some unappealing, soul-crushing job all day. He or she is strictly a consumer.

A consumer is not a conscious creator, not an activist, nor a real decision maker. Instead, consumers are deferential recipients of someone else's wares and services, someone else's choices or a pre-selected range of choices, someone else's ideas or permitted spectrum of ideas, of someone else's rules and manipulations.

But he's the hero in a market society.

And every hero has to have a nemesis, every type its antithesis. When all else fails to strike fear into a compliant population, someone starts throwing around the word "terrorist".

Yes, terrorist. The demon in consumer heaven, disrupter of law 'n' order, killer of innocents, movie villain supreme.

The terrorist... bullets sprayed indiscriminately... bombs exploding like prehistoric meteors. Consumer serenity shattered.

No wonder someone like this most manipulative woman would start throwing a word like that around to win people to her side. No substance, no validation. She is appealing to emotion.

The terrorist: murderer, plunderer, marauder, pirate, bogeyman, barbarian.

The terrorist is as mysterious as he is menacing because he devotes, even sacrifices, his life to something beyond his material interest, to something transcending his own personal gratification. To an idea. To a cause. A nation. A people.

Not that I am condoning terrorism. That would be a violation of everything I stand for, everything my life is about. Hopefully, that is stating the obvious.

But in this case, I am calling "baloney" because the definition is completely arbitrary. Even Ronald Reagan said that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. It all depends on the politics of the time. The US has a long history of turning freedom fighters into terrorists when they no longer serve its own ends.

So is William Ayers a "terrorist"? I am aware of the fact that he engaged in some destruction of property.. but I am not talking about malicious vandalism. I'm talking about terrorism. I'm not even saying he's a nice guy. He was a lousy tactician. I'm saying he is not a terrorist. Do I think the Weather Underground expressed themselves politically in a good way? No. But that's a tactical discussion. Simply. I don't believe William Ayers fits the standard and accepted definition of a terrorist.

The term "terrorism" means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant (1) targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience. (Operational definition for the Central Intelligence Agency)

Sarah Palin is engaging in her own form of ideological terrorism. She is deliberately stringing words together in such a way as to strike fear in her target demographic. I happily call her on it and challenge her to come up with some substantial evidence that Barack Obama has engaged in anything even close to "terrorism" and how being in the same room with someone who was a 60s revolutionary (there were thousands of us in those days) is a serious concern.



PeterAtLarge said...

Great piece, Chani! Cogently thought and argued. Bravo!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

She certainly terrorizes me, on every single level.

MsLittlePea said...

Well put Chani. Her argument is like saying if you live down the street from a child predator, then you must be one too. This is just like her saying because she lives so close to Russia, she has foreign policy experience. For the very first time I'm beginning to think that she really does believe this. I can see a golf course from my patio, therefore you guys should all assume I can beat Tiger Woods....

What you point out in the this post is exactly what I meant when I used the word "show business" in my comment on your Friday post. The "show business" of politics, yeah, she's got that down. I feel like I'm watching an infomercial sometimes. It's getting pathetic. I'm hoping people are tired of this brand of politics.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you write really well when you're a little ticked off! This post made me want to stand up and cheer!

SUEB0B said...

Yes, I see what you mean, Chani.

I also think she is appealing to racism - "Obama isn't OUR kind of American" - I actually heard a Pennsylvania voter say that on the radio today.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

This is a brilliant analysis. Thank you for it.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Palin reminds me increasingly of a high school mean girl. She seems to think that people will believe this idiocy because she says so, despite the lack of any kind of even specious proof.

I lived a few blocks away from the Greenwich Village house explosion caused by the Weathermen and happened to be walking 1/2 block away with my young children when it happened.

Any attempt to associate Obama with the people and events of those days is absurd and verges on lunacy. If she wants to discredit him, she will really have to come up with something more believable. The fact that she is spewing such nonsense is proof that there really is nothing in Obama's background that should disqualify him.

I am very weary of morons in high places.

Leann said...

I was appalled to hear her same something so inane. Her reasoning leaves something to be desired.

Great post!

Border Explorer said...

Visiting here is such a positive moment in my day. Thank you for this piece, Chani. I particularly appreciated your subpoint that we've all been converted into "consumers." I implore: Can't I be a "citizen?"

Maithri said...


Standing ovation here,

I totally one hundred percent agree,

With love, M

Sienna said...

I am just shaking my head. Chani, I don't know what to say, but you have said it well.


Amy Y said...

She makes me sick to my stomach.
I hate that their falling behind in the polls is going to make them resort to such childish name calling and ridiculous accusations. Could we just stick to the policies? Ugh.

Janet said...

I have to trust that the majority of Americans are going to see through her snide remark method of public speaking.

Or, rather, I need to trust, because the alternative scares the bejeezus out of me. And I'm not even American.

thailandchani said...

Peter, thanks. :)


Jen, people like that are scary. And some wonder how the Holocaust happened?


MsPea, her logic is specious at best! Some of the connections she makes amaze me! But.. then I looked up her educational background.



Thomas, thanks. :)


Suebob, Oh, god! I hadn't heard *that* one!



Ruth, thanks. :)


Susan, a high school mean girl is the perfect description. That is the way she seems to me, too. That even includes the "not very bright" part.


Leann, I don't think she even knows her own western philosophical roots. Hm. Aristotilean process?



BE, people are going to have to take their citizenship back, even if it hurts. There's no other solution I can imagine.


Maithri, thank you. :)


Pam, thanks. :) I try to call it the way I see it.


Amy, your mouth to God's ear. There seems to be little concern about the issues these days.


Janet, we all have to trust that. This is an anti-intellectual culture though so the whole thing is rather frightening.


Anonymous said...

WEll said indeed. Sarah is an ambitous rotweiller and is nothing but a talking doll for the wingnuts of the GOP. She expects this will pay off in 4 years for her, but I suspect thinking Republicans have just about had enough of the right wing nut cases. Their party is being turned into a joke. they ought to be careful or their party will secumb to a third party status with this continued type of behavior. It's childish and convinces no one but the limited intellect that they have already in their back pocket.

womaninawindow said...

Seems to me I remember seeing pictures of the Bush's sharing tea with the Ben Ladins. Does that make them terrorists? Well, maybe not THAT.

Richard said...

There is more to this woman than meets the eye. To much is hidden. To me, she comes across as a "miss goody two shoes". These types are potentially dangerous.
When her true colors show, she can be a very formidable foe to any that challenge her.

painted maypole said...

she's obviously not worried about serious concerns... you've hit the nail on the head here!

Mary said...

My God, you're good!

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