Friday, August 11, 2006

Sharpen ye pitchforks, light ye torches!

As always, the esteemed Driftglass serves up a tall, cool, refreshing pitcher of Shut The Fuck Up to Bobo Brooks in his latest screed. (If you're not reading Drifty every day, you're in danger of missing out on the Minimum Daily Requirement of Polemic Acid.)

And as often happens, brilliance begets brilliance. I refer to a comment by a reader named Alyssa, which I take the liberty of reproducing, in pertinent part, here:

I was thinking the other day about the 'torches and pitchforks' concept and thinking that really the blogosphere is the equivalent. People don't have pitchforks anymore, we plebes are no longer mostly farmers. We have our seemingly petty weaponry, but wielded en masse it suddenly becomes more than a little concerning for the Powers That Be. What other pitchforks do we have lying around that we haven't considered, I wonder?

Isn't this the perfect metaphor for the netroots? Arent we all wielding pitchforks made by Dell, Gateway, Apple, HP, whatever? Don't we fire up the torch of DSL or CableModem each and every day? Isn't this what the dazzling (and delightfully offensive)Bobby Lightfoot Memorial Political Activism Knowledge Repository is all about? Grabbing our microprocessor pitchforks and our broadband torches and coming together as (well, why not say it) an angry mob?

I'm beginning to embrace my anger, because all of the alternatives are unsatisfactory. Bemused intellectual detachment? What foppery! Bipartisan bridge-building? Gutless cowardice in my book. Read your history. The partisans lived in thatched cottages and listened for instructions on secret radios hidden in coffe cans and whatnot. The real partisans blew up bridges, they didn't build them. And then there's fear.....

Let's talk about fear for a moment, in the context of the War on Terror. Terrorism is not designed to gain control of territory, or to eliminate the ability of an enemy to defend or respond. Terrorism works because it so completely accomplishes what it is intended to accomplish; it creates fear.

Dead bodies and flattened buildings are not the ultimate goal of the terrorist; their ways and means cannot kill or destroy enough people and places to make a statistical difference. 2,752 people were killed in the terror attacks of 9/11/01. You are far more likely to die in a traffic accident, or as a result of severe weather, or due to bad dietary habits, than you are to die as a result of terrorism. But we do not have a color-coded scale to tell us how afraid we should be of cars, or storms, or food.

The recent "plot" to blow up planes flying between London and the US (which apparently involves explosives made from soft drinks and peroxide) is all over the news. People are required to discard their toothpaste before boarding planes.

Brothers and sisters......they've got us afraid of fucking toothpaste.

And when I say "they", of course, I'm referring to the Bush Administration. Fear is their tool, their weapon, their friend. They are using fear to cower the populace. They are engaging in terrorism against the American people. No, they aren't blowing up office buildings, but as noted above, that's not the objective of terrorism. The objective of terrorism is to create fear among the civilian populace, and that is what they have done and that is what they continue to do. When a suicide bomber blows up a candy store, he is engaging in high level terrorism from a low-level platform; when Bush, or Cheney, or Lieberman, or Hannity invoke boogeymen such as Osama bin Laden, or Ned Lamont, or Markos Moulitsas, they are engaging in low-level terrorism from a high-level platform. The only valid metric by which we can compare the two is by calculating the number of people they frighten. And many, many Americans are frightened enough to vote Republican.

Roosevelt said "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." The fear-mongers in Washington and in the media are whipping up a fresh batch of fear every goddamn day. We have to take them on one frightened neighbor at a time. Make an effort to ease the fear of a Republican voter today. Tell them it's going to be OK. Remind them that America is strong. We weren't afraid of the British in 1776, we weren't afraid of the Nazis in 1944, and we have nothing to fear but the fears that are implanted in us. Some kid with a bottle of Sierra Mist is not coming to Minneapolis, or Indianapolis, or Gallapolis, or Kannapolis to kill us. Take them by the hand as you would a small child, and alleviate their fear. Tell them to suck it up and be as brave as their fathers and mothers, their grandfathers and grandmothers. Tell them to quit being such a bunch of fucking pussies. Tell them "Fuck Fear!" And remind them that millions of their fellow Americans, armed with pitchforks and torches, will protect them.


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