Compare and Contrast

Two interesting op-eds in the Boston Globe today.

The first talks about Karen Hughes equation of the women who marched on the DC Mall last week with terrorists. Regardless of where you fall on the abortion debate, the casual and easy equation of people with different views than this administration is a disturbing phenomenon. (It has happened before with respect to teachers; further proof we are preparing for the Rapture?) The emotional associations with the word “terrorist” after 9/11, across the country, is profound. I think it’s much more evocative than “communist” ever was for my generation. When disagreement becomes an act of terrorism, then what are doing to prove we are different than Saudi Arabia? Aside the from the discussion on what it means to be America, there is also the consideration of the cheapening of the word. There is no greater disservice to those who died in 9/11, and those who are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan than to say the people who killed them are the same as a teacher’s union. Essentially Bush’s policy statement is “The 19 people who hijacked four planes and crashed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field and that’s a bad thing, so we don’t like them. They killed close to 5,000 people in one day, and that’s a bad thing, so we don’t like them. Teacher’s are fighting with us over how best to teach our children, and that’s a bad thing, so we don’t like them. Women are expressing disagreement with our policies, and that’s a bad thing, so we don’t like them. All these people are terrorists because they are against us.” I don’t want to go on much more, because I think how asinine and disrespectful such a policy is is obvious.

The second op-ed makes a nice counterpoint for the first. It basically says women should not be focused on trying to fight for what they perceive to be their rights because the Muslims are coming, and they are far worse for women. Last time I checked the march was on domestic issues, and was related to the prevention of the rise of a theocracy here in the US. Oddly enough, the threat of theocracy was not coming from Muslims. I understand Jacoby’s innate fear of difference, but, while the New York Times did do a story on the rise of Muslim militants in the UK, it’s an old phenomenon there, and there mechanisms in place within the Muslim community to counteract it. In addition, the whole anti-racist ideology is so strong in the left, that many of them see the dangers of this sort of ideology. While it is a real problem, it is not a threat in the way Jacoby needs it to be. In the US, the Muslim community is aware of this sort of ideology, and the FBI now has mosques under surveillance. There are just as many, if not more, progressive voices in the Muslim community (see the Moslemesque list to the right for some) but who don’t merit the attention of op-ed writers. When progressive groups do get attention, it’s in such a sloppy manner as to undercut their aims. Raise the banner of the Islamic bogeyman, but don’t be surprised that while waiting for him, you miss the real enemy.