06 November 2009

It's going to get worse before it gets better.

Well, this shooting spree at Fort Hood will send the nation into a tizzy for a few days, and set right-wing shitheads off for far longer. Already, the Washington Post's comment boards are filling up with assholes opining that Muslims should be barred from military and police duty, among other things. Here's a fine example:
We should not have muslims in the armed forces, police departments and anywhere they can cause the havoc they live by. Matter of fact, after knowing that several groups of muslims and mosques such as the one depicted spread hate and anti western rethoric we should put them on a watch list. If they find our system draconian then they can go back to the Middle East. After all, the United States of America belongs to Americans, not the rest of the world. I as an American cannot simply go and live in any muslim country safely, thus why should they be safe here. Time to stand up and state: Respect our country or leave. And spare me the "he was born here" routine, time to judge Americans by their allegiance to this country and not by simple birthright. Take a look at Obama, he may have been born here but is the biggest traitor to our nation.

Note the final shot: Obama, for some reason, is the "biggest traitor," although the poster allows that he "may have been born here." Other posters repeat false quotes attributed to Obama that they claim emboldened the shooter. It's insane. I didn't realize so many right-wing retards read the Post. I thought they hated it and read the Times. I mean, I don't go hanging out on the pages of the Washington Times all day long commenting about their race-baiting stories.

The shooting is horrific: a long-time officer shooting his fellow soldiers should be troubling to everyone. The victims died at the hands of a colleague, and while we've become somewhat immune to the notion of workplace shootings, since this workplace happens to be a military base, we're paying more attention. The fact that he's Muslim, of course, is the only thing the right wants to hear, and it is the loudest noise in the media. It's convenient, too, for the racists and ethnocentrists -- the descendants of those who wanted to deport African Americans to Africa and round up the Japanese Americans in World War Two (Yes, FDR, I'm looking at you...) -- who like to believe that the U.S. is a white, Christian nation. They have little understanding of the difference between having a majority population of a certain race and creed and basing your government on racial or religious factors.

But it's going to get worse. It was bad enough for American Muslims after 9/11. Major Hasan's actions will only elevate the calls for state-sponsored religious and ethnic discrimination to more "legitimate" levels. In other words, instead of being the province of racists like David Duke, Ann Coulter, and Rush Limbaugh, this bile will also issue from the mouths of politicians in positions of legislative power (for instance, from more polite proto-fascists like Michele Bachmann). Look for bans on Muslim garb (but not cargo shorts or mumus) in certain public places, under the guise of their ability to conceal weapons/explosives. Look for legislation to prevent Muslims from joining the military or working in public safety positions including police and transportation. Look for legislation seeking to prevent Muslims from owning firearms (a bit farther out there, because the NRA would likely withdraw their financial support from any right-winger floating any sort of gun law).

As far as the news cycle goes, I'm expecting a few things:
  • A few more days of focus on Hasan's religion and politics.
  • A few days of examination of the stress of being psychiatrist to returning soldiers traumatized by war (aka transference). This aspect will be accompanied by a reassessment of motive.
  • A proliferation of right-wing (and perhaps even left-wing) conspiracy theories: from the right, the usual "Obama is a Muslim" tripe alongside a more inventive "Obama generated this massacre to distract everyone from the Republican electoral victories on Tuesday"; from the left, "Obama generated this massacre to justify more troops in Afghanistan."

It's really a depressing scenario, but I remain firm in my belief that the racists and fascists, despite temporary surges, remain on the losing side of history.

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