I have to tell you that Marco Rubio had some serious competition for the Clown Award in the form of Nevada state Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, whose Christmas card this year consisted of a photo of her extended family, all dressed in blue jeans and red shirts - and all of them, except for babes in arms but including a young child, carrying guns.
For her Christmas card. Because, you know, what would Jesus do.
But she lost out because during a recent episode of her radio show this major-league intelligence who earlier this year described cancer as a "fungus" that could be "flushed out" with salt water and baking soda described a conversation with a Nevada GOPper political consultant who asked her why she hadn't signed onto a statement opposing resettling Syrian refugees in Nevada, in which she quoted herself as saying "Are you kidding me? I'm about to fly to Paris and shoot 'em in the head myself!"
She then added on her show "I am not OK with Syrian refugees. I'm not OK with terrorists. I'm OK with putting them down, blacking them out, just put a piece of brass in their ocular cavity and end their miserable life. I'm good with that."
And that is not clownish. That is sub-human.
But this does raise one other thing I want to talk about, but I won't have time this week because of another thing I really want to get to. But I will say something briefly.
It relates to a concept I've talked about before, which I all "The Commons." It refers to the concept of a shared societal space, that range within our social and political culture where the common interests of our society lie; it is the idea of what makes us a society instead of an atomized collection of individuals, each isolated from and in competition with all others.
It is the idea of there being a public sphere in which all can participate, all have a stake, all have a part - and, importantly, all have some responsibility, each to the other and to the whole. For us as Americans we could perhaps sum up the idea in the phrase "We the People."
And I deeply fear that our sense of The Commons, which has already been under continuing attack by the right wing looking to advance its own power and position by cutting others out of that common society, that our sense of The Commons is now being shredded by the sort of paranoid religious hatred and bigotry and bed-wetting Islamaphobia which that same right wing had to know - did know - it was advancing - and of which Michele Fiore is but one isolated example.
|Cartoon c. 1875-1880|
I have said a number of times that sometimes I do not regret that I will not live to see the world I see coming. Right now, my fear is that I will live to see it. My only consolation is that we have been here before - in fact, it has been worse before and those who exploit bigoted fears are reading from a very old playbook. And we have survived and hopefully we will again. And the best thing we can do is carry on the struggle against bigotry in all forms and for a more inclusive society and, like it said in the movie, "Never give up, never surrender."
I'm sure I will go on more about this, particularly how the media addresses Islamic terrorism as compared to right-wing white Christian male terrorism, which the FBI says is the source of most domestic terror attacks. But having expressed my fear, I will leave it aside for the moment.
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