Betsy Newmark pointed me to this incredible piece by James Lileks that addresses a question that I wonder about from time to time, but that has especially been on my mind since hearing of the death of Zarqawi: what must it be like to be one of those people that cannot celebrate good news for America because it might also be good news for President Bush? Lileks deals with the issue of terrorism here, but could easily do another column on the economy or a host of other issues. Please follow the link and read every word. Here is a bit of it to give you a taste.
You’re an enlightened world citizen. Your T-shirt says “9/11 was an inside job.” You’re pretty sure we’re living in a fascist state, that President Bush taps the Dixie Chicks’ phones, Christian abortion clinic bombers outnumber jihadis, and the war on “terror” is a distraction from the real threats: carbon emissions and Pat Robertson. Then you learn that 17 people were arrested in a terrorist bomb plot. How do you process the information? Let’s take it step by step.
Gosh, that’s horrible, you think. But no — that’s what they WANT you to feel. Recall the prime directive: Question Authority (unless he’s a college professor). The plotters must have been impoverished olive farmers radicalized by the removal of Saddam Hussein. Why, if someone came in and toppled your president, you’d go to their country and … well, you’d thank them. Unless they did it for the wrong reasons! Then you’d blow something up. Like an SUV dealership. At night. Anyway, you understand; you care a lot about Iraqis these days. You think about Iraq more than China, to be honest, but it’s not as if you’ll scrape off your “Free Tibet” bumper sticker — unless it’s to make room for “Free Darfur.” Or “Hands Off Darfur,” depending.
Wait a minute: The “terrorists” were Canadian? You can understand someone blowing up trains in Spain and London. They sent troops to an illegal war cooked up by neocons who want to kill brown people for Exxon and Jesus, or something. You can understand, reluctantly, blowing up teens in an Israeli pizza parlor, because the Jews took the West Bank from the sovereign, ancient nation of Palestine. (How can a liberal socialist country behave so poorly? The world is full of mysteries.) But Canada? Isn’t Michael Moore from Canada? You can get medical marijuana from married gay doctors in Canada, and no one has guns. You console yourself: Maybe they were really planning to attack the U.S.