The hobgobbling of Democratic rhetoric, or what's all this about Islamofascism

OK, so I was going to say the hobbling of Democratic rhetoric, and then I was going to say the hobgoblin of small minds (consistency, especially of the foolish variety, being something I eschew), and then I thought "Halloween is coming" and hobgobbling seemed the thing to say.

Anyway, I heard a rerun (I think) of the Obama-Keyes radio debate last night, and I turned it off feeling sad. I heard Obama flub two simple questions: "Your children go to private school. If you move to Washington, will you put them in public school?" and "You don't support gay marriage. Why not?"

The answers he gave to these questions were all about politics and not at all about principle. It's sad that Obama can't just say "every public school in America should be as good as the Lab School" (not "just like the Lab School" -- heaven forfend). And is he really personally opposed to same-sex marriage, or is this just the politically expedient position to take? He danced around the issue and would not come out (ha, ha) and say that marriage between a man and a woman is privileged because having a mother and a father is the best way for children to be raised (not something I agree with, but at least a principled conservative position). He just kept saying that his faith tells him that marriage is between a man and a woman. Hell, my faith tells me that marriage is between a goldfish and a golf ball. So I think we should have a law that says only goldfish and golf balls can get married, but everybody else can have the legal benefits of marriage.

[Meanwhile, Mr. Alan I-take-my-marching-orders-only-from-Thomas-Aquinas Keyes is up there saying that same-sex couples should not be allowed to have children because said children "won't be able to keep from having sex with their siblings." (Can you say tortured logic? Current disclosure laws, apparently -- is this even true? -- prevent children from learning the identities of their sperm-donor fathers. Thus, legally -- and legalistically -- the kids are not allowed to figure out who their siblings are. And hence would not be able to prevent themselves from having sex with them. This seems to me, incidentally, an argument against anyone having heterosexual sex, ever. First legislation sponsored: stoning adulterers.) Anyway, I've read my John Boswell. I know that the threat of incest was a medieval Catholic argument against child abandonment. My question is, has Alan Keyes been reading John Boswell? I guess he missed the part about how early Christians did in fact practice same-sex marriage. OK, back into my corner.]

In the latest string of endorsements of Kerry I keep seeing people -- conservative Democrats, moderates of one kind or another, people for whom the decision to vote for Kerry was not obvious -- in other words, not hardline right-wingers -- talking about how the one good thing about George Bush is that he "understands the threat of Islamofascism" (or "Islamic radicalism"). This is an example of the kind of powerful symbolism that the Democrats seem to lack. But as with much powerful symbolism, something doesn't add up about it. It's not just that this notion is racist, and it's not just that people are failing to see that conservative (or we might say radical) forms of Islam wants basically the same things conservative (or we might say radical) Christianity does (see above), or that compared to all kinds of other things that cause death worldwide (the US government's irresponsible use of force, the poverty inflicted by global capitalism) it is really not that much of a threat. Saddam Hussein was not an Islamic ruler per se; as has been said over and over again the war has produced many times the number of terrorists it ever got rid of. The Saudis are deeply tied, it goes without saying, to Bush. I feel like there's something more to how deeply irrational this idea of Islam is--something I can't quite put my finger on. I mean, there are all kinds of ways it's wrongheaded. So why do people believe it so fervently?


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