It’s not political

There’s a lot to “take away” from the past few days of news and politics. The overriding lesson, for me anyways, is this:

The word “terrorist” is journalistic & political shorthand for a “nonwhite” person who perpetrates an act of political violence.

Jared Lee Loughner has been effectively defended left and (largely) right for two days now. Talking heads are chastising anyone who dares use the word “political” when referring to the assassination of a federal judge and attempted assassination of a member of Congress. Others are arguing anyone who does such a heinous thing can’t be of “sound mind,” invoking a level of compassion for him that is shocking considering the sentiment’s absence from most political discourse.

Yes, even the fantastically guilty enjoy the greatest of American privileges:


6 thoughts on “It’s not political

  1. Clearly you don’t understand the political dichotomy of Tucson. Being white in Tucson is actually grounds for being called “racist” for simply looking at someone funny. Those of the Latino culture are held to a lesser standard… like the protesters of SB1070 who threw broken glass and tires onto the road, stopping high-speed interstate traffic– an event brushed under the rug by local and national media. I’d call that domestic terrorism as much as I’d call the events of this past weekend terrorism, which is what local Tucson papers ARE doing.

    It’s one thing to live in an area and see things change from day-to-day and watch the rise and fall of emotions first hand as I have this week… it’s another completely different thing to live +8 hours away and “know” you have the whole picture.

    Frankly, you can say what you want to say… but race as well as politics had nothing to do with Giffords’ being shot. Loughner was known to “flip out” when someone disagreed with him or gave him an answer he didn’t like… so when, at a 2007 “Congress on Your Corner” event he asked Giffords, “What is government if words have no meaning?” and when he didn’t get an answer he liked (she ignored the question), Giffords became a focal point for his aggression.

    I wish people would stop using race as an argument for anything. I wish people would stop using race as commentary. Wouldn’t it be much better to define people by the results of their actions rather than the color of their skin? If that was your point, it was lost amid a wash of racial commentary…

  2. Tomas, shortly after this horrible attack, I asked myself, “What if the shooter had been a Latino?”

    Would the voices of the left be as quick to judge his motives? Would the voices on the right be calling for reason in discerning his motives? It’s impossible to know, of course.

    As it stands now, the choice in most minds appears to be whether we consider Loughner simply a deranged young man or a pawn in a political movement that spews violent rhetoric. But both points of view reveal an inescapable fact about U.S. culture. Had the killer’s name been Lopez, race and ethnicity would be the centerpiece of the story.

    Most mainstream Americans are tone deaf to the fact that their ethnicity is the “default” setting for U.S. culture. This culture accepts a great deal of latitude for the personal behavior of individuals — as long as they are non-Hispanic Whites. But once you cross over that line into the realm of “other,” you become a representative of your race or ethnicity. (The person posting above proves this point admirably by assuming all Latinos protesting SB1070 should be labeled “terrorist” because some among them threw glass on the Interstate. Latinos are presumed to have a single mind politically and the deeds of a few represent the deeds of all.)

    Until we evolve past this mentality, race will continue to be a central issue in every aspect of U.S. culture. To say otherwise is to echo the words of Ronald Reagan: “I can remember a time when this country didn’t have a race problem.”

    For Mr. Reagan, it certainly did not.

  3. I’ve often wondered …

    If someone graduates college with a degree in Latino/a (a/o?) Studies, or for that matter in other ‘… Studies’ where do they go for work after graduation?

    Ephraim F. Moya

  4. Mr Sanchez, please re-read what I posted. I never said the SB 1070 protesters who threw broken glass and tires on the interstate were Latino. I never said ALL protesters of SB1070 were “terrorists”. I said that I considered it an act of terrorism to throw tires and broken glass on the interstate. The rationale behind my statement was that those who threw glass and tires on the interstate put the safety of ALL drivers and passengers (of all races) in jeopardy that day.

  5. (I should add a caveat that I did IMPLY the tire-throwers possibly included some Latinos and that’s why it was not covered by the media– However, I did let you draw the conclusion they ALL were. )

  6. “but race as well as politics had nothing to do with Giffords’ being shot. ”

    He attacked a political figure. No matter his motive, the act is political by its very nature when we as a society consider it. I would add I think there is enough evidence to suggest it is political in motive as well. Whether or not he was of sound mind or not, his psychosis was triggered in a direction that is consistent with the political landscape.

    Now, I don’t think “race” had much to do with her getting shot, but I am saying above that race has much to do with the ways the mainstream media is analyzing the situation and the accused.

    Finally, to say that “Those of the Latino culture are held to a lesser standard” in Tucson, Arizona is ludicrous considering that there are laws sanctioning a blanket suspicion against all Latinos’ “legality” and another which makes their history a crime when it is taught in a classroom. When the spinning of nationalistic tales about George Washington and Andrew Jackson is made equally illegal, then we might have a serious conversation about your view.

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