"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it."-Winston S. Churchill

"The wandering scholars were bound by no lasting loyalties, were attached by no sentiment of patriotism to the states they served and were not restricted by any feeling of ancient chivalry. They proposed and carried out schemes of the blackest treachery."-C.P. Fitzgerald.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Oh These Are the Times that Try Men's Souls.... 

I have a friend in Minneapolis-St. Paul. In 2000, she was a very liberal person. She supported Clinton during the impeachment fiasco, campaigned as a partisan of Al Gore, and remained an livid, angry Democrat long after Recount Hell had concluded. She hated Katharine Harris and hung out at the old summarizing Chimp website. She was the archetypical liberal Jewish woman. Sort of like Mrs. Section9, but with much more of an edge.

Oh, and did I mention that she was quite the expert on figure skating? If not, it was an oversight. If I recall correctly, she claimed to have seen Tonya Harding perform the triple axel at the 1991 Nationals. Anyway, I digress.

The point was that she was a liberal Jewish woman, with all the stuff that came with that demographic. We're talking the base Democratic vote, here. Then something happened that set off every conceivable alarm of defense that the Jews had ever known. September 11th, 2001, came and went.

All of a sudden, a nameless fear awakened a sleeping world. This time, the hatred and the anger didn't take the form of an Austrian demagogue and his "black-suited Praetorians" (hat tip: Arthur Koestler). No, this time the danger was both more widespread and promised to be more protracted. Fascist Islam was on the march. It had two enemies: America...and the Jew.

For in the mind of the Islamic fascist, the Jew was the fount of all that was wicked and unclean in the world, the personification of the evil that came with the kafir. For centuries, since Islam's conquest had been turned back in Europe, the Jews had been tolerated in Islamic civilization. They were a vibrant part of a civilization that had past its Golden Age, but had not yet descended into tyranny and moral squalor. The tolerance of Islam for the Jews that lived among them vanished with the establishment of the State of Israel.
Following the defeats in 1948, 1957, and 1967, the humiliation and anger only grew among Arabs of all ages, especially the middle classes. They had placed such great hopes in the likes of Nasser and the Iraqi generals. The Heroes had feet of clay.

The Arabs would not turn in and confront their own shortcomings. Rather, they would round on the Jew and his patron, the American. Especially the Jew. He was "the Other", and the price of the continued existence of the Jew in the Arab world was unbearable humiliation. So, the Islamic ummah sent their young men out to kill the innocent, the aged, the young, and the helpless. As long as they were Jews, of course. Or Americans. Or both.

When the fascists came calling on September 11th, my friend was shocked to her inner soul. And the Great Fear of the Jewish people: the extermination of the Jews as a people, became possible once more. Bin Laden's objectives were clear: drive America from the Middle East, establish the Islamic Caliphate from Morocco to the Straits of Malacca, then turn on little Israel and make what was Palestine "Jew free". Or as the Germans called it, Judenrein.

I'm a Christian. I've never had to come to terms with the fact that significant numbers of my people were executed en masse simply because an accident of birth made them Jews. This is a real fear, not paranoia, no matter what they say in The Guardian. I have no doubt that bin Laden, were he able to attack with tactical nuclear weapons, would use them against Haifa or Tel Aviv. My friend knows this, as well. So, the fear turned my friend to the Right, and to the presidency of George W. Bush.

I wish it could be different. I wish that fear wasn't such a driving force. But it is, and fear can be a healthy tonic for ignorance or appeasement. She sent me a letter in which she despaired of the hagiographic coverage that attended the ongoing coronation of John Kerry. I wrote her back a missive in which I remarked that there was a time and tide for all things, and the John Kerry was in his clover right now, so to speak. These trying times of a hostile press and an opponent in full flower would pass.

I remain convinced that at the end of the day, the people will remain with steady, unremarkable George W. Bush rather than drop the Pilot and take on a man whose sense of self-importance is only equaled by his inability to grasp the central issue of our time. More on this, but later.

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