View of the Boston Common, circa 1750, stitched by Hannah Otis (1732-1801)
The "ethno-masochists" are in mourning. They didn't get their man. Their white man. That bitter-clinger, church-going,Tea Party patriot of their dreams. This thwarted desire -- seething, pulsing, coursing through the flow of commentary all week -- was the ugly undercurrent to our national stress over another Islamic terrorist attack, this time in Boston, that has again torn at our civlizational fabric. But something else is tearing at that same fabric. And that is the fact that more than anything else, the Left wanted this terrorism to have been plotted and inflicted by one of our own.
We don't see such uniform deviance immediately on display after 9/11. Then, the Left and almost everyone else would be pre-occupied and distracted with the question, "Why do they hate us?" At least this cringing question still implied the existence of some "they" out there, and some "us" at home. Even as the question itself manifested a willingness to accept blame, to change, and ultimately to submit, it did nonetheless acknowledge some sense of nationhood. This sense could not and did remain. Both Left and Right alike would shrink -- and they still shrink -- from defining "they." Defining Islam according to the texts and teachings that makes it the enemy of the liberty that defines "us" has proven to be beyond our courage.
This has proven to be not only self-defeating but self-extinguishing. For more than a decade, we have been holding our breath and shutting eyes to make "they" disappear from our minds, anyway, which is where it counts. Now, "they" don't even exist in our collectively vetted imagination. Consider how in the aftermath of the Boston attack, which displayed every sign of an Islamic attack -- or, at least, an Islamic copycat attack -- logical, rational speculation that the attack was an act of jihad was suppressed or derided in the public square. The president wouldn't call it even generic terrorism at first. One of his career-long closest advisors, David Axelrod, explained why: "I'm sure what was going through the president's mind is -- we really don't know who did this -- it was tax day."
Bombs kill and maim marathon runners in downtown Boston and the President of the United States' first thought is tax day. Either this is one warped mind, or this just another calculation to deceive and self-deceive. Here is Axelrod's full quotation:
"The word has taken on a different meaning since 9/11," Axelrod said of the phrase "terrorist attack." "You use those words and it means something very specific in people's mind."
Islamic attack. Mustn't think that.There is no "they."
"And I'm sure what was going through the president's mind is -- we really don't know who did this -- it was tax day. Was it someone who was pro--you know, you just don't know. And so I think his attitude is, let's not put any inference into this, let's just make clear that we're going to get the people responsible."
Let's make "they" disappear.
But "they" exploded into our consciousness, leaving an online trail of clues to jihad behind them. The narrative couldn't be crafted, couldn't be controlled by Axelrod or anyone else: Chechen Muslims went on a jihad against America and everyone knew it at once.
But in the next split-second, we began to un-know it, to deconstruct on conditioned cue, to separate facts from conclusions, something elaborated on here. The neighbor of the Islamic-convert-wife of the older terrorist demonstrated how it's done on revealing to the Daily Mail her train of thought when the FBI pulled up to the wife's family home Friday morning:
‘With all the activity, I put it together, but I thought this can’t be.
Even now, news stories and analysts continue to wonder or ignore why in the world these nice young men did such a terrible thing -- an old chestnut, by now, of post-jihad coverage. Maybe the reporters and experts struggling for words really don't know how else to operate. Under Bush and Obama both, we as a society have systematically stripped the most basic, incontrovertible words that describe "they" from our speeches and debate and conversation. By official orders from the top, the texts and teachings that explain why "they" (Muslims) do what "they" do (jihad) have similarly been removed from educational materials and the classroom, especially the educational materials and classrooms of our law enforcement and military. It is evidence of a "phobia" to bring such texts and teachings up in conversation, and they never enter political debate. It is cause for professional and moral ostracism even to use the words that "they" themselves use to communicate, whether "they" be Islamic statesmen or Islamic jihadists. Our silence is symptomatic of our psychic surrender, which is the gravest kind.
Still, some explanation is required for the horrors visited upon us. Someone attacked, maimed and killed innocents in Boston. Not "they," of course. There is no "they." We have met the enemy and he is "us," just as all those Vietnam movies used to tell us. The enemy is America. America is why they hate us, and we hate America, too. Civilization torn asunder. Divided we fell.
Who will pick up the pieces?