Yesterday an American software engineer named Joseph Andrew Stack flew a plane into a government building in Austin, Texas after leaving his personal and political manifesto/suicide note on his company's website for the world to read. What are we to make of this news? His rantings against the government, against health care reform and the IRS? This boiling anger and hatred that ultimately lead him to have no other choice but to do something that "has been coming for a long time"?
If you're the newest United States Senator out of Massachusetts, Republican Scott Brown, you shake your head sadly and say it's a real shame. He was just frustrated with our government--how can we blame him? "No one likes paying taxes obviously," said Senator Brown on Fox News following the tragedy. It is sad. It's a real shame that someone felt that this was the only thing they could do, to kill themselves in the process of attempting to kill other people that they did not even personally know, to send a message to the United States of America. But you know what else it is? It's fucking terrorism.
Before 9/11, the largest terrorist attack against the United States came in the form of one Timothy McVeigh when he bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, killing 168 people. Timothy McVeigh was a terrorist, and at the time, everyone pretty much agreed. A domestic terrorist; one of our own, gone rogue. Hmm... I wonder where I've heard that word a lot lately? At these Tea Party rallies I've been seeing on the news, the sorts of sentiments the protesters are voicing are scarily close to what McVeigh acted upon. In fact, at more than one rally, I've seen people toting signs with the Thomas Jefferson quote that was printed on McVeigh's t-shirt in his mugshot after the bombing.
Like McVeigh before him, Stack is a terrorist. He isn't wearing a keffiyeh and he spoke no Arabic, and that's where Senator Brown seems to be getting confused. And confused is hardly even a strong enough word after Brown called his former Senatorial opponent, Martha Coakley, “naïve” on terrorism, saying she possessed a “deeply troubling lack of awareness and understanding of the threats facing our troops and on our national security.” A lack of awareness and understanding, indeed. For the last eight years, we've been able to point at dark-skinned people with turbans and scream, "TERRORIST!" And it's felt pretty good for those who have to be able to classify what is going on at all times--we've got a "war" on "terror" now, a ridiculous classification for what we are attempting to quell: a series of unconnected-but-similarly-minded gangs the world over. Terrorism doesn't have a face, it is not easily recognized and fought by the very nature of what it is. It can be executed by anyone--that's why it's not a war at all. There aren't organized fronts.
But the Tea Party movement, or at least parts of it, will no doubt herald Joseph Stack as a hero, proud that someone had the guts to tell it like it is. To show the government that we're in charge, not them. And other assorted catchphrases that have made it onto their t-shirts and signs. They want our government to fight the threat of terror, while at the exact same time condoning terrorist actions of their own. And they still can't see the irony in that.
And with their newly crowned king, Scott Brown, weaseling out of using the T-word for what had happened--despite the scene looking eerily familiar to events from less than a decade ago--mark my words, the more extreme of the Teabaggers are going to take this as a call to action. They've got more in common with the "enemy" than they'd like to admit. Both groups want to destroy America as we know it, have an affinity for airplane attacks, and make shitty videos for the internet. The only difference is their names and skin color. If Stack's last name had been al-Habib, Ahmad or bin Kasim, we'd be playing a very ballgame right now. And that ballgame would be called "torture"--consequently, another thing that isn't what it really is when white Americans are the ones doing it. Funny how that works.