The spontaneous, day-long “sit-in” initiated by Congressman John Lewis and others in the House of Representatives echoed Fannie Lou Hamer: “I’m sick ‘n tired of bein’ sick ‘n tired.” At one point Wednesday evening, a Republican House member stood off and shook his fist at an insurgent Democratic speaker focused on reasonable gun legislation. The man simply hollered, “Radical Islam! Radical Islam!” The next morning, Chris Cuomo on CNN debated Republican House member Sean Duffy from Wisconsin on the stand-off. Duffy’s response was this: “The threat is not guns; it’s radical Islamic terrorism!” It has to be one or the other; it can’t be a little of both with a host of other things mixed in.
Fox News studio warriors Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly — and let’s not forget the king of hate sleaze, Donald Trump — work this absolutist line hard. It feels like a matter of life and death for them that they jam someone like Omar Mateen into a box labeled RADICAL ISLAM. The term itself has become magical. If one shuts out everything else but these magical words, we’re led to believe the solution will appear as clear as Jesus rising on the third day. We need to re-invade, re-occupy and re-bomb-the-crap-out-of Sunni Anbar Province in western Iraq and reaching into Syria.
I was in Falluja as a peace activist in December 2003. A blond-haired westerner slunk down in the backseat of a blue Opal with a cracked windshield, I soaked up what I could of normal, on-going life in Falluja. My Iraqi guides were looking for the forward operations base where the son of the man in the front seat drove a fuel truck. While all this arguing goes on, I can’t help seeing that tragic Anbar Province city’s fate hanging in the balance.