Discussion Topic for Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Son of Islamofascism
Thanks to everyone who took part in yesterday's discussion.
What I took away from it is that ‘Islamofascism’ actually had an academic meaning when it was first coined, but that it has since been turned into a propaganda term.
I submit that in its current usage it is a fine example of ‘framing’, which is a technique mastered by the Busheviks to set the terms of a debate and put their opponents on the defensive. In this case, the word is used to conflate Islam with fascism, and no good American is in favor of fascism, right? If a proponent of the war can set the terms of a debate over the value of the war as one of pro or anti-fascism, the argument is over before it begins. To be anti-war is to be pro-fascism, you peace-Nazi, you.
No, it doesn’t have to make sense. This is aimed at the lizard brain.
Here are a couple excerpts from posts on the blog Hoffmania!.
From March 1, a post by guest blogger Mark Williams:
“I live in a slightly Republican town in rural Massachusetts. We have many friends in our neighborhood and one of them is a card-carrying Republican. But there's a difference, and I'm hearing this more often. He's with "us".”
“In a conversation today I learned that my Republican friend is appalled at how the party has been "taken over". "They don't represent my views on most things now", said my friend. He went on to say how disappointed he was at what's happening - the war, the economy, and the social issues. Although he didn't come right out and say so, I got the impression that he held dear the basic teachings in the Christian bible. He made reference to the fact that, when held up in the light of the Basic Truths, just about everything the current administration is doing, and the way they're doing it, are completely in violation.”
I personally believe that more and more people who identify themselves as Republicans are thinking thoughts very much like this. And here, from the February 28 post, is more evidence that this may be true:
According to the NPR National Poll:
By a count of 51 to 42%, America's on the wrong track.
People overwhelmingly oppose Bush's new SocSec plan 53% to 30%.
58% don't want private accounts. 34% don't mind it.
Democrats would win the midterm elections if they were held today.
Americans trust Democrats to handle SocSec better than the GOP.
By a 53 to 41% margin, more folks agree with the Dems' plan.
And you know what this means in 2006! Right! A GOP sweep. With so much going for the Democrats, what else can the outcome be?
Because even though America loves our vision of the future, the breakdown of the survey participants is:
19% VERY CONSERVATIVE
22% SOMEWHAT CONSERVATIVE
11% SOMEWHAT LIBERAL
5% VERY LIBERAL
Welcome to our bizarro world.
Ok, so what does this have to do with Islamofascism? Or Iraq? Well, in a nutshell, I think that the war is a point of major vulnerability for Bush and all his ilk. I think support for it is wide among Republicans but very shallow. Because it is wrong
. And, deep in their hearts they know it.
What the NPR poll shows is that solid majorities of Americans agree with Democratic policies, but the same exact people identify themselves as conservatives. They have been trained that ‘liberal’ is a bad word, even though they support policies that are on the liberal side of the great divide. It’s the power of language and framing that prevents them from calling themselves ‘liberals’.
As much as I might despise their politics, I believe that the majority of Republican voters are well-meaning, sincere, and genuinely decent people. They can only support the war if they a) think we can have a quick and easy victory and then forget about it, or b) are blissfully ignorant of its true costs, or c) can be convinced that we fighting a moral war equivalent to defeating the Nazis.
The first is pretty much hammered. More and more we are hearing that we will have to stay in Iraq for a decade or more. And the dead keep piling up.
The second is eroding. Even the most oblivious suburbanites are gradually becoming aware that this war is costing us dearly, in money, in world credibility, and in blood. Granted, there is a long way to go – ignorance is endemic and our whore corporate media is doing everything it can to focus attention on the trivial. But it’s getting harder and harder to ignore.
So the neoconservatives have only one course open to them if they want to keep public support for Lt. AWOL’s excellent adventure and its many possible sequelae. Convince Americans that they are fighting a war to preserve civilization against the barbarian hordes. Terminology like ‘Islamofascism’ is essential to the project.
So how do we recognize it? Are there other examples of this kind of framing? How do we re-frame the debate? How do we counter the creation of the modern crusade?
Please share your thoughts here, and, as always, news posts to the comments of the news section.