Two things leapt out in the musings about the Boston Marathon bombing
1. We on the American left don't trust the American right at all. Our reason: Their violent rhetoric and rallying behind violent events to support violent policies
2. Those on the American right don't trust the American left at all. Their reason: We're not violent enough.
Let that sink in.
Our fundamental beef with the right is its metaphysics, specifically, the positive role that violent sanction plays in social and political life. If someone breaks 'the code', whatever it happens to be on that given day, that it's okay to break out the harassment, the intimidation, the pushes and shoves, the ever-escalating bullying and belligerence that works - in conservative mindsets across the planet - to maintain the natural ethic and by inference the natural order of things. That natural order, of course, requires that some submit and others follow and others still bend their backs in toil and turn their tails and run away on account they're too weird for company or, in some cases, for life itself.
Liberals will look at that snippet and say, damn, that's beat. We need to rethink and renovate how we lead our collective lives.
Conservatives will look at the anecdotal summary above and comment: You say natural order like it's a bad thing, smarty-pants. You want some of this, too?
As remarked on by political commenters in ages past and present and hopefully in future ages, nothing says how you roll like how you treat those individuals who, by some high school/middle school standard, are "too weird".
What do we do with our "Misfit Toys", as in the train with square wheels and the Charly in the Box and the cowboy who rides an ostrich from the old "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" Christmas special? This is an important question.
Or, less humorously, what do we do with our tired, our poor, our huddled masses? Where do we send our mentally and physically ill? Our misbehaving? How do we separate the damaged from the damaging? The innocent odd notion or reactive behavior from the intentional and harmful act or actor?
Do we even bother to make such a distinction? Did we, this week, with the Boston Marathon bombing, before we knew one darn clear thing about who did the attack or what motivated them?
For my part, I was chock full of distrust. My running theory was it was domestic terrorism (which seems to be correct) and that the motive had something to do with the Sandy Hook memorial at Mile 26 (that, it would presently appear, is quite wrong). My bias was informed by the things I list at the start: One, ongoing public safety and public policy issues. Two, persistent and escalating violent rhetoric on the part of our right wing brethren. Three, a personal decision to be fed up catering to people who out and out hate our presence in OUR country, and wouldn't mind something like the Boston attacks, so long as the RIGHT kind of people perpetrated it.
And that, in a nutshell, is why I have the title I do. I know I am partial against the right. Because they are partial against me and mine. Their worldview, from start to finish, excludes any legitimacy of good things in my life, because too weird. Not enough on message.
I don't say hateful things often enough, such as one Fox pundit's tweet about killing all Muslims.
I don't make enough clever jokes mocking victims of violence. Not, as on Arkansas state senator did yesterday, tweeting jokes at Boston's expense because AR-15's in the home are cool.
I don't high-five successfully crushing Medicare Expansion. Not snickering as one Montana pol did that single moms and their kids should just die sooner.
And I don't take kindly to being lectured by Senator Lindsay Lohan Graham and other Republicans on counterterrorism, when they've voted repeatedly to ensure that not only can terrorists - ESPECIALLY domestic ones - buy all the gun supplies but all the IED supplies they need and worry much less about being tracked, because freedom.
Let's pivot to the title again: Why Wingers Hate Boston Wasn't Worse.
The left doesn't trust people we see as too violent. The right doesn't trust people who aren't as violent as themselves.
Let's unpack that a bit more: The right not only doesn't trust pacifist-minded folks - they don't buy for a moment that it's real. They honestly think the more people talk peace the more they're prepping for total violence.
Think Han Solo in the prison block on the Death Star: Good. I prepare an honest fight. That's how Republicans and assorted right-winged persons see themselves. (Give you one guess who they think of as storm troopers.)
And guess what we see when we look at the right: Adam Lanza. Timothy McVeigh. Alex Jones. Glenn Beck. Dick Cheney. Liz Cheney. George W Bush. And, because he's horning in onto the A list of high profile advocates to end rule of law, Senator Graham of South Carolina. We don't see fictional characters. We see belligerent people with a record of abetting salacious violence against people they can't stand - or actually getting their arms elbow-deep in the blood and splashing about in the charnel like it was a kiddie pool.
Boston could have been worse. Far worse. Any of a number of violent factions, some with ambitions to replace the current government of the United States with something far more to their liking. could have acted. The response of Bostonians, of marathon runners, could have been much worse. The search for suspects could have gone cold, completely cold. The lockdown of metro Boston could have gone on for days. More attacks could have happened, in some other world where a far better armed, better organized and more numerous movement had struck.
It's a sad time when we can refer to hundreds wounded and a handful slain as 'could have been worse'. Yet even this is not bad enough for our right wing brethren.
Because at the end of the day, rule of law worked, albeit in forms we never should have grown accustomed to over the past 12 years, and yet did. The law enforcement approach to counterterrorism worked.
The civil judicial process should now be given its chance to work without the squirmy, lets-cater-to-the-violent-right ways that have become all too common and never placate the right anyway, because we're too weird for sufferance no matter what we do. But that's the future as of this writing. As Marcy Wheeler tweeted last night, the important this is not Mirandization but prompt presentation - of the suspect before a court.
But let's look back on what worked, starting with the instant after the first bomb went off: People. People worked. Bostonians and runners ran to help.
Compassion worked. Marathon runners trotting past the finish line and on to the hospitals to give blood is one of the most awesome testaments to peaceful perseverance I have ever witnessed
Courage worked. A second bomb had gone off. NO ONE knew if there were more. Rumors flashed worldwide through Twitter of widespread chaos. A fire at the JFK Library had started. WTF. And people stuck around to help.
In other words, Civilization Worked. Cops, medics, persons with first aid training, people capable of stripping cloth for improvised bandages, getting water, getting friends and family sorted out, getting word out that Help Is On The Way.
And that's not bad enough for wingers. They wanted the mob. They wanted mob justice.
We saw that in so many messages from the right all week long. Let's check off the list: Genocide. Blocking background checks. Terrorizing perfectly innocent People We Don't Think Belong In These Here Parts. Condemning terrorism, but only when the wrong color or confession does it. Making wisecracks about liberals in Boston cowering in their gun-less homes, when the American arms industry got its START in New England.
And what would have been the consequence, had mob rule not rule of law carried the day?
Based on the comments above and elsewhere, I think I know:
If the mob had prevailed and not civilization, hordes of concerned well-armed citizens would have descended on various homes and neighborhoods, all with conspicuously high concentrations of Muslim inhabitants. This would have happened long before we even knew the name 'Tsarnaev'.
Think of the families of People Marathoning With Muslim Sounding Names outed by the, cough, prompt diligence of conservative mouthpieces like the New York Post. Would they have survived, had mob rule prevailed? We know from news accounts that a man was beaten for the affront of LOOKING ARAB. Well, gosh. From the headlines, the oops was he was mistaken for being Arab. Again, how many times would that headline have aired at all? My guess: A much higher body count, and the press holding their heads down while a kind of slow-boil ethnic cleansing started up.
Mob rule, the kind that too many right wingers lamented was NOT in force enough, would have been terrorism in kind, and on a far worse scale. If I have to put a label on what the combination of proposed goals and methods would have engendered, I'd say: Bosnia. Bosnia-level badness.
And I think we'll see more and more open calls for just that from our friends on the right. They're shopping for an expression of their ethos. They're outraged that they can find no legitimate outlet for their embrace of the primitive ethic that it's not just acceptable but honorable to identify Failures to Communicate, to roust Those Who Just Don't Fit In and deal those persons every affliction that seems good to them, including exile, including death.
Or.. perhaps I have Lindsay Graham all wrong. Perhaps I'm attributing a kind of malice to the owners of the NY Post and Fox News that's entirely inappropriate. Perhaps I just don't get that Alex Jones and Glenn Beck really don't want to encourage violent uprising... so long as it's the RIGHT kind of people, with the RIGHT kind of ideas, doing the violence thing.
But as I listed at the start: We don't trust them because they talk violent and from time to time they act on it. Call me biased. I'm biased for civilization.
Because civilization works. Had the mob had its way this week, they'd have burned down entire neighborhoods in their quest for payback, and would have missed the boat.