Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The difference between red and blue.

There have been a lot of chuckles lately inspired by the red/blue maps of the United States, but we all know that these maps can't be taken seriously. Obviously, it makes no sense to colour a state red or blue when many of them were won by razor-thin margins in some cases, so the concept or a red or blue state (in most cases, at least) is clearly absurd.

Not so the concept of a red or blue person.

All you need to understand that is to read some of the coverage -- this article, for example -- of the apparent execution of a wounded Iraqi by a U.S. Marine:

... The first marine is heard repeating the same allegation that the wounded man, who lies motionless on the floor, is pretending.

The footage then shows the marine raising his rifle at one of the prisoners. The video provided to the networks then is blacked out, but a shot can be heard.

"He's dead now," one of the marine declares.

Numerous international commentators and human rights advocates are understandably offended and horrified by the apparent summary execution of a wounded man lying motionless on the ground. But it's the reaction of the right-wing media circus and its attack poodles that's truly stunning. From that same article:

In the United States, right-wing talk shows hailed the marines as heroes who were simply defending themselves against dangerous Iraqis.

"Our guys have been blown up by booby-trapped bodies," talk-show host Rush Limbaugh said.

"These are people who have been taking shots at American soldiers since we got there. These are the people that have links and ties to people who blew up 3,000 innocent Americans on Sept. 11."

Ignore, of course, drug addict Limbaugh's tired defense that Iraq had something to do with the attacks of 9/11. Limbaugh has been a serial, pathological liar for years so there's not much point even replying to that idiocy.

Just absorb the idea that there are people who actually walk among you, who look like regular human beings, who think it's a terrific idea to kill, in cold blood, a wounded, motionless person lying on the ground. And appreciate that there is a gulf between red and blue people that will never, ever, ever be bridged. There is no possibility for dialogue between these two groups, one a group of regular, caring individuals, the other a collection of -- what other way to describe them -- completely soulless monsters. What can one say to them that would have any meaning whatsoever?

I'm not sure what more can be said here. I'm only reminded of something Erich Hoffer once wrote:

"What monstrosities would walk the streets, were some peoples' faces as unfinished as their minds."

These are the red people. And they are a frightening group.

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