aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Lesbian candidate’s win reinstated in Alabama
The Alabama Democrats did the right thing:
Patricia Todd was reinstated Saturday as the Democratic Party’s nominee for a seat in the Alabama Legislature. The Alabama Democratic Party Executive Committee voted 95-87 to reject the ruling of a subcommittee two days ago that had voted to disqualify Todd. (story)
Todd beat Gaynell Hendricks in the primary. But Hendricks’ mother-in-law filed an appeal filed with the Democratic Party claiming that Todd timed the filing of her campaign finance report with the Secretary of State’s office shortly before the deadline to keep voters from learning she was supported by the Victory Fund, a Washington DC-based organization that helps the campaigns LGBT candidates. [...]
Observers said the dispute between the two Democrats had more to do with race than sexuality. Todd is lesbian and white. Hendricks is straight and black. Some key Democrats in Alabama were alleged to have wanted Todd out because of her color.
Party chairman Joe Turnham said that the key factor in Saturday’s decision to overturn the committee ruling was that no candidate had followed the disclosure rule for nearly 20 years. [...]
There is no Republican running for the seat which means Todd will become the first lesbian to sit in the Alabama legislature.
Talking sense on terror
“Now the way I see it you can’t have terrorism without terror.”
“One way to deal a blow to the effectiveness of terrorism is to deal with the terror itself.”
I’ve pointed to this piece before, but only in passing. Bruce Schneier inspires me to point to it again. It’s one of the most trenchant commentaries on terrorism I’ve seen. Anywhere. Ever. 2 Minutes 18 seconds.
How we can fight terror
After recounting a litany of overreaction similar to but not including the story of the guy who accidentally dropped his iPod into an airplane toilet, prompting a full-scale terror alert, in What the Terrorists Want Bruce Shneier remind us:
The point of terrorism is to cause terror, sometimes to further a political goal and sometimes out of sheer hatred. The people terrorists kill are not the targets; they are collateral damage. And blowing up planes, trains, markets or buses is not the goal; those are just tactics. The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act.
And we’re doing exactly what the terrorists want. [...]
Our politicians help the terrorists every time they use fear as a campaign tactic. The press helps every time it writes scare stories about the plot and the threat. And if we’re terrified, and we share that fear, we help. All of these actions intensify and repeat the terrorists’ actions, and increase the effects of their terror.
The implausible plots and false alarms actually hurt us in two ways. Not only do they increase the level of fear, but they also waste time and resources that could be better spent fighting the real threats and increasing actual security. I’ll bet the terrorists are laughing at us.
Another thought experiment: Imagine for a moment that the British government arrested the 23 suspects without fanfare. Imagine that the TSA and its European counterparts didn’t engage in pointless airline-security measures like banning liquids. And imagine that the press didn’t write about it endlessly, and that the politicians didn’t use the event to remind us all how scared we should be. If we’d reacted that way, then the terrorists would have truly failed.
It’s time we calm down and fight terror with antiterror. This does not mean that we simply roll over and accept terrorism. There are things our government can and should do to fight terrorism, most of them involving intelligence and investigation—and not focusing on specific plots.
But our job is to remain steadfast in the face of terror, to refuse to be terrorized.