“Cognitive Dissonance- Volume 1”

A tragic event happened on Sunday.  Our friends and families were attacked and killed by a hateful man, bent on destruction for reasons still not entirely clear. But terrorism and homophobia are not mutually exclusive, so I’m not sure that even if there is some single motive, that matters much. The lives of some 100 people were directly affected, innocent club goers murdered while they celebrated themselves and their community.

Fifty lives lost.  Over fifty more injured, some fighting for their lives as we speak.

But with speed that surprised even me, the political machines of the major parties started churning out soundbites. Tomorrow we can talk about the hypocrisy of the pro-gun crowd. Today, my angry bone to pick is with my fellow liberals.

Here’s the thing: Articles like this surfaced almost instantly, screaming that the terror watch list would have stopped this horror.

The problem with that? The same people demanding we use this watch list, are the self-same people decrying the GOP’s presumptive nominee’s call to ban Muslims from entering the country. I am going to assume many, if not the majority, of the people on the watchlists will have Middle Eastern-sounding names. I assume that because, well, we don’t know who is on those lists, or why they are on them. We know more than we did, but when even that conservative mouth piece, the American Civil Liberties Union, condemns the list as an affront to liberty, you might have the wrong tool.

I guess it’s OK to ban people from flying and remove other rights if they are already here? Especially if those folks are actual citizens? Forget all that anger about Edward Snowden and warrantless wiretaps, and secret lists. We’re talking guns here! We can’t take any chances!

I won’t insult everyone with a Godwin’s law reference.  That was Germany, and it was far away. There are plenty of analogs here in the good ol’ United States of America. This country has seen plenty of lists abused to deprive innocent people of their rights, a possible threat used as an excuse to detain and remove the rights of otherwise innocent people. Joe McCarthy had his Communists and Homosexuals. Karl Bendetsen had the Japanese internment. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, those who have learned from history apparently are doomed to watch the rest of you repeat it anyway.

The Constitution bans something called a “Bill of Attainder.” While I am assured the watch list is not such an instrument, I guess we will see when those folks are not allowed to assemble – but let’s not forget Free Speech Zones and Occupy Wall Street – or vote, or when they are finally arrested, detained without due process and tried secretly .

You’re right, let’s use the watch list. What could possibly go wrong?

*Yes, we’ve talked about this before.

This post has been edited to refer to the follow up blog post of 14 June 2016