Why Not “Anti-Choice Terrorism”?

Carly FiorinaI’m half Portuguese. The other half is mongrel, but quite Irish. In fact, since my direct ancestors came from the Azores — you know there is a lot of breeding from the United Kingdom. You know how sailors are. But if people ask me what my ancestors were, I say Portuguese. That’s the most clear thing I am, and I have a Portuguese name, even though it really ought to be spelled, “Morais” (which I much prefer, not least of which because that is closer to the way it is pronounced).

But even with this tenuous relationship to my heritage, I still feel guilt about the Portuguese being really horrible imperialists. And when I first heard the story of Cheryl Araujo being raped by four Portuguese men, I felt ashamed. Again: I’m about as Portuguese as Bugs Bunny. But I still feel that connection — that identity — that makes me cringe when I hear of anyone Portuguese doing something wrong. As a result, I understand it when Christians feel the need to distance themselves for something horrible that other Christians do. But there is a secret weapon that I (and many other people) have against this: I don’t blame groups of people for things that individuals do.

Brian BeutlerThis issue came up in a very big way this last week when Robert Lewis Dear went on a shooting spree. Did he do it because Carly Fioria has been telling lies about Planned Parenthood and because Center for Medical Progress is in the business of stirring up confusion and fear? Does it matter? The truth is that if he did, he is just one of many who have done so specifically because of the anti-choice movement, which has a long history of referring to abortion as murder and putting out false propaganda to paint the whole process as though it were something out of a modern Frankenstein film.

Brian Beutler wrote a very good article about it yesterday, Conservatives’ Planned Parenthood Response: Who Are You Calling a Radical Terrorist? He went through the five stages of conservative reaction to the Dear shooting: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and… denial again. Because it can’t be about them. It can’t be that going on national television and saying that at Planned Parenthood they force women to have late term abortions where the baby is alive, and then they keep it that way so they can “harvest its brain.” I tend to disagree, but I understand the desire to say, “It ain’t me, babe.”

And I would allow them to do just that. There is just this little problem with them being totally self-serving about it. These are, after all, the people who insist upon calling terrorism committed by Muslims as “Islamic terrorism.” In fact, it is such a big deal to them that they seem to think the only reason terrorism still exists is because Obama doesn’t use the exact words that they request. (But didn’t like those words either, not that it matters.) I don’t know about Christian, but clearly Dear’s act is part of the anti-choice movement. And I think there are tons of reasons to blame the movement itself — or at least parts of it. Anyone who has held up pictures of “aborted” fetuses (they are usually still born babies) is culpable in these crimes.

But we aren’t supposed to talk about “anti-choice terrorism.” If we did, we might have to start dealing with the problem here at home. We might even have to talk about easy access to guns. We might require a media that shows that the anti-choice propaganda is false. It would hard. Easy is going after a weak minority in the US, and calling for a halt to immigration, and carpet bombing far away nations. And we are America, so we always do what is easy — not what is right.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

10 thoughts on “Why Not “Anti-Choice Terrorism”?

  1. It is slowly starting to slide into the media that this is terrorism. But annoyingly it seems the thing that gets the most press is the nasty reactions by antis. I saw more articles about how awful their reactions then I did about how this was terrorism. I guess because we are used to focusing on the negative and of course, click bait.

    • Well, there’s no doubt that yesterday’s attack will be called terrorism. Muslims. I’m sick of the word. At this point, it is simply a racist word and that is why conservatives run around insisting that the president link it to Islam. As though that would do a bit of good. But that isn’t the point. The point is to normalize the racism.

      • I know. SEK said on Facebook he should put this in the columns at Salon today: “The people at Fox News are horrible racists who say vile shit on the television so white people feel better about themselves.”

        • Yeah, I always like how much more blunt he is away from Salon. I saw a headline of someone’s today, “Fox News Is Doing Just What ISIS Wants.” Yep.

          • He does have to behave for the corporate masters. I found out yesterday that a friend’s nephew died in the attack so I feel even worse than I did before.

              • It was a very strange target if the woman was, as is being very poorly reported, radicalized by ISIS. In a country that regularly has mass shootings it was not particularly effective other than gun control advocates are not backing down and are going further than they normally do like the woman who proposed a bill treating buying a gun like getting an abortion.

                Nothing seems to have changed in the chatter by the vacant empty heads on TV outside of the Republicans being super happy it was not yet another white Christian male. The pointless votes in the Senate and House were going to happen regardless, neither bill would pass the other chamber and will be vetoed regardless.

                So even if this woman was radicalized, it seems like a wasted effort on the part of ISIS. We mourn but next week there will be a fresh new atrocity to be upset over.

                • The thinking might have been that it was an easy target. If they had “only” killed two or three, it wouldn’t have gotten the attention they wanted. They might have thought they were going to get a bunch more. Regardless, they were incredibly successful at what they wanted to do: make everyone freak out. The killing is just a means to that end.

  2. (Sorry for the belated comment. I wrote this off-line and procrastinated too long.)

    Portuguese and Irish, eh?

    In 1986, my father underwent 13 hours of heart surgery and slipped into a 3-week coma the next day. When he came out of the coma, he couldn’t speak or write (a condition which lasted a couple of days), but he was desperately trying to tell us something. Later that evening, the nurse leading his ICU team finally figured out what he was trying to say. She had one of those Irish double “first” names like “Mary Kate” and long, black hair. My father was trying to say she was “Black Irish”.

    I had heard about the Black Irish every so often growing up. According to my father, the Portuguese sailors in the Spanish Armada were shipwrecked on the Irish coast and ended up living in Ireland; their descendants had black hair, etc. (There’s no truth to the “Black Irish” myth.)

    It finally occurred to me a couple of years ago: Portuguese? Wouldn’t the sailors have been Spanish? Then I read a book about the Spanish Armada a few months ago. Philip II of Spain also ruled Portugal. The Spanish Armada was based and fitted out on the Portuguese coast. Since preparing the ships was a very lengthy process, a lot of the Spanish sailors got fed up, deserted, and returned to Spain; Portuguese sailors were hired to replace them. So there were a lot of Portuguese sailors. From what I remember from the book, however, the sailors that were shipwrecked on the Irish coast did not fare well at the hands of the Irish.

    An interesting thing I learned from the book: beating ploughshares into swords! The English ran short of cannonballs and resorted to breaking up farming tools, stuffing them into their cannons, and shooting them at the Armada.

    • Interesting story! The only thing I know about the Spanish Armada is that Cervantes had tried to get back into the military, because he wanted to be part of it. Of course, they didn’t want him (he had lost a hand while serving the army before). So he lived and went on to write the most important novel ever.

      I don’t get much into my Portuguese ancestry. Partly, it’s because I always imagine the Azores are sort of different. But mostly, it’s just what I know of Portuguese imperialism is so horrible that I don’t want to be associated with it.

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