Nymphaea Tetragona in the White House

I am coming to the conclusion that the occupant of the Oval Office is the Great Orange Marshmallow.  Talks “tough.” Acts like a dainty and fragile Purple Water Lily.  The Nymphaea Tetragona with a smart phone reacts to the UK’s three terrorist attacks in a short span of time with his cringing call for a “travel ban” to add a “layer of safety.”  Don’t let the facts get in the way. Facts like noting the Manchester Bomber was born in the UK.

Every time Nymphaea Tetragona tweets his insecurities into the public domain some thugs around the world take comfort.  He’s playing straight into their narrative.  ISIS, or whatever name they are giving themselves these days, would love for the western nations to bestow legitimacy on their criminal activities by calling for a “War on Terror,” or a Clash of Civilizations — as if Daesh were even remotely civilized.

What’s needed is a realistic view of Daesh — they are losing control of their territory in the Middle East and lashing out, calling for their affiliates to Take Action.  They are little more than a well armed street gang.  They are not “Islamic” any more than the Ku Klux Klan is Christian.  They are, again, a well armed criminal enterprise.  They would love to be romanticized into a Force recognized by great powers.  They aren’t. They are cowardly bombers and thugs.  Any self-disrespecting cowardly thug would be pleased to see their “cause” in the headlines, their actions elevated to the category of military operations.  However, bombing kids and their parents at a concert, or driving a van into pedestrians isn’t remotely a military operation — it is cowardly, it is criminal.

Instead of travel bans and other dysfunctional responses we need to operate as a national anti-gang operation.  No, joining a street gang is NOT a venture into “belonging” and “affiliation;” it is to brand oneself as a criminal.  No, seeking self fulfillment by accepting criminal behavior as a lifestyle choice isn’t a productive route; it merely serves to degrade the person adopting it.   It would be helpful if politicians would stop playing into the romanticized version of what is, as presented, simply a matter of criminal behavior on the part of some very dysfunctional people.

We know what doesn’t work.  Demonizing and marginalizing members of specific religious or ethnic groups doesn’t work — it plays into the criminal narrative; it gives credence to the criminal slogans and propaganda.  Failure to acknowledge the sources of criminal behavior is counter-productive — it allows dictatorial governments which support radical ideologies to operate with impunity.  (Even if such governments offer our delicate Purple Water Lily a welcome worthy of four repetitions of Pomp and Circumstance. )

What might be much more productive would be developing better working relationships with communities in which there are youth at risk.  Improving the economic situations for those youth — better education, better job training, better visions of what their lives can be like in this society.  This is not to be accomplished by encouraging the outrageous ranting of white supremacists spewing hate and rattling their 2nd Amendment equipage.

It certainly won’t be accomplished by following the lead of the Purple Water Lily, Great Orange Marshmallow, cringing with his smartphone, tweeting out misinformed and much mistaken whines about “keeping safe,” protected from threats real and imagined, comforted by a “strong Dear Leader” whose tweets are substitutes for information, analysis, and reflection.

We don’t need to accept substitutes. We don’t need to accept the overinflated self importance of the criminal elements.  We don’t need to play follow the leader with a person who leads from a position of weakness and fear.  We DO need to redouble our efforts to be that City on A Hill, a beacon of enlightenment and reason.

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