I called and talked to my older brother Stephen last night, for the first time in months. Of course, he launched off on a rant about how we should “kill all the rag-heads and let God sort them out.” He cracks me up sometimes. Most people don’t get him. He’s a biker-type guy, with swastikas and all sorts of other bullshit tattooed on him. His rants are often misogynistic too, and if I thought he was even half-assed serious I’d disown him. The second part of his outburst is easy to discount: he’s an atheist. I asked him about the guy in Fort Smith who was arrested by the FBI as a suspected potential terrorist the day after the attack. I saw an interview with his wife and kid, and it didn’t seem to me like he was a terrorist even if he was a “rag-head.” I asked Steve, well, do you think they should kill him? He said “No, of course not– you know what I mean.” That’s the scary part. I do. Even though he talks like the big woman-hating racist, nothing could be further from the truth. He’s really a gentle soul, getting gentler every year. I had to ask him why he talked that way. He said, “Well, I guess I just like the rhetoric!”
Maybe that’s part of the problem with the “current situation”– people just like the way the words of war sound. I don’t. It bugs the shit out of me, as a matter of fact. Any time you study a civil war in a History or literature class, they say that the situation was somehow more unique because the war is “brother against brother.” Aren’t all wars brother against brother? Or did I miss something somewhere? The rhetoric is just so damned imprecise.
I wish people didn’t like that flavor of rhetoric so much.