Thursday, November 04, 2004

Clash of Civilizations

The last moments of Theo Van Gogh at the hands of an Islamofascist killer creates an interesting portrait of our times. The name 'Van Gogh' is synonymous with Western culture, tied to an era that some argue was the greatest period of art in the West. And in 2004, Vincent Van Gogh's great grandnephew, having made a film about how women are mistreated under Islam, is shot repeatedly, then stabbed.

Theo Van Gogh's last piteous pleadings before his Islamic killer might very well be the words of modern Europe grappling with its rising tide of Muslims on the Old Continent: "Don't do it. Don't do it. Have mercy. Have mercy!"

It's hard to read about Van Gogh's fate and not draw a symbolic parallel between his death and the decline of Europe as a whole. The death of Van Gogh at the hands of a jihadist---in Amsterdam, no less---underscores the cultural divide that socialist European nations are nurturing while in their quest to keep Europe safe for Muslims. Van Gogh was a filmmaker and columnist who appears to have epitomized a secular, post-modern liberal view of the world. He spared no religion his derision; he once mocked a prominent Dutch Jew, referred to Jesus as the rotten fish of Nazareth, and called a radical Muslim politician Allah's pimp. All three Abrahamic religions received his wrath, rightly or wrongly. But only one broke out the koummya and sliced his throat.

Perhaps a state funeral is in order, to lament Europe's passing. Theo Van Gogh the Younger might have been an opinionated, unbridled and uncouth liberal art lunatic who needed to know his limits with Islamofascism's medieval sensibilities; or he might be a hero and martyr to what's left of an enlightened Europe, in a steep decline. Or perhaps he was simply both.

Rest in Peace, Theo.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


The candidate I voted for appears to have won, barring unforeseen circumstances in Ohio. I am relieved, but to a point. The divide within America is as wide as ever, although President Bush won by a more comfortable margin than 2000. Only our unanimity of purpose in the world will secure America's destiny, more than any leader who only has the hearts and minds of half the nation. I am glad the United States is pressing ahead in this war. I hope the President can refine his strategies and positions, and strike unfamiliar ground. We're all in the breech in this one.

I hope the Democratic party goes to the woodshed and reinvents itself. They must. Kerry was no unifier, with his leftist anti-war past. Democratic leaders must rise within their party who recognize we are in a war for our way of life---leaders who have shaken-off Vietnam. They must distance themselves from leftists like Michael Moore. Barack Obama might be a rising star within the Democratic party because he has the potential to grasp the war, and what it means for all Americans. Democrats need to own the war, and wrest it from the domination of the Republicans. We would all be better off for it. At Mark Stein's website, a reader named Carl Mackay commented:

...When Americans go to the polls to vote for President, it will be for two distinct reasons: Republicans will vote for President Bush because they think he is telling the truth about his intentions in Iraq and [will] stay the course; Democrats believe Senator Kerry is lying and [will actually] pull out of Iraq.
For me, that's it in a nutshell. The Democratic vote seemed dishonest---the campaigning, the media bias, the subversive elements seething below the surface---something is rotten in the Democratic party. And so Daschle is gone now. They must open the doors and windows of the woodshed and let out the dust and damp, and breathe new life into their party. We would be a stronger nation for it. The GOP has control of all branches of government. That's a mandate to the Democrats to get their heads out of the pot smoke of the Sixties and get serious. I will root for that, even if it seems unlikely.

And to spread the responsibility evenly, the Republicans have a lot to prove in the next four years. Broad expansion of government spending and military commitments abroad can't continue indefinitely. By the next election, Republicans will have dominated government for a long enough period to be fully responsible for the state of the union at that point. Seeds planted in the early Bush years will blossom in the later ones. In 2004, the war was relatively young; by 2008, whether or not America is entrenched or winning the war will be apparent. The judgment of the electorate will be harsh if today's policies don't become the basis of our security in 2008, domestically and internationally.

We have some serious business on the blotter in the next year. We are faced with two rising nuclear rogue powers; Bin Laden apparently lives, and plans; Democracy is fragile in Russia; China's economy roils; Europe is in political realignment. May the seriousness of our world be matched by our own serious resolve to fully engage it. We can do it.