Throughout his chapter “G.W. Bush Administration Narratives of Threat and Containment”, Lugo continuously draws parallels between the containment of the USSR, the containment of terrorism, and the containment of gay couples. All of these notions were categorized as “un-American”, and therefore dangerous. Ultimately, these ideas come to the forefront during Lugo’s discussion of Elaine May’s argument that the “traditional gender roles promoted during the Cold War years “constituted a domestic version of containment” (2001, p. 125)” (Lugo 12), just as they were summarized by GW Bush’s public assessment that “”either you are with us or you are with the terrorists”(2001)” (Lugo 9).
This close-minded binary attitude is worrying. It limits freedom of thought and expression, the very “American” values that are looking to be protected. Likely, these internal divisions, particularly the alienation of the LGBTQ+ community, were created to offer an “other”that, unlike terrorism, could be contained. As Lugo points out, these “witch hunts” parallel those of the Cold War era. However, all they succeed in doing is antagonizing innocents and creating domestic issues, leading to a less unified front.
My gut reaction to this article was anger. How could we as a nation have been so homophobic, so recently? How could we have thought that public terrorism was equivalent to private home lives, of anyone? Even though Lugo specified this was not the intended Pathos of the argument, it still made me more appreciative of the turnaround we as a nation have had in the past 10-15 years. The war on terrorism continues, but fortunately the domestic divisions of “us vs them” seem to be at long last beginning (emphasis on beginning) to disappear as we become increasingly aware of our collective American identity.