Pointing Fingers: an Irrational Means of Security

In his first chapter “G.W. Bush Administration Narratives of Threat and Containment,” Lugo investigates George W. Bush’s rhetorical association between terrorism and sexuality. Bush’s antipathetic rhetoric towards terrorists and campaign to uphold the sanctity of traditional marriage and social norms regarding sexuality in the wake of 9/11 conflate to an image of being un-American. Thus, Bush affectively revived the “us vs. them” mentality prevalent in the cold war by outcasting homosexuals and same sex marriage. Unlike the clear Soviet threat in the Cold War, however, Americans were confronted with a level of uncertainty of who the enemy actually was, leading the government and public to cling onto a common enemy, the LGBT community. Lugo describes that “what has often been rendered un-American has been treated with suspicion and ‘othered.'” In other words, Americans identified same sex couples and homosexuals as scapegoats amidst the uncertainty and fear after 9/11.

I find the silence in opposition to such finger pointing quite interesting considering America’s stance on scapegoating in World War II. As Nazi Germany at the mercy of Hitler blamed the Jewish community for post-WWI economic instability, Americans protested the inhumane and ludicrous incrimination. After all, the U.S. worked to liberate concentration camps across Europe and host Jewish refugees fleeing many European countries. Yet, Americans remained remained passive as history repeated itself with the rising disdain surrounding the LGBT community after 9/11. This rejection demonstrates that intense fear and feelings of insecurity on a national level naturally promote irrational behavior, even with the so-called “good guys.”

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