The Most Progressive Man

The official AFL-CIO response to the Orlando terrorist attack is a wonder of cowardly doublespeak masquerading as profundity. Since it’s unlikely that anyone else will do it, I offer my fisking services to the “American community.”

Dear AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler and AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre: You begin your statement with, “Bayard Rustin said to be afraid is to behave as if the truth were not true.” So why does the AFL-CIO behave as if it was not a radical Islamic terrorist in that Orlando nightclub? No, not all Muslims are terrorists (no one really says that except you when you’re falsely attacking someone) but virtually all terrorists are Muslim. That is a terrible truth, but the sooner everyone behaves truthfully about it – especially the moderate Muslim community, because they have the most to lose – the sooner we can deal with it.

“We in the labor movement are not afraid.” You’re afraid to speak the truth about Omar the dead Orlando terrorist. I’m terribly sorry to break it to you, but that means the labor movement is afraid of radical Islamic terrorism. But I understand. I’m afraid of it too. So is most of the world. But being a craven liar won’t keep you safe from it, so man up. (Sorry for that gender micro-aggression, but you really do need to get some cojones.)

“We are resolved to do everything in our power to make sure this never happens again.” What, exactly, is “this” that you resolve to fight? You call it an “attack” or an “act of violence.” If you plan on fighting all violent attacks, it’s useful to name the attackers and their motive. In this case, the attacker himself told authorities what his motive was, so you really have no excuse. I know you want to sound like Winston Churchill giving his “We Shall Fight on the Beaches” speech, but you can’t do that without naming the Germans.

“The truth as we know it is both devastating and infuriating. Forty-nine souls were lost in a cowardly act of violence.” Since you’re in the business of relative “truths” can you please explain why “the truth as you know it” is more valid than “the truth as Omar knew it”? Which of those truths is true, and who is really afraid to act on it? (I hope you’re not saying that the more furious you are the more truth you tell, because Omar seemed much more infuriated than you.)

“For the LGBTQ community, clubs like Pulse are a space where people can feel safe and be their true selves.” Leaving aside Omar’s terrorist intent to kill people because they were being their “true selves,” no one can deny the objective truth that the Pulse club was NOT a safe space. (You keep using the word “true” as if it means one particular objective thing. Who do you think you’re kidding?)

“Sunday’s horrific act is a reminder of how fragile that safety can be.” I agree, so why do you want to limit the ways that people can protect their fragile safety? Why not say you want to arm the gay community with the means to defend themselves? Oh. I get it. Because that actually is the American Way, and you actually hate America.

“While we have made undeniable progress toward equality, too many in our country still face derision, discrimination and violence.” You are not afraid to name those undeniable evils. Why are you afraid to name the undeniable evil that drove Omar to kill those innocent gay people? After all, Omar did interrupt his killing to call 911 and pledge allegiance to ISIS. I really hope you’re not saying that “It depends on what the meaning of ISIS is” because that would really piss off ISIS. They absolutely hate it when we quibble about their genocidal intent.

“These flames of hatred have been fanned by those in public life who want to marginalize an entire group of people for political gain.” Some people do want to marginalize entire groups. For instance, labor unions want to marginalize Republicans, and Republicans want to marginalize labor unions. But ISIS wants to exterminate as many gay people from the planet as possible while they establish a worldwide Caliphate. Apparently, “gay genocide” is too nuanced for you to understand, so you instinctively revert to the lie that Omar was a “coward.” I’m not sure what dictionary you’re using, but “cowards” don’t intentionally arm themselves with “military-style” weapons, declare allegiance to ISIS, and then murder 49 gay people because they’re gay, all the while knowing they’ll be gunned down by the cops. I think the phrase you’re looking for is “radical Islamic terrorist.”

“It’s despicable and it must stop.” Since your official statement refuses to name ISIS, can you specifically identify which groups are being so despicable that we must stop them? Don’t tell me. You mean Republicans and Christians and probably White Privileged People, and everyone knows it’s okay to marginalize those entire groups of people. Silly me.

“But this was more than just an attack on the LGBTQ community. The victims were overwhelmingly young and Latino.” You can’t possibly mean that being young AND gay AND Latino is somehow more valuable than just being gay. But yes, I think you really do mean that, because you’ve been dividing people into subgroups for so long that the 57 “genders” won’t be enough for you next year. And I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but what is that bullshit about embracing our “common humanity” in the last paragraph? Do you ever get tired of lying?

“Sunday’s massacre was an assault on everything our movement stands for: equality, justice, solidarity and inclusion.” See the previous paragraph, and explain to me why – if “equality” is so important to you – it is also so important to note that “the victims were overwhelmingly young and Latino.” I’m guessing it just wasn’t enough to note their “common humanity.”

“It was also an extraordinarily difficult situation for our first responders, who had the traumatic job of sorting the dead from the living, effectively working in a war zone. We thank the police, firefighters and health care providers who saved lives and continue to care for the injured. We will stand with them in the trying days ahead.” I really hope you’re saying that Labor will stop calling the cops racist murderers, because – as you point out so well – they really do have a difficult job in all the inner city “war zones” the Democrat Left has created. Unfortunately, that’s just me wishing the truth were not true. (I’m beginning to see why the Left thinks the whole “truth” thing is pretty damned inconvenient except when you’re naming documentaries after it.)

“Labor is one big family, made up of people of all races, religions, genders, sexual orientations and gender identities. As a family, we will work to provide comfort to our brothers and sisters in Orlando and across the United States. And we will make it our daily mission to ensure America’s workplaces and union halls are safe and free from bigotry.” If that’s true – sorry, “your truth” – then you might consider adding mosques to your list, because President Obama is inviting more and more “Omars” into the country every day, and they’re not assimilating very well. If you could bring Muslim refugees into the big American family I think everyone would truly appreciate it. Oh, who the fuck am I kidding? You don’t want them to be Americans. You want them to be union members first and Democrats second. Unfortunately for everyone, your Western ideas about the Labor Movement and Democracy can only be shared by people who assimilate into Western Civilization. Yeah, I know: that’s too inconvenient to worry about. Forget I mentioned it.

“There will be some who try to use this tragedy to further divide us, to pit communities against each other and scapegoat entire faith traditions.” See paragraph 1, because this sounds suspiciously like you’re behaving as if the truth were not true. The truth is that Progressives have divided America into innumerable “communities” and “multicultural groups.” The “White Privilege” and “Black Lives Matter” movements pit whites against blacks, and race relations are worse today than at any time in the last 50 years. I could go on, but you’re smarter than Lincoln and you know that “unity” can never be realized until you stop behaving like a house divided against itself can still stand.

“Let us be perfectly clear: giving in to division and fear will only add insult to injury. This is a moment for us to come together, embrace our common humanity and take the necessary steps to make our country safer, stronger and more united.” See previous paragraph, and tell me why “your truth” on these subjects is any more valid than “my truth” or “Omar’s truth.” Rest assured: truth does exist, and it doesn’t give a shit about your version or my version. It just is, and the sooner you realize that the sooner we can start building a more perfect union.

And, just to be perfectly clear – since I did link to Barack Obama’s 2008 speech – you had a chance back then to bring America closer to that perfect union, but you fucked it up, everyone knows you fucked it up, and you keep fucking it up with statements like this one on Orlando.

Of course, everyone also knows Progressives don’t believe in turning  back. So I’ll rub salt into the would by quoting C.S. Lewis from Mere Christianity (aka “the religion of hate”).

“Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”