Return of the Evildoers

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

While still on the subject of terrorism, it's becoming increasingly difficult to tell Jeb Bush and George W. Bush apart.

If you spend any amount of time watching Jeb Bush speak publicly, you'll notice he displays many of the same mannerism as his brother, from his signature smirk to the shrugs and gestures he makes when he thinks he's pulling a fast one on you.

For reasons that cannot be explained Jeb Bush has also decided to run on his brother's foreign policy and now Jeb is even adopting his brother's language.

Jeb spoke at a national security forum in South Carolina yesterday where he condemned tech companies for encrypting their data because, according to him, the NSA is the only agency standing between us and the "evildoers."

"There's a place to find common ground between personal civil liberties and NSA doing its job," Bush said. "I think the balance has actually gone the wrong way." [...]

Bush also criticized private technology firms for using encryption to make it harder for their customers to be surveilled. "It makes it harder for the American government to do its job while protecting civil liberties to make sure evildoers aren't in our midst," he said.

I don't necessarily disagree with Jeb when he says we can find a balance between liberty and security. It's not a zero-sum game. I cannot, however, abide by using terms like "evildoers" while suggesting foreign terrorists may be right under our noses.

The invocation of the term brings back memories of another time when the president of America said you're either with us or against us; a time when questioning the merits and validity of military action meant "the terrorists win."

"Evildoers" is a vague, childish term from another era that infantilizes imagined threats to life and security while also minimizing the very real threats posed by domestic terrorism and state violence meted out by law enforcement.

I'm not interested in returning to a time of grotesque jingoism, meaningless color-coded terror alerts, and visions of mushroom clouds. That's what Jeb Bush represents. He represents the worst aspects of the George W. Bush administration.

America was a very, very different country 10 years ago. A nightmarish version of itself.