Mostly, I understand the idiocies and incoherence of the right. I think it’s a load of bullshit, but I understand how they get to these places of pure stupidity. I also understand that it’s their choices that led them there — their completely wrong choices, their frightened and combative decisions on dealing with a changing and complex world.
It’s all about trying to make things simple, like they used to be. Except they never were. Not really.
Take this Islamic community center two blocks from the site of the World Trade Center towers. Down south, many decades ago, at a site they call Ocmulgee, Americans sliced a 1,000-year-old Mississippian burial mound in half for a railroad line. They didn’t think anything of it, just wiped out half the mound and laid the tracks. Simple, right? Sure, for people who believe themselves to be far superior to any other piece of humanity that ever has been or ever will be.
I call that a travesty. A rude, insensitive and outlandish thing to do. And don’t even start with, “well, it was the times … ” Can you imagine if Egypt took down half the Great Pyramid because they couldn’t be bothered to reroute a rail line to avoid it?
But in New York, the very idea of an Islamic cultural center — which will contain a room for Muslims to pray, which is what a mosque is –two blocks away from “ground zero” has ignited some unbelievably ugly and vile garbage.
Now, here, you might get away with “well, the times,” because these times are just plain ugly. Just a day before President Obama threw his support behind the center, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, one of the most repulsive human beings ever to walk the planet, let loose with an N-word tirade that she later apologized for, not because she meant it but because she had to. She did not apologize for the bullshit “political correctness” crap she was trying to make a point about, and neither did Rep. Pete King, Wingnut-New York, when he called Obama’s speech politically correct.
I don’t know about politically correct, but Obama, the constitutional scholar, was certainly constitutionally correct, and he said so. This is about freedom of religion, he said.
Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.
King missed the point, of course. Obama, he said, “caved to political correctness,” which is true if, by “political correctness,” you mean “the law.”
King, known for throwing out tons of bullshit he says he got from inside sources that later turns out to completely wrong (but which no one remembers was wrong), seems to think the Constitution is politically correct. Well, yeah, in a way. I suppose you could say it’s the most politically correct document we have. Which makes it kinda strange that he — and thousands of others — who contend that Democrats in general and Obama in particular are “shredding” the Constitution (unlike George W. Bush, of course) would completely ignore it.
Obama, as is his want, tossed a bone to the conservofreaks, saying he was only speaking of the “right” that Muslims have to worship where they please, within the law, and not the “wisdom” of their choices. But then again, it’s not his place to be addressing that issue. And besides, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, did that quite well.
As much as I respect the sensitivities of people, there is a fundamental mistake behind it, and that is how can you — and I can quote any number of some of the people who have commented on it, and what they are saying essentially is how can you put a mosque there when, after all, Muslims attacked us on 9/11, and this is ripping open a wound?
Well, the fallacy is that al Qaeda attacked us. Islam did not attack us. Islam, like Christianity, like Judaism, like other religions, has many different people, some of whom regard other adherents of the religion as heretics of one sort or another.
It is only insensitive if you regard Islam as the culprit, as opposed to as the culprit. We were not attacked by all Muslims. And there were Muslims who were killed there, there were Muslims who were killed there. There were Muslims who ran in as first responders to help. And we cannot take any position like that.
Never mind that there’s a mosque inside the Pentagon (which you may remember and another just a few blocks from the old Burlington Coat Factory.
And never mind, too, the other part of what Nadler had to say.
But we do not put the Bill of Rights, we do not put the religious freedom to a vote. The reason we have a Bill of Rights is that you have your religious rights, your right to freedom of speech for the press et cetera, whether majorities like you or not, frankly.
Of course, none of that means anything to the crackpots on the right. Erick Erickson, the RedState blogger that CNN inexplicably gives precious airtime to, wasn’t nearly so mealy-mouthed. He flat out compared the center in the old Burlington Coat Factory to human sacrifice.
Human sacrifice. Right, Erick. My, but you have such a thin skin if you see that as equivalent to killing someone to appease a god. But then, Christians have done that for centuries, without ever calling it what it actually is.
And it’s not just in New York of course. That’s what they’d like you to believe, that they just don’t like an Islamic cultural center with a mosque so near ground zero (never mind that there has been one there for years). Oh, no. It’s happening in California, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Texas, Connecticut and who knows how many other places.
Bryan Fischer, a spokesman for the American Family Association — which sets up elderly Americans to count the number of “curse” words used on television — called for no more mosques in America.
Permits should not be granted to build even one more mosque in the United States of America, let alone the monstrosity planned for Ground Zero.
“There is no such thing as freedom of religion in Islam,” he said, prompting many of us to wonder if, by “freedom of religion,” he actually means “freedom of Christianity.” And his solution is for Muslims to renounce Islam.
Alas, America has a history of this kind of ugliness. After all, we invaded this continent and took it away from the people who lived here, then called them “savages” when they took offense. President Andrew Jackson, that son of a bitch, had a solution for that too. Drive them all to the wastelands of Oklahoma, which worked fine until oil was discovered there, kinda like how driving others into the Dakota Badlands worked fine until they found gold there.
I won’t go into what happened on Nunna daul IsunyiI – “The Trail Where They Cried,” now known as the “Trail Of Tears.” Or what happened on the “reservations” where native Americans were forced to live. But it was ugly. The same kind of ugly we’re seeing now in the immigration issue and in this ground zero mosque issue.
In a nation where “all men are created equal,” it’s damnably clear that only some are, the ones Sarah Palin calls the “real Americans.”
The ones who are not — native Americans, African Americans, Muslim Americans, gay and lesbian Americans — well, we might as well take “American” off the name. It’s clear the Constitution is only for straight, white Christian Americans. The ugly ones. That’s exactly what they mean when they rally, holding signs that glaringly show they have no idea how government works and shouting “We want our country back.”
So do I. It was a much nicer place before you got here.
I’m sorry. That was such a mean thing to say. But watching and listening to this “debate” — if, by “debate,” you mean “ugly people spouting ugly words about people they know nothing about and care even less about” — I’m perpetually on the edge of anger and heartbreak.
Be that as it may, when it comes down to comprehending the somewhat addled minds of the “real Americans,” this is one I don’t get. No matter how hard I try, I cannot understand how it is that so many Americans subscribe to the “freedom for me but not for thee” mantra, nor how disgustingly vile they get expressing that view. It’s anathema to the Constitution they claim to defend.
It’s as if they never learned Rule 1, way back before kindergarten.
Share. And we all know what happens to the kids who missed that lesson. Yeah. They grow up to be bullies, assholes who think they’re better than everybody else and that they have a right to dictate to everybody else how they can be.
Even worse, they stoop to the same intolerance and hatred they claim these others have. Osama bin Laden must be cackling away wherever it is that he’s hiding since George W. Bush forgot all about his vow to “smoke him out.”
I’ve got some big news for these ugly Americans. The world ain’t your oyster. You’re just a common human being, like everybody else, and I do mean everybody. It’s way past time for you overgrown bullies to buck up and grow up.
Hell, if you’d get that damn chip off your shoulders and lighten up, you might find common ground with your fellow common man. You might even *gasp* like it.
Or, just stay the way you are. But remember, like my friend’s mama used to say:
God don’t like ugly.