Monday, August 23, 2010
It would be an act of charity
It would be an act of charity to articulate a fourth option on the Mosquemania that is sweeping the country. Here are the three I see.
1. Certain sincere individuals are woefully ignorant. They are ignorant concerning Islam, al Quran, and Sufism; concerning the United States Constitution; concerning geography; concerning history; concerning the proper respective roles of the federal, state, and local governments; and concerning reality in general. They are to be pitied.
2. Other individuals are unreconstructed bigots who cannot see beyond their fears and hatred. They may also fall into the first category or they may, conceivably, even know better, but their desire to defend their imagined status leads them to harbor, and currently spew, the most toxic fear and venom. The first step in casting out a demon is naming it, so let's all admit they're bigots and stop listening to their poison.
3. A third category are the demagogues who manipulate ignorance, fear, and hatred to achieve their political ends. This would include Pam Geller who started this whole thing, Newt Gingrich and the others who rile the masses over NOTHING in order to distract from real issues, tear down the current administration, mobilize voters, and raise money. They are detestable and are nothing but manipulative hypocrites. They should be denounced at every opportunity.
So, if you have some more categories for people allegedly or actually freaking over a Muslim community center that is not even in sight of Ground Zero, please share them.
I suppose there is an adjunct category of Democrats who wet their pants every time the right wing suggests they might be communists, fascists, socialists, Muslims, weak on defense, anti-American, or any other category that makes the Baby Jesus cry. We need some leaders on all sides to stand up and say, "This is bullshit. Now get back to work." I am pleased that several Republicans have called BS on this. Kudos to them.
Faux News, of course, falls in category 3. The mainstream media need to calm the temperature on this by not falling for the machinations of the manipulators. And they need to call out bigotry. There is nothing more un-American than saying no mosques should be built in this nation. It is nothing but ignorance, bigotry, or demagoguery.
While the nations roils in this crap the corporations continue to work behind the scenes to hang on to their power and extend it when possible. Whether we start combat operations or "end" combat operations, KBR makes out like a bandit. There is nothing in so-called health care reform to keep insurance premiums from rising. Google and Verizon are working very hard to undermine net neutrality and wrest power from the people and put it into the hands of the corporations. Corporations may now spend unlimited money to influence elections thanks to the Roberts Court. The employment situation sucks and is getting suckier while corporations still make profits (this is what we call a "jobless recovery"). Companies are hanging on to their capital (for what? executive bonuses?) instead of investing it in hiring. People who are willing to listen to science instead of reject it are well aware we are heading into a global crisis with climate change, which means more extreme weather and its sequelae: floods, heat waves, drought, rising ocean levels, crop failures, increased competition for scarce resources, and the movement of populations and wars that always attend these. Yet we lag horribly in shifting our economy and investment strategies toward renewable energy and more responsible ways of living together and commuting. One fifth of Pakistan is under water. There are immense crop losses and loss of life in Russian from the heat wave and fires. Haiti has still not recovered from the earthquake.
And we get riled up over a community center in a neighborhood that is already full of various houses of worship and establishments of sleaze. There is nothing sacred about the street on which the center was to be built.
I predict the United States will fall through stupidity. I don't know when but no empire has lasted forever. I do not wish this, but it is increasingly difficult to believe otherwise.