Friday, September 10, 2010

"Us versus Them" - Why the Qur'an Burning is So Wrong.

When a right wing whackjob led by sensationalistic sources like Fox News or Rush Limbaugh or the like get drawn into the whole "Muslims are evil! Obama is a muslim!" propaganda it barely draws my attention.

It seems like every single day the media is giving that Michelle Bachmann/Sarah Palin batshit crazy 30% that supported Bush and Cheney no matter what they did more and more airtime. They absolutely love following these people because they're unstable and angry and fear makes for some compelling television. Which is fine if you're programming a horror movie or suspense thriller show for your TV audience but when you pretend to be journalists, well you owe the audience some facts and serious balance.

Instead we get bombarded with daily severe imbalance. Imbalance in coverage and chemical imbalance from their lunatic guests. Since Obama's election they have made sure to claim illegitimacy at every turn with that foolish birth certificate nonsense and portraying him as a Muslim who attended a Madrassa. It's rather insane but realize they tried to illegitimize Bill Clinton at every turn as well. This is the typical GOP playbook. Smear, demean, inspire fear into your base and be stubborn 2 year old children with temper tantrums and say NO to anything the Democrats offer up.

The worst part is that the crazy 30% is winning in some polls (likely push polls but whatever) and poised for a Washington re-take. Why? Don't people remember that these are the people that messed it all up to begin with? It was their tax cuts and deregulation that ran us into the ground and we want more of this?

Well Obama and a complicit Democratic Congress seemed to suffer from a sort of Stockholm Syndrome from being rolled over by Bush for 8 years... maybe it even dates back to Reagan's rule. They have no spine, don't fight for the poor or middle class even remotely as hard as they fight for their corporate buddies and well they've alienated their base to the point that they are likely responding to these polls in ways that doesn't count them as potential Democratic voters. Likely to stay home, the very base that got Obama elected and that Rahm Emanuel and Robert Gibbs have taken glee in demeaning are now being told to shut up and get out and vote or else! Or else more of the Bush years!

Yeah that should get them out and working. Thanks for all the back stabbing but if we want all the policies Republicans want (yeah they're voting No because it wins them political points as the opposition party but behind the scenes they absolutely love all the money going to their rich friends), we'll vote for them directly.

Anyway the point I am making is this... Liberal/Progressive voter apathy will have more of a direct correlation to November's Mid-term results than any pretend surge in Republican support or pretend impact of a fringe right wing nutjob group like the Tea Party.

So with that in mind we must remember that Republicans (and their phony separatist group) know one trick to turn out voters: FEAR!!!!

In 2004 they used gays as their target. As it turns out Gays just aren't the bogeymen they used to be. Muslims however, well it was Muslims involved in 9/11, the Republicans' favorite holiday, so why not bring them up and scare people some more about them? After all, there's one in the White House right?

They target a "Mosque" being constructed "2 Blocks" from Ground Zero. Except it's not a Mosque, it's basically the Muslim version of a YMCA. It's not 2 blocks away either. It's actually a bit further than that. There's already a Mosque closer than that which has existed since 1970 since before the World Trade Center ever existed. But hey, who needs facts. Besides Keith Olbermann covered this in a much better way than I ever could.

So in all of this fake outrage, the right wing lie pushers... Fox News, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc, kept the narrative about this Mosque out there until it drove people to a fever pitch. Winning an election has always meant more than the effect on human lives to the right wingers.

Things start to happen. Muslim cab drivers get stabbed. Mosques get desecrated with urine. And of course other mosques face opposition outside of the magical hallowed ground of Ground Zero and are met with Arson. Oh and let's not forget how those protests on Ground Zero against that "Mosque" went.

When you start the ball rolling down that steep of a hill, it's often difficult to stop it. Of course, they don't care about the repercussions of their actions as long as they find a way to win in November.

So now that the whackos are out in full force, the reverends of tiny fringe churches come out and have a National Burn the Qur'an Day to try to create more xenophobia against Muslims and worse to enrage an entire population of over 1 Billion people who follow the Qur'an with the same devotion as Christians do with their Bibles. How do you think a Bible burning that had national media coverage on it would go on our shores?

Christians tend to believe they're the most persecuted people in the world anyway, I assume that would just reinforce their rather ludicrous world view.

Now the Qur'an burning appears to be off, temporarily at least because Terry Jones the really crazy and inconsiderate Pastor of this Church tried to come up with some fake story about if he stopped the burning the NYC "Mosque" would be moved.

And hey, even if he doesn't, the world's craziest reverend, Fred Phelps of the "God HATES Fags" Westboro Baptist Church has said he will step in to make sure it goes down anyway. Aww, don't you love when crazies get together and make friends?

Of course the real story here is that, oh yeah, the same people that stoked this paranoia and fear, also chose to send our troops over there to work with Muslims... in THEIR countries... in a war. They are skeptical enough over our mission but they truly have a right to be.

American politicians are making reckless statements about Islam to make this worse and they see this all over our media as a mainstream story. It appears as if America is taking a side against them. The side of Christianity versus Islam.

Well after all, John McCain ran for President in the last cycle purposely excluding all other religions by spouting that 'America is a Christian nation' nonsense.

But we have troops over there in harms way. You'd think they'd be smarter about this. We don't want to appear to be fighting a new crusade with Muslims in their own nations do we? We remember how that last one went. There is no end to such a fight.

Or do we?

There's been a never ending trickle of stories, mostly buried in the papers over the past few years that makes it seem as if the Pentagon does indeed want to make sure we're sending a Christian Army out there to Muslim lands.

For instance, check these stories out:

-US Military Weapons inscribed with Christian Scriptures

-Soldiers punished for not attending Christian Concert

-Iraq: Marines try to convert Muslims

Not to mention the many things Mikey Weinstein has been fighting against in terms of Christianity's grip on the Military.

So what are they seeing over there? They see us pulling this stuff at every turn and of course they are more and more unwilling to work with our troops and unwilling to find peace with us. They don't see us as honest brokers.

They see things like Mass Baptisms in the Military as proof and validation of their fears.

Ultimately what all of this should be is a major eye opener. To anyone with any sort of honesty, we have to start to address this head on. Are we in fact a tolerant melting pot or is intolerance, much like that showed towards Gays and Mexican Immigrants in recent years or Blacks and Women before that or even intolerance towards different European immigrants... is that the real fabric of our nation?

Are we made up of so much fear and angst that our only reaction to anything is the most irrational response possible? Is it worth more soldiers dying so that we can scream incoherently against people that don't share your religious beliefs? Should we then go after Jews and Buddhists next?

If we are a country of a single religion what do we do about the large population of people who disagree with your beliefs?

And when it comes to that... are even other Christian sects safe from your paranoia?

What Would Jesus Do?