Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Between Darkness And Light

The best I can say about those that oppose the so-called mosque at so-called ground zero is that they've been played like Glen Hansard's guitar. "I'm not prejudiced," they claim. Right here, even, in comments. Okay. Like Mitch McConnell, who takes President Obama "at his word" that he's not a Muslim, I'll do likewise toward their claim. Although it's hard to say which ought to be more shameful: bearing prejudice and hatred towards those of differing religions, or the dullish credulity that allows them to be manipulated so easily by people with cynical agendæ. Either way. Take your pick. You're bringing us down.

But the real issue here, as I've tried to say many ways, is the shallowness and self-centered hatred that underlies the movement (and not just the anti-mosquers. Teabaggers, too, and their golden calves.) Manipulated or just dumb, these are not nice people, these mosquovites, these mosquitoes. These are NOT people who believe in one of the most foundational principles of the country they claim to love. Love. Right.

And it's not trivial, as some would suggest. It's fundamental.

Opponents of the Park51 Islamic community center held a rally yesterday in Lower Manhattan, and a 4-minute video, posted below, reveals the true sentiments behind this campaign. It has little to do with The Hallowed Ground of the World Trade Center -- that's just the pretext -- and everything to do with animosity toward Muslims. I dislike the tactic of singling out one or two objectionable people or signs at a march or rally in order to disparage the event itself. That's not what this video is. Rather, it shows the collective sentiment of those gathered, as well as what's driving the broader national backlash against mosques and Muslims far beyond Ground Zero.
Anyone not in a coma has already seen it, but below is what the writer is referring to.

What an ugly people we are becoming. Americans, constitutional scholars.

Time was -- so I'm told -- when hard times brought people together. We are so far asunder now we'll never make it back. And, far be it from me to pick a side here, but the ugliness is pretty much entirely on the right of late. The upcoming elections are, quite literally in my view, about choosing dark versus light. About selfish hatred and fear, about ignoring the needs of a country in favor only of oneself, succumbing to lies and deliberate deceptions so that the powerful will keep more of their money; or about looking above and beyond and being willing to reach out to people in need, to buttress ourselves by claiming higher ground ("we won't build a mosque here until they can build a synagogue in Saudi Arabia" -- what high standards they have!), to take the harder path required of us to save ourselves. Not to mention the earth.

Hyperbole? Maybe. But I'm serious. I don't think it's ever been more clear what the two major parties stand for, and how they intend to get there. One: facing facts, trying to do the hard stuff, aiming to provide for the needs of the people and the planet on which they live (and, no, they haven't been perfect, or free of pandering or lilliness of liver); the other: desperate to protect narrow interests (meaning, of course, their ability to keep riding the escalator to ever greater gaps between their wealth and everyone else's) and willing to lie and deceive to get there. Theirs. To use whatever hateful means necessary, appealing (successfully) to the basest in us, to create an electorate foolish enough to do their bidding while thinking they're doing something else entirely. It could not be more clear.

It's one thing to disagree or to be disappointed in Obama's programs. In many ways, that describes me. But he's trying to deal with enormous problems, born of the very failures to which the right wing wants us to return. Why? Because they've made out like bandits every time Republicans were in charge. It's not in their interest to help; the things that the country needs might make them go from unimaginably rich to merely filthy rich. It's not by accident that the teabaggers are created and funded by billionaires, and run by a Republican hack pretending to be a grass roots guy. Unbelievable that they've pulled the pashmina over so many eyes; but hardly accidental.

I lost more money in the market crash than I'll ever pay in taxes. I don't love taxes, I don't like regulations that encumber me. I like to drive fast. But I'd rather see some regulations, and even pay more in taxes, if it would stabilize our economy and make another crash -- and personal loss -- less likely. I don't blame immigrants for our problems. I think our economy will be better off if Americans aren't going bankrupt over health care; the worse off "they" are, the more at risk I am. So I'm willing to pay taxes for that. And roads. On which I wish I could drive faster.

I think Muslims like Osama and the Taliban are lower than scum, but I don't hate all Muslims. I don't hate all Christians, either, for that matter. But I don't think much of the ones who were at that rally, shouting about Sharia while wanting their own form of theocracy.

The division in this country is between people who think like me and who think like those at the rally. And whereas I realize not everyone who disagrees with me is like those people, they are remaining deathly silent, because they're convinced those who think like me, ie willing to sacrifice to a higher good, are more dangerous than those haters. Or, to put it another way, they don't want to face the fact that they've been fed a load since Ronald Reagan told them what they want to hear: government is the problem; people in need are lazy and undeserving, you can think only of yourselves, and have it all. For yourself. For free.

Things are bad; but not, evidently, bad enough for people to abandon discredited rationales for selfishness. I don't doubt that we'll be moving to the dark come November. The time is coming when the realization will be unavoidable; but by then, it'll be too late.


  1. When I navigated to this hilarious Yes We Scam! B.S. We Can Believe In! Obama Approval Plummets editorial I thought that Cutting Through The Crap's viewers really have to be able to discuss this:

  2. Fair point, CM. I'm not happy with the economy, either, but, unlike teabaggers, I agree with at least two Nobel-winning economists who said from the beginning that the stimulus was too small, and too weighted with tax cuts, both of which Obama agreed to to get R votes.

    So the unhappiness that people feel is real: the economy has a long way to go. On the other hand, the CBO just today (or yesterday) calculated that millions of jobs were saved by the stimulus. Only the RWS™ say the stimulus has been of no benefit.

    The disapproval is not without merit; but it's also based on hyped-up and highly effective disinformation by the RWS™. The poll, then, proves my point: people are sheep, and the worse things are, the more they resort to scapegoatism and unfocused hate, not to mention belief in magic solutions: it's easier than the hard work we need to be doing, and which congressional Rs have been sabotaging at every turn.

    QED, in other words.

  3. Sid, Your one to talk about the Stimulus bein too small..
    Didn't you just finally upgrade to a HDTV??? and wow, you splurged and went for an Ostentacious 46 inch model, jeez, I bet even Snoop Dog doesn't have one that big(Oozing Sarcasm)...
    Shee-yit, in Jaw-Jaw homeless guys have bigger TVs than you...
    and what about that NoX spewing Overpriced Toyota you drive??? Its the 21st Century Man!!!!! get yourself a Volt, not like your gonna be driving more than 40 miles/day anyway...
    and just what Tax "Cuts" are you talking about??? Be specific and show your work.
    and Mitch McConnel's an Idiot, I take NOONE at there Word, NOONE, I wouldn't believe my Mom had a Vagina if I hadn't popped out of it...

    Frank "Burn Arabs/Not Oil" Drackman

  4. Franky (wannabe a real man) Dreadfulman,

    While you are certainly entitled to your opinions, your class clown buffoonery and childish antics, seem to have progressed into blatant and hateful bigotry. Combine this with your "abortionist for population control" confession on another forum, and it adds up to a shameful and pitiful disregard not just for others, but mostly for yourself. Sometimes ones opinions are best kept to ones self... a real man would know that.

  5. Cory,
    C-C-C-C-C-C-C-an't W-W-W-W-W-We just G-G-G-Get along??????????
    and please not stalking me, I'm not into Guys, sorry, I was born that way.
    And I never said I was an Abortionist, I simply ASSISTED at an Abortion clinic, and occasionally referred disadvantaged victims of discrimination to the same clinic, but only after I had stopped working there, cause some Right Wing Nut shot the Abortionist, I mean, cause I got a better job.

    Frank "thank God for Roe v Wade" Drackman

  6. Franky,

    For the record, perhaps we do agree on Roe vs. Wade, I've always been pro-choice, probably always will be. It's your context that bothers me, and just to refresh your memory and hypocrisy, here's exactly what you did say (you would probably make a great politician!):

    Frank Drackman said...
    I got a confession to make...
    I'm an abortionist.
    Only work in Haiti 2 weeks a year, just to do my part for population cotrol... sure there's some rabid Pro-Lifers in Port Au Prince but those VooDoo Doll needles aren't really effective...

    Oh yeah, nice reference to your Mom's anatomy, I'm sure she appreciates the diss- good one Franky, your such a peach.


Comments back, moderated. Preference given for those who stay on topic.

Popular posts