Time to vent a little, this time about the rise in very public, very unrestrained emotions that are infringing upon– and therefore reducing the opportunity to have– reasoned, rational discourse. The most recent example of this is the so-called “mosque at Ground Zero”, which in fact is a multi-functional Islamic Community Center with prayer room.
Please indulge the stream of consciousness nature of this post. There is so much to deal with, so much fervor, so much churning around inside me, it’s just kind of streaming out. Here goes.
Note to America: We are a nation of laws, not a nation of emotions. But, according to the punditiots on the Tee Vee Machine and talk radio, feelings of outrage and pain trump the Constitution. Unfortunately, this not only destructive to the tenor of what passes for debate these days, it is also chipping away at the very foundation, democracy, and well-being of this country.
Some Americans are hurt, angry, scared about those who are “different” than they are, whether it’s Mexican immigrants, an African American president, anyone who doesn’t look like them, sound like them, dress like them, have names like them, or worship the way they do. Many voices we hear are those of politicians scrounging for votes, and by scrounging I mean digging through the rubble in political gutters.
Others are misinformed voters or those who respond viscerally via hand-me-down fear. Still others have been traumatized and have legitimate– as opposed to manufactured or politicized– concerns based on their emotional proximity to tragic events.
However, in the case of the Cordoba Commnity Center some can’t seem to, or want to, process the simple fact that a few extremists do not represent an entire religion. Using their logic, they’d favor blocking the building of a church because they loathe Tim McVeigh… or, as my pal David Lane snarked, “I forgot that on 9/11 an entire religion attacked our country.”
Luckovich expressed something similar in a political cartoon here that sums it up in one panel:
“No YMCAs near Ground Zero!”… “On 9/11, America was attacked by men!”
What has happened to objectivity, to rationale? Of course it is difficult to step back from any harrowing experience and be neutral or detached from all feelings. Feelings have validity, actions beget reactions. But no matter how acute the agony, no matter how terrorized we might be, it is mandatory that we adhere to our principles and laws, the very principles and laws this country was founded upon, instead of bungee jumping off a reactionary cliff.
How black is too black?
How Muslim is too Muslim?
How brown is too brown?
Why are Canadian or Irish or German or Swedish immigrants not being targeted in the same the way Mexicans are?
President Obama has gone out of his way to smooth things over with the Islamic world. No, that’s not “surrendering”, it’s differentiating between those who are peaceful and those who twist a religion to justify murdering Americans.
And there’s this:
“The president’s made a historic speech in favor of religious freedom. He and Mayor Bloomberg have set the standard for other political leaders to preserve America’s open society,” said council President Salam Al-Marayati. “The president landed a major blow against Al Qaeda’s false narrative that America is at war with Islam.”
Let’s remember that Constitutional thing called freedom of religion. Apparently, a bunch of loud mouthed conservative zealots don’t. Feeling unimaginable pain and suffering over those who died in the 9/11 attack is more than understandable, but ignoring who the killers were, lumping all Muslims in with a minority who are murderous extremists, is unacceptable.
When any mass murderer, or even serial killer, does the unspeakable, we as a nation should never, ever automatically assume everyone who shares their religious beliefs, or who looks like them, also shares their mental illness or zealotry.
When even Fox makes the occasional concession, it’s time for the most ardent conservatives to take a breath and reassess their positions (h/t: Cody_K):
Fox & Friends weekend hosts all agreed that Obama is performing the job that’s required of him. “Obama has to stand up for religious freedom,” said co-host Alisyn Camerota. “He has to stand up for our Constitution,” co-host Dave Briggs offered, to which co-host Clayton Morris added, “That’s the job he gets…defend the Constitution.”
I’m sure I’ve left out a lot or could have said some of this more artfully, but it just kind of came out. I’m just one more person with an opinion or two on the subject. Please feel free to correct or add in Comments.
"[DNC Chair Tom Perez] has gotten instructions from Bill Clinton not to let the party go to the Bernie Sanders folks." - Jonathan Allen, co-author of Shattered, revealing new material in the upcoming paperback release pic.twitter.com/dLEnwl7kIc— HootHootBerns 🌹🐦 (@HootHootBerns) May 3, 2018