So, Muslim is the New Gay?
I’ve been watching the events of the last few months with growing disbelief- how is it in the U.S., a democratic nation which espouses diversity, freedom of speech, religion and tolerance, that so many have become a bunch of hate-filled, fear-mongering, narrow minded robots?
How is it that so many people think that the terrorist attacks on 9/11 were undertaken not by a group of religious extremists, but by the whole of Islam, with every single Muslim in the world somehow complicit in the attack? Of course, over 40% of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11, thanks our politicians and the oh-so-liberal media, so I guess having a moderately informed electorate is just too much to ask. Such stupidity boggles the mind. And I’m not even going to get into the Mosque That Is Not Actually At Ground Zero debate, suffice it to say that I agree with Mayor Bloomberg and Fareed Zakaria and I find the hypocrisy of some of those that oppose it, shameless.
The Tea Party, which is clearly taking over the GOP, could almost make me think the Democrats, including Meritocrat Barack Obama, look good. Which is I guess what the DNC is hoping. The Tea Party has become a caricature of the radical right, made up largely of uninformed blowhards. They think mandating private insurance companies to make buckets of money off health reform is socialism or communism? Go back and take a civics class. They are concerned about the rising deficit? Where were they during the Bush years, when Bush was spending like a drunken sailor? What were they doing when the GOP was destroying the balanced budget so generously handed to them by Bill Clinton? And have you heard any of them question the trillions in defense spending? Who is paying for that? Or the Bush tax cuts? Oh, those don’t need to be paid for. And as we’ve seen with the BP oil spill, federal intervention is evil unless you happen to be the one needing the federal intervention. We can expect to see this same sort of moral equivalency from the ‘Just Say No’ crowd if there is a hurricane that damages the southern U.S. this season. They’ll be the first ones crying for federal assistance.
And taxes? Some would have us believe that the evil, Kenyan-born, closet Muslim Barack Obama has raised our taxes! Guess what, they are the lowest they’ve been in 60 years. Oh, and your guns and the delusion that the Democrats are going to take them away, leaving you defenseless when the Muslims take over and enact Sharia law, well, Obama has actually expanded the rights of gun owners under federal law. And now we have talk of little Muslim Terror Babies who will grow up and blow up buildings! Really. Be afraid, be really afraid. The politics (and psychology) of fear is as old as politics itself, and it’s been quite effective in helping despots and those who would abuse their power for the benefit of a few, maintain control over a stressed out and compliant populace.
The latest fear-mongering can be found in any establishment media or government speech or interview about the so-called “existential” threat posed by Iran. Been there, done that- it was called Iraq. In fact, some would have us believe that war with Iran is all but inevitable. It’s not that there aren’t countries out there, including Iran, who may pose a threat to long-term strategic U.S. and Israeli interests, but it’s a pretty good bet that just like with Iraq, there is much more to the story than our leaders and the special interest groups (read: Neocons) are letting on. And don’t expect any real discussion of the fact that for the past, oh, 12 years the U.S. and Israel have been saying that in just two short years, Iran will have the bomb. The two years come and go and still no bomb. No proof of an active program and no proof that the IAEA can’t be as successful in preventing a nuclear program as they were with Iraq. And of course, the Obama administration, under pressure from the
Israel Lobby hawks, is now saying the exact same thing. That the case for a military strike against Iran is even weaker than the case for war with Iraq, doesn’t seem to matter much to the people wringing their hands and clutching their pearls why saying “but we have to do something…”. No, actually, right now we don’t have to do “something” especially if our “something” ends up making the U.S. and Israel much less safe in the long-run. For a good discussion of the real politics of war with Iran, read this recent article from Trita Parsi.
Somewhere, Osama Bin Laden is laughing his ass off because when we start to display the same sort of intolerance and cynical abuse of religion and promotion of irrational fear that are his trademark, the terrorists truly do win. When we start questioning the ability of our democracy to handle the threat of terrorism and succumb to the temptation of adopting anti-democratic policies to deal with a threat we at times, understandably, feel helpless to overcome, the terrorists win. The anti-Muslim sentiment that is spreading like a virus only helps actual terrorists recruit more members, claiming that the U.S. is anti-Islam, has imperialistic designs in the Middle East and seeks to impose it’s western way of life on everyone. You think this would be obvious to the “anything is justified in the name of national security” crowd, including those in the Obama administration who continue Bush’s dangerous anti-terrorism policies. Apparently not.