August 24, 2010

Anti-Muslim rhetoric exactly what Al Qaeda wants

There are times when I really fear that so many conservatives have failed to even think through the basic logic of their world. Why would you undermine your own legal system in response to terrorism, when you know that the terrorists' goal is to disrupt our, oh right, system of government.

As I wrote the other day, I think the conservative response on this "mosque" has proven that I can no longer expect conservatives to bottom out. There appears to be no low they won't willingly embrace if they think it will win an election or even win a media cycle. Even if that means flogging racism and encouraging it to flourish.

And it isn't just those who might be, as Sherman Alexie jokes, "ambiguously ethnic" who might appear as a Muslim to a crowd predisposed to believe that there are no moderate Muslims and we should fear them all. Those people are in immediate danger. As these hostilities spread and Fox and Palin and others fan the flames, something bad is going to happen at one of those. Hell, I read the other day that a church in Florida is planning to burn Korans. Why? Because they are assholes, I think, but mainstream conservatism has said that we can, in fact, tar all Muslims with the extremists.

But as I started to say, it isn't just those who might look foreign or Muslim who need to fear this, but our entire national security apparatus. As this piece suggests, true radicals are gleefully telling possible recruits "we told you so, Americans hate Muslims" and are trying to recruit Americans who are displaced by this. Or moderates who want very much to believe that we are not anti-Muslim.

So to those who wrap themselves in the flag and brag of their patriotism while they do this, I say you are an idiot and a fool. You undermine our very safety and the safety of your fellow man.

And finally, since so many of the people who have told me that the "mosque" should move, and who seem to think that Palin is some kind of "moral values" maven, I remind them that someone somewhere noted that it was super easy to love your friends and hate your enemies.

Gee, I wonder who that was?


Monk-in-Training said...

The modern Conservative and/or Tea Bag movement is nativist and racist, and not historically Christian in any way shape or form.

Jesus would be with that man in the crowd that was confused with a Muslim.

This is how this poison threatens everyone. A coupla years ago a friend and a coworker were walking down a sidewalk in KC and a pickup skidded up and two guys threw beer bottles at them screaming 'faggot' and off they flew.

I am sure they felt like good Christian Americans when they got home.

LB said...

I love how in the critique of the Tea Party for being racists, nativists, and homophobes, you stoop to subtle jabs through sexual innuendo. Way to take the high road.

Streak said...

LB, I missed that. Can you explain?

And I would really love to hear your take on this whole "mosque."

Sally said...

I'm with Streak. I'm just terrified at the thought of upsetting people who years ago have vowed to destory me. That's why I support the mosque they want; I'm hoping that if I say I support whatever they want, they'll let me live.

Streak said...

Welcome Sally, and congrats on the stupidest comment on the blog so far. Perhaps you are not an idiot, but this comment is about as dumb as I have read of late--unless you believe that every muslim actually wants to kill us.

And if you do, then I suggest you prepare for a war against a billion and a half people.

But I will just go with idiot.

Sally said...


I thought my position was the same as yours. I don't want to upset the Muslims who want to kill Americans, and I thought that you felt the same way. Was I wrong?

LB said...

The "Tea Bag" remark is what I was referring to.

Perhaps Monk didn't mean it to be a sexual innuendo in this case, but I've seen enough commentators label Tea Partiers "Tea Baggers" with no attempt to veil their meaning (Keith Olberman is one that comes to mind), that it seems to be a favorite liberal way of denigrating the Tea Party. Monk, if you didn't mean to make that connection, I'm sorry. But I've seen the connection made enough, that the terms "Tea Bag party" and "Tea Baggers" really ought to be avoided by folks who want to have an intelligent conversation.

My take on the mosque:

Legally, there is no reason why the mosque shouldn't be allowed to be built. However, many misuse the First Amendment in this case as rationale for why it should be built. Just because the first amendment grants freedom of worship doesn't mean that worship necessarily has to be allowed to take place anywhere. The legal justification for building the mosque is that there are no zoning laws against it according to New York City. If the local government has valid grounds for saying that religious institutions of any kind can't be built in area X (say building a mega church next to a fire station, where excess traffic on a Sunday morning might represent a threat to public safety because fire trucks can't get out), then I think that's permissible under the constitution.

I would prefer to see the group not build the mosque next to ground zero. I'm not sure ground zero is sacred space, after all, we're building a new office building on top of it. However, if the group's intent is to promote improved relations between Muslims and other Americans, then the opposite has been the result. There is something to be said for not giving in to fear, but in this case I think there is something to be said for understanding the point of 70% of all Americans that perhaps its not appropriate to put a mosque next to ground zero. The continued efforts to build, in spite of intense opposition shows not so much a desire to promote reconciliation, but possibly reveals more antagonistic intent. Efforts to find a different location for the mosque would show that the group desires not to antagonize, but to promote a positive view of Islam.

I say that only because you have asked for my opinion on the subject. For the most part I'm apathetic and would prefer people get this bent out of shape over more important issues like excessive government spending.

As for this being conservatives promoting fear and being a bunch of racists toward Muslims... well I've decided I'm not going to comment on racism on here any more. You have your views and I think their wrong. I have my views and you think I'm wrong. I think we can basically shout at each other on that issue or we can discuss other issues more civilly.

I will make the point though that this is anything but conservative opposition. 70% of this country is not conservative, yet 70% of all Americans oppose the mosque. Moreover, numerous Democratic leaders (Harry Reid, Howard Dean), have suggested that the mosque ought to be moved.

Streak said...

Sally, you are not an honest or genuine person. Go away.

LB, thanks for the response. I completely glossed over the Tea Bag part. I will certainly let Monk respond, but will note that early Tea Party people used the term themselves--ignorant, I am sure, of the sexual overtones. They talked of "tea bagging" the White House and stuff. Yeah, liberals took a certain glee in that. It was hard to not find a little funny. Personally, I have tried to avoid the phrase, but I see your point.

I also see your point about the mosque. I am more open to the idea that the Imam involved here has not handled this proposal very well and did so with a bit of a tin ear. But it is hard for me to completely follow that given the pure manufactured nature of the outrage. When it was first proposed, even people on Fox thougth it was a good idea, but now they are making insinuations that terrorists are backing it? That isn't legitimate.

As for conservatives, you are putting words in my mouth, I believe, though I am sure in some of my angrier posts, I have been less precise than I would like. I certainly don't think that all conservatives are racist, and have tried to make that clear over the years on this blog. Nor have I suggested that Democrats are somehow pure on race. If that has been your take, then I apologize. I know full well how many Democrats have race issues. Hell, I think I have been upfront that I myself have problems with racism. I fight it and don't like it (much like many conservatives I know) but I don't deny that I am a racist.

And I have even noted that Harry Reid and Howard Dean have opposed the center. So I am not hiding on that. But what I have criticized, and perhaps with too much anger, is what seems like conservatives mainstreaming this kind of racism. It is there on both sides, but until now, the leadership of both parties seemed to be more opposed and tried to keep it under control. Bush, as I have said many times, did a good job of trying to keep Americans from seeing this as a conflict with all of Islam and focusing our efforts on the radicals. I disagree with his conclusions on the latter, but appreciate the effort on the former. And I am not sure how Newt and Sarah and Fox News are not doing exactly what I am suggesting--making opposition to all Muslims mainstream and acceptable?

Where am I wrong here? I certainly don't want to shout about it, but I am interested.

Monk-in-Training said...

I most certainly did NOT mean any sort of sexual innuendo. I thought that is what they call themselves, and yes I have found out what that means sexually, but it wasn't in my thoughts at ALL, I promise.

I meant that this sort of poison spreads and people take up anger and weapons at others who 'seem' to be those persons who are hated.

This is a very dangerous thing to have in a society.

My friend and his co worker are not gay. A coworker of mine is a small man, slightly effeminate, and he gets hassled by "purists" from time to time. He is also straight.

The fact that a black man named "Kenny" walking by one of these protests was accosted and not even a Muslim was my inspiration for this comment. This will NOT end well.

About the so called Tea Bag movement, I am speaking from a historic Christian theological perspective.

As far as their politics, if you can find something besides the 'Know Nothings" of the 1800's who are a more textbook example of a nativist and racist group, I would like to see it.

Bob said...

"I certainly don't think that all conservatives are racist, and have tried to make that clear over the years on this blog. Nor have I suggested that Democrats are somehow pure on race."

A second these statements.

I say this to LB:

I have stated, and we have debated, that campaign themes and messaging from Republicans/Conservatives has been racist. That does NOT mean that Republicans/Conservatives in the population are racist. There is a big difference. Campaign and party operatives do some nasty stuff that the average Joe would not contemplate. Heck some of these campaign tactics probably attract voters who might otherwise vote Democratic to a Republican candidate.

As far as Dean and Reid go... they might not be R's but they are still dumbasses. Reid is just a coward.

LB said...

First, I hope that Streak get better. I know that this is a tough time for you, so my best thoughts and prayers for you and him.

Sorry, I have not responded to this discussion yet. I do not think it is right for Palin et. al. to demonize all Muslims because of Al Qaeda. I am not sure what more I have to say regarding this subject.

I have chosen to not comment on race here and further because I believe liberals (including you on this blog) have overplayed the race card. The breaking point for me was the insertion of race (not by you specifically in this case) into a discussion about the role of Freddie and Fannie in regards to the current recession.

You believe that issues of race pervade politics, particularly conservative resistance to liberal policies. I disagree.

A professor once told me "we're historical theologians, if we want to have an argument with someone we have it with a dead guy who can't fight back." This statement fits me fairly well. I'm happy to debate issues, but only to the point at which I think we have some point of commonality from which we can agree to base our debate.

I do not believe we really have a point of agreement from which we can debate the role of race and politics at this time. You'll note that I never comment on your opinions of Fox News. I can tell on that issue, we disagree to the extent we will only shout past each other. At this point in time, I think that is also true of issues of race.

LB said...

Let me say that the quote is meant somewhat flippantly. Its not that I don't want to debate and have dialogue, but there are limits to how much I do want to argue about things, so to put it in simpler terms, I pick my battles carefully.

Streak said...

Thanks for the nice thoughts on Streak. We appreciate them very much.

I think on the issue of this mosque, what you said about Palin and Gingrich is to the heart of the matter. As I think we have tried to clarify, we don't think that all conservatives are bigots (any more than all of us are to a degree) and my outrage here was about what seems like a calculated decision to play with racism from these right wingers, all in the hopes of getting electoral success, and with no regard to the actual people harmed by this.

I am certainly not saying that I haven't played the race card at times, but I would like some examples (if you can think of some). I don't think I did so on the issue of Freddie and Fannie, though I certainly have been critical of conservatives defending tactics such as "red-lining" which have clear race and class issues. I don't think that is playing the race card, however, but looking at a historically clear example of racial discrimination.

You believe that issues of race pervade politics, particularly conservative resistance to liberal policies. I disagree.

Perhaps before we disagree on this, you can convince me that is what I believe. I think race is a big issue, no doubt. I think that conservatives have, since the 1960s, retreated into a pretty Southern dominated political pattern where there is a tendency to play to Southern racists to maintain electoral power. I don't think I am the only one who believes that--the Southern Strategy has been talked about by people much brighter than me.

But I don't know that I have ever said that conservative resistance to liberal policies is racist--if that is what you mean. I have been much more angry about the conservative decision to embrace tax cuts as economic policy rather than looking at investing in good policies that might help all Americans. I think that many conservatives are correct in their concerns about Affirmative Action, but don't go far enough in addressing the inequalities in our system. And i do think, as we saw with the most recent (several years ago) effort to not renew the Voting Rights Act, that many conservatives want to simply ignore the racism of our past and present and act like it isn't there. But as I have noted even here, that includes liberals as well. Racism is not just a conservative problem, but an American problem.