Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My brain hurts


I have mentioned in a few previous posts that I find humanity's capacity for "stupid" to be almost as paranormal as UFOs and the like.   Well, there certainly has been no shortage of stupid in the news as of late.  In fact, I'd say it surpasses the qualifications to be called "fucking stupid."  Maybe even "batshit crazy."  So much so that it makes my brain hurt, hence the post title.
Because it appears that the Crusades never really ended.  That is if the news stories about the "mosque at Ground Zero" are any indication.

America has accomplished great things.  We have landed humans on the Moon and our probes have traveled deeper into space than any other nation's (if they even have any.)  We are home to brilliant artists, despite what popular culture portrays.  We are in many ways, models of urban living for the rest of the world, regardless of Aurora, Illinois.  We are a democracy that has lasted over 200 years, a statistic that perhaps surpasses even the most optimistic thoughts of our Founding Fathers.  We as a people are capable of great acts of charity.  When there is a disaster in the world such as the earthquake in Haiti or the tsunami of 2004, who are usually the first ones on the scene?  We are.
Unfortunately, America is also capable of great xenophobia, religious zealotry, and yes...bigotry.  Events such as slavery and Japanese Internment are evidence enough of that.  We have those oft lamented "mush minds" from years of dodging reading while indulging in reality TV, leaving us incapable of discerning fact from bumper sticker-style political manipulation. 
My point being, the "mosque at ground zero."  First of all, it isn't a mosque.  It's a proposed community center for Muslims.  Second of all, it's a good two blocks from the site of the former World Trade Center.  While I'll grant you that is close, it's not exactly "on property" if you know what I mean.  
Plus, didn't  "W," our former fearless leader, state over and over again that our war is with terrorists and criminals, not the Muslim faith?  So I need to ask Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and other Republican leaders, "which is it?"  For if the battle truly is with jihadists and extremists, then it should not be a cataclysm for a collective of New York City Muslims, who had nothing to do with anything 9/11, to build a community center.  Please "refudiate."
But there are politicians who see this as an opportunity.  Islam can still be made out to be that bogey man hiding in the shadows.  Through crafty "symbolic intelligence," the word "mosque" can be associated with a dilapidated old house deep in the dark woods with its shutters hanging by solitary hinges, the kind of place Stephen King would write about, the kind of place where covens of devil-fanged pagans conduct their arcane and blasphemous ceremonies.  And it's remarkably easy to reinforce this image, just so long as enough people keep their brains next to a Bible inside tiny boxes painted red, white, and blue.  It's ok to compromise our own Constitutional promise of religious tolerance.  Why?  Because God is on our side, and by "our" I mean "the white Christians of the good ol' U.S. of A."  Besides, what's it matter?  Them Muslims come from countries that need to be "liberated" anyway.  "Bomb 'em, kill their leaders, and convert 'em all to Christianity."  
So that's what we have to look forward to.  Endless fucking war. 
There have been those who have compared this Muslim center to erecting a Shinto shrine adjacent to the Pearl Harbor memorial.  In my own way, I agree with this.
I know of no one who considers Japan "the enemy."  In fact, many of us geeks may feel closer to Japan than America simply through the act of consuming so much anime, manga, and daikaiju.  Since World War II ended in the middle of the last century, very few within my age group and younger would be likely to take issue with a Shinto shrine at Pearl Harbor.  If anything, it would be wonderfully symbolic of how far the two nations have come since that awful day of December 7th, 1941 (as an aside, I can't help but wonder if there was any outcry over Christian churches built in postwar Hiroshima?)  It would be a testament to two peoples who despite their religious and cultural differences, moved forward  to forge a cooperative, even if competitive, relationship with one another.

I would hope that the Muslim community center in New York could one day mean the same thing.



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1 comment:

  1. From Facebook:
    Ghost Dogg said "Marvelous commentary. I overheard an 18-yr. old student argue that we should put all Muslims in a boat as a precaution, bomb Pakistan and take their oil. I don't know where even to begin with this kind of idiocy. Where's the middle ground with that kind of belligerent idiocy? I give up."

    Dr. Rich said "Excellent post, sir. Well written and right on point."

    ReplyDelete