Monthly Archives: August 2010

The Economy, Nativism and Islamophobia

by john

In previous times it was other religious and immigrant groups that became the American national scapegoats. Today it is all muslims, from would be directors of community outreach centers to random cab drivers. Real Americans sure do love to hate those lesser people among us. And, for the record, those ‘lesser people’ include everyone who doesn’t think Sarah Palin and Rand Paul are the best things out there.

The Real Americans define who is a fellow Real American and who is lesser. In their considered opinion, the lesser are almost all non white people, although some will be let inside the gates as junior conditional members after a suitable show of obsequiousness. They are all muslims. They are many jews. They are all christians who dare to believe in social justice. They are all, airport bathrooms and meth fueled gay hooker massage sessions aside, all non straight people. They are not only liberals but rightwingers who served in the Reagan and Bush administrations but who don’t completely toe the far rightwing fringe line.

The self proclaimed Real Americans are puffed up but scared and wounded, mostly white people who are afraid of losing their white privilege. They are not unique to America, at base. Every society has a certain proportion of scared reactionary troglodytes who will always hate and suspect the other, however that other is defined at any particular moment.

But, in times of economic hardship, their vile can spread beyond their nominal ranks. In recent years, the trogs seem to make up between 20 and 30 per cent of the population. But, Ed Brayton at his blog Dispatches from the Culture War at Science Blogs, brings us this depressing news:

click on link to The Economist

Brayton seems to have misread a particular result and claims that fewer than half of the Democrats approve it, which is noted in the first comment, but still. Fewer than 60 per cent of these Dems approve it and a quarter oppose it. Another commenter, ‘Abby Normal,’ makes this good point:

This poll was from an opt-in internet survey of 1000 people. Perhaps it’s just wishful thinking on my part. But it seems likely that those who opt in would be those with the strongest (i.e. emotionally driven) opinion. If so, bias toward anti-Islamic opinions skewing the results seems entirely likely.

That’s somewhat hopeful, but only slightly so. It seems that all human societies are prone to this sort of xenophobia. Despite all the rightwing hoopla about ‘American Exceptionalism,’ America is not, never has been, and likely never will be immune from this.

But one thing is different now. People are on record with their opinions and positions on this and the record is archived. The xenophobes will never be able to run from the bigotry and prejudice they are spewing these days. There are tens if not hundred of millions of people on the web who will make sure that the vileness they are indulging in now will be hung around their necks for the rest of their lives and forever after that.

They don’t get to walk away from this ugliness when they decide it is no longer politically beneficial.

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The Cordoba House: where do you stand?

by john

The rightwingers and Republicans are ramping up the nativism and other-bashing with what they are misnaming the ‘ground zero mosque.’ Refudiations are in order.

Greg Sargent had a good post yesterday in which he called on people to either condemn the bigotry or be an adult and admit that you conflate all of Islam with murderous terrorists:

The only way to see this as a provocative act is to buy into the notion that the building of a center devoted to Islamic heritage is, by accident or by design, tantamount to rubbing the victims’ noses into what happened on 9/11 — that it is inescapably a “victory mosque.” To believe this is to legitimize — wittingly or not — the world view of the center’s bigoted foes.

In fact, it is not legitimate to see the building of a center devoted to the study of Islam near Ground Zero as an inherently provocative act. You can’t endorse the idea that it’s provocative to study the heritage of Islam in the vicinity of Ground Zero while simultaneously arguing that the bigots are wrong to conflate the 9/11 attacks with Islam as a whole. Period. It’s not a coherent or sustainable argument.

People need to choose sides. Either it’s justifiable to see the act of building an Islamic center near Ground Zero as provocation, intentional or not, or it isn’t. If you endorse the former, you are in effect supporting the view that it’s defensible to vaguely associate Islam as a whole with the attacks. If people want to endorse that view, fine: Just say so. No fudging here. It’s one or the other.

Violent murderous Christian terrorists have killed numerous doctors who perform abortions — should all Christians have to refudiate them?

The ADL squandered whatever moral authority it had left by siding with the bigots and Fareed Zakaria returned, rightfully, an ADL award.

The rightwingers and Republicans see Muslims as the new commies, complete with dark suggestions of nefarious plots. But the American Taliban — Christofascists, really — have more in common with Islamic extremists than they do with the mainstream of American people, and both are very far from mainstream Christianity and Islam. I think the American Christianists secretly jealous of the control over others the radical Islamists are able to wield in parts of countries like Afghanistan and Somalia.

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Freedom of (some) Religion

By: Jeff

This heated argument over allowing Mosques to be built & expanded here in the U.S. is getting ridiculous. I can understand people’s reservations about a Mosque being built near ground zero (the site is 2 blocks away, NOT actually on ground zero as I’ve heard some uninformed callers claiming when calling up radio talk shows). I understand that it was a group of RADICALS that believed they were doing what was best for the Muslim faith that flew those planes into the Twin Towers on 9-11, so of course some people are not going to be happy about this move.

But now a town in Tennessee is up in arms because a Mosque is looking to expand their current facilities, http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/08/09/plans-build-tennessee-islamic-centers/. What I really can’t understand is that these protestors don’t understand (or value) a core part of our Nation’s beginnings. The freedom of religion is and always has been an extremely important part of the American identity.¬† If a group was looking to build a Church, a Synagogue, or an altar to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, no one would care. Just because a group of extreme radicals from one religion committed¬†horrible¬†atrocities, does not give us as a country the right to completely discriminate against a HUGE population of American citizens.

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Republican obstructionism delayed the 9/11 first responders aid bill

I have to disagree somewhat with Jeff’s last post blaming the Democrats as well as the Republicans for the failure to pass the bill. King was supposed to get enough Republican but couldn’t because they claimed the bill was a massive new entitlement program. They were going to kill the bill by attaching a poison pill, an amendment that would have prohibited any help at all going to any first responder who was not here legally.

I agree with those who say that any first responder, regardless of citizenship status, should get help. And the Republicans knew the Democrats would vote against such an odious amendment but they would use that vote to accuse them of giving millions to ‘illegals’ in sound bite driven campaign commercials.

It was really sleazy of the Republicans. King was diverting attention away from his failure to get Republican support by attaching amendments he knew the Democrats would reject. The Democrats finally got smart and forced the Republicans’ hand and called them out for their naked partisanship. Good for them.

In other news, some rightwing blogs and sites are walking quietly away from the bogus Laredo invasion fabrication, while the initiators are still sticking to their story. A post on the invasion appeared on redstate (link to google cache), but was disappeared by the powers that be. If you click on the link to the current page, you are directed to new posts. Maybe this is why they are so hostile to google at that site.

It’s another sign, along with the banning of the birfers, that redstate is trying desperately to overcome Erickson’s comparison of White House health care spox Linda Douglass to Goebbels and the unfortunate tweet in which he called Supreme Court Justice Souter a ‘goat fucking child molester.’

My guess is that they still have work to do in that regard.

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