Monday, August 16, 2010

It's not us and them. It's just us.

The hysteria surrounding the not-a-mosque, not-at-Ground Zero interfaith community center that an Islamic group wants to build in Manhattan has gone on longer that even I thought it ever would.

The objections to it are so ridiculous, so reactionary, so based in hatred and fear that I don't even know where to begin taking them apart anymore.

The fact that you have representatives of the Muslim community on the news having to make statements like "American Muslims were not behind the terrorist plot," is totally fucking Twilight Zone-scary.

David Vitter, the Republican senator from Louisiana, says that the not-at-Ground-Zero, not-a-mosque is "a slap in the face to the American people." If that's the case, then I backhand slap the American people right in that stupid, afraid, bigoted, unthinking face. Twice.

9/11 was not an attack by Muslims against America. 9/11 was an attack by those who embraced a theocratic view against the forces of democracy and capitalism (there's a reason they targeted the World Trade Center, it was a financial center). Those Muslims who committed almost 3,000 murders that day were also attacking other Muslims. Many of the office workers, restaurant employees, firemen, police officers, and paramedics who were killed for the "sin" of living in New York (or D.C., let's not forget the Pentagon was also attacked) were...Muslims.

It doesn't work to say that "Muslims attacked us" when "Muslims" and "us" are two groups that overlap. This, despite the best efforts of many, is a cosmopolitan nation. Muslims are not others, they are us. As are Catholics, Jews, Baptists, gays, blacks, asians, hispanics, Dallas Cowboy fans, Sarah Palin fans, and even (gasp!) atheists.

I say again, this, despite the best efforts of the worst amongst us, is a cosmopolitan nation. You can't change that no matter how hard you try. It's the whole fucking point of our country. To think otherwise puts you on the losing side of history.

I mean, Jesus, even W. said we were not at war with Islam.

President Obama finally weighed in on the subject on Friday, saying “Al Qaeda’s cause is not Islam — it is a gross distortion of Islam,” the president said, adding, “In fact, Al Qaeda has killed more Muslims than people of any other religion, and that list includes innocent Muslims who were killed on 9/11.”

To which I add, No shit, Sherlock. Really? Does this even still have to be said? I get the feeling my poor dad (who is an imam now) is going to have to go on another "Muslims don't all have claws and fangs" tour of local churches.

Usually, I find Keith Olbermann just this side of shrill and histrionic, but this time I think he hit just the right note.

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Right now, (during Ramadan no less) millions of Pakistanis, the vast majority of them who are probably Muslim, are dying because of horrific flooding in that country. Wouldn't our energies (and our 24-hour news cycle) be better spent helping -or at least paying attention to- these people? (*cough* Donate to Doctors Without Borders *cough*)

To conclude, I like the point made in this blog post.
In the real world, New York is rebuilding. The site of the ruined World Trade Center is the site of the new World Trade Center, 20 stories high and rising. Get rid of the Islamic center and the alternative will not be a memorial park, but a fitness center, an American Apparel, a Pinkberry.
Maybe I'm naive in my patriotism, but the reason I think that so-called "Ground Zero" is sacred ground is because all of America is sacred ground, because the principles laid out in the Constitution (although, historically, actually following those principles has always been a bit touch-and-go) protect the inalienable rights of the people who live here.

Well, for now anyway.

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