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Monday, August 30, 2010

Questions

What's Goin' On?
- Marvin Gaye

Where Is the Love?
- The Black-Eyed Peas

Is America Islamophobic?
- Time Magazine cover

Is Fox News a terrorist command center?
- Jon Stewart

This post is a digression. Usually I write happy things about how I try out green recipes and green products and have a good time doing so. But right now, my mind is full of a lot of questions. And honestly, a lot of disbelief.

It seems to me that there's a new storm brewing in America right now.

Many would like us to believe that this is a storm from without, that we are being threatened by invaders from other countries -- that immigrant women come here to drop jihadist anchor babies that will be raised to be terrorists; that mosques are being built so that America can become a theocracy (while these same critics state that America should base its laws on Judeo-Christian tradition, hence advocating a theocracy); that if we're not careful we will all be speaking Spanish; that our president is a Muslim born in Kenya (yes, 1 in 5 Americans apparently believe that our Christian president is a Muslim).

These statements, almost always, come with some sort of disclaimer, like ...

"I'm not a racist, but ..."

"I'm don't hate Muslims, but ..."

"I'm not against immigration, but ..."

These disclaimers, with their transparent dishonesty, lead me to believe that this is not a storm from without, but a storm that's brewing within (especially white, middle class) Americans. We feel threatened (by the economy? by the fact that we won't be the majority any longer? by the sounds of words we don't understand?). Because of the threat, we draw up and try to protect ourselves from "the other", and we find that the kind of open hate and hostility that we thought had been driven underground, is now out in the open once more.

Take for example, building of mosques in America. No, not that mosque. Just any old mosque. Our constitution guarantees freedom of worship, and yet as America's growing Muslim community seeks to build houses of worship that will accommodate them, they are met by protests -- often from the same people who espouse strict constructionism in other circumstances. How then, can these Constitution-loving folk protest anyone's freedom to worship or congregate? By claiming that Islam is not a religion. Seriously? Are you kidding me? We're talking about people who pray five times a day, and the response of those who protest is "not a religion"?

It's nonsense, because it's not good form anymore to admit that you hate another group of people. And so the haters find crazier and crazier arguments to couch their hate in a thin scrim of validity.

They make me so angry. Lately, when I watch The Daily Show, I can feel Jon Stewart's rage at their hatred coming right through the screen and I think, right on, Jon! This open hatred, which we thought we'd pushed down (though never buried) fills me with rage as well. And yet, I'm going to refuse to hate them. My goodness, I want to hate them. But I can't. Even if I did want to, I can turn to the words of this guy named Jesus, which remind me that I shouldn't:

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Matthew 5:7-9.

All those questions from the beginning of the post? I can't begin to answer them.

What's going on? I don't know, but it scares me.

Where is the love? It's become hidden. I'm pretty sure it's still there, but those of us who feel it are being kind of wimpy about showing it.

Is America Islamophobic? It seems like it, right now, but I think that those of us who are committed to freedom can rise above it.

Is Fox News a terrorist command center? Most definitely, if you consider terror to be the fear-mongering that they perpetrate on a daily basis, the hate that they stir up, and the blatant lies that they spew in the name of freedom of speech (okay, I'm still working on that not-hating thing).

Because this is the land of the free, I have to let the haters say these things. And because I want that freedom to remain, I have to speak up against those who would take freedom away in the name of hate.


3 comments:

thelifeofdesmondriley said...

I hear ya, sister.

Wombat Central said...

Well put, lady. It boggles my wee brain the sheer number of people that perpetuate the lies that circulate. I'm all for more spreadin' the lubs. :)

Catfish said...

Thanks, gang. Seriously, things are a bit crazy right now.