Thursday, July 29, 2010

Muslims hate dogs

Shortly before I left the Midwest for Florida, a local Methodist Church with a largely Korean congregation was spray painted with the message: "Chines go home." Swastikas were spray painted on sidewalks and a leader of a self-styled Evangelist Church murdered a black Football coach and shot up a car containing two local Korean-Americans in protest of the growing ethnic diversity of America. Yes, it was an upscale suburb of Chicago and yes, most people were appalled. Since then, we've become more inured to such things, and since then, major political groups have become indistinguishable from what was a demented, lunatic fringe. The largest news disseminator in the country has become a preacher of the same kind of rage -- and we listen as disciples at the feet of wisdom.

I can't act surprised to see a similar fear and loathing phenomenon pervading my Florida neighborhood. No shots are being fired, but it's hard to come away from any social gathering without that sick, sinking feeling in my stomach resulting from some offhand remark about Mexicans. What must they be thinking of me? Is anyone really a bigot as concerns only one group? I think not. Is such bigotry confined to the uneducated? Hardly: the Beck Brigade contains the majority of millionaires I know and none who have anything to worry about from some undocumented day-laborer hanging around the Home Depot parking lot. Yet they do. They worry themselves sick that our government is being taken over by Black people who will make sure that no other black people will have to work for a living any more. They worry themselves sick that American Muslims will somehow institute Sharia and set aside the constitution, while they themselves see that tattered document as an impediment to Christian sovereignty.

"Islam is not a religion. It is a worldwide political movement meant [sic] on domination of the world. And it is meant to subjugate all people under Islamic law...."

reads an anonymous e-mail tied to a California Tea Party group. Where I live, such a thing is likely to be as sermon to the converted. It's a tenet as firmly adhered to as that "Obamacare" depends on "death panels" to keep costs down and that the US constitution is meant to subjugate all people under Christian law. But there are no Mosques here, no Islamic community centers as there are in other parts of the country. In California, in Tennessee, in New York and elsewhere, the bigoted scum that is America is being called upon to disrupt prayer with loud protest and being encouraged to bring dogs: because Muslims "hate dogs."

When I was a young man, traveling and studying in Europe, I heatedly defended my country against pervasive charges of racism and bigotry and imperialism, pointing to the strides being made in the 1960's. I was wrong, I was a fool and I wish I had not been. We have been jailing people for their political thoughts since the beginning, we replaced slavery with repression and subjugation, we've had laws reducing the rights of one ethnic group after another. We've denied entry and we have expelled citizens for their racial origins. We whine about invasive government while we use it to invade the lives of millions. We've made a straw devil out of those who have worked to undo the intrinsic hatred that is American culture. We have, save for a few glorious moments, been cowards, bullies and barbarians as likely to tear our own countrymen apart as the enemies, real and imagined, from without. There is no patriotism, no sense of a common goal, only flag waving and warriors at war -- and fear, always the fear.

Have we forsaken our ideals or did we ever really have any beyond "every man for himself" and "fuck you?"

(Cross posted from Human Voices)

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