Friday, August 27, 2010

Please Don't Go On


Via Facebook participant and friend-of-friend Mark Schmidt, this Venn diagram is worth at least a thousand words that large numbers of people need to find a way to hear and understand. His text makes the point:
The people in the red circle attacked the people in OUR circle, including the people in the blue area. If YOU hate the people in the blue area, you aren't paying attention. [emphasis mine]
To reinforce the fact that the 9/11 attackers killed Muslims alongside other Americans, the diagram could benefit from a small circle within the USA-population circle representing all American Muslims, such that a small piece of it crosses into the blue -- but I cavil.

The larger point goes beyond the numbers: Al Qaida attacked a symbolic representation of the USA in the form of the World Trade Center, and that representation is chiefly composed of an openness in which  people of various backgrounds and beliefs live side by side without significant tension or conflict. The Islamists were attacking that openness in the name of a narrow, sectarian, authoritarian vision, so inasmuch as American Muslims partook of it, they were legitimate targets.

Now, the USA's loudest self-labeled proponents are responding forcefully -- by attacking a building for the way it symbolizes an openness they find threatening to the narrow, sectarian, authoritarian vision they prefer. Glennzilla:
The intense animosity toward Muslims driving this campaign extends far beyond Ground Zero, and manifests in all sorts of significant and dangerous ways. In June, The New York Times reported on a vicious opposition campaign against a proposed mosque in Staten Island. Earlier this month, Associated Press documented that "Muslims trying to build houses of worship in the nation's heartland, far from the heated fight in New York over plans for a mosque near ground zero, are running into opponents even more hostile and aggressive." And today, The Washington Post examines anti-mosque campaigns from communities around the nation and concludes that "the intense feelings driving that debate have surfaced in communities from California to Florida in recent months, raising questions about whether public attitudes toward Muslims have shifted."
To label this anti-openness agitating as idiotic, self-defeating, and hypocritical is only to state the obvious, but it should also be noted that it is not a "side show" or a "distraction," but straight along the center line of right-wing politics, and that the line goes well beyond contempt for Muslims. This most recent anti-Muslim panic is only a slightly novel manifestation of the same culture war the American right has been waging at least since the end of the Civil War. Amanda Marcotte:
The enemies list is long: racial minorities (especially non-compliant ones), immigrants, foreigners in general, feminists, liberals, poor people---yes, especially poor people, who haven’t known their place in like 100 years at least---men who aren’t completely wrapped up in non-stop demonstrations of proof they’re Real Men, gay people, college professors, activists who try to improve people’s lives, honestly you could go on.
Honestly, you could go on, and it's difficult to see the end point beyond which this will no longer be central to our politics.

1 comment:

Domestically Challenged said...

I'm borrowing this...

It boggles my mind, the uproar this mosque has brought out in people. But then why should it surprise me when these same ppl find the likes of Beck to be inspiring and informational.