Saturday, September 11, 2010

Politicizing 9/11

While the Florida burning of the Quran on 9/11 might/might not have been canceled, apparently other so-called Christian wing nut churches are jumping on the bandwagon to burn the Islamic people's holy book. This definitely suits a certain mentality helped along by the media covering it blow by blow which infuriates me as much as any part of this story.

Media relishes such an opportunity and look how the opportunity has expanded as they can now post pictures of thousands rioting in Muslim nations. The media has now gotten around to asking why this story was ever important. IT WASN'T. It was a 50 person church that managed to get its 15 minutes of fame at the expense of everybody else. Nothing new about that in our reality tv entertainment media world.

It never made sense to me to burn someone else's idea of a holy book, a banned book, or anything else as a protest. The idea that some would do it though isn't surprising. There have always been wackos (and not just in religions), and with the extreme righties screaming how evil Islam is, well this just fits the whole atmosphere. It does not reflect the thinking of the majority of Americans, not even a fourth of us although I won't guess how many, since I do read right wing blogs sometimes. It's got to be a small percentage though who would cheer this.

For some background, America is a very Christian nation with diverse Christian churches everywhere. Our culture encourages religion as is evidenced by the tax breaks given to them all. In any poll of Americans, many label themselves believers in the Bible and Jesus. It would be nigh unto impossible to be elected president here without espousing Christianity as the person's religion although it might vary as to how religious voters demanded they be.

For some, religious talk is enough no matter what the deeds end up. Others are busy looking at whether the Obamas registered as members of any church in DC after arriving. Part of the appeal of checking this out would be to use what the pastor said against Obama if it didn't fit someone else's religious agenda. Given his past experience, I can't  blame him for thinking it's wiser to not be affiliated with any church, as long as he's president. Of course, that still leaves a certain percentage to then think he's a Muslim in disguise...

I believe, right now in our country, we have conflicting emotions driving what is happening regarding Islam. First obviously was the attack on 9/11 where despite how many times President Bush said we are not at war with the religion of Islam and that tolerance is important, many people wanted revenge. They got some of that by bombing Afghanistan but it didn't get the one who planned 9/11 and it didn't really satisfy the need many had for a reckoning.

So it went along pretty much as it had been with fighting a war supposedly to help Muslim people and most Americans not thinking top deeply about what that meant, not complaining, even when it put our country into debt and we lost too many of our soldiers-- not to mention the death toll among the Iraqis and Afghans. But this was festering and all it took was politicizing the building of an Islamic center near the site of the terrorist attack in New York City. That even was quiet to begin until it got closer to the election and the things that began to be said stirred the anger that had lain dormant.

Add to it a pastor (and now maybe other pastors across the country) wanting to burn Qurans, which stirred up overseas riots, and it's all going nuts with who knows what Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin will add to it with their joint 9/11 rallies in Alaska. One thing about mob action is if you are a leader, you either join with it or you will find yourself out of leadership. It begins to take on a life of its own. Both Beck and Palin did speak out to say the burning was wrong but there is so much that at least Beck has already said that who knows what he really thinks or will say next.

Some of this in Americans is fear more than hate as so many know so little about Islam. They are being told by righties that all Islamic people are the same. Now the same people know that all Christians are not the same but they are buying into thinking that the demands from radical Islamics for war and death means all Islamic people feel that way. It feeds the fear that 9/11 will happen again.

Truthfully we may well be attacked again. Whoever doesn't think that is not paying attention. Whether pastors burn Qurans or not, the threat is out there. When you have one and one half billion Muslims worldwide, there are bound to be some who will do something destructive again. It's not about their religion though. It's about something else, and you know that if you remember what was discovered about how the 9/11 terrorists spent their days ahead of their suicide attacks. Clue. It wasn't all fasting and praying.

Some are trying to say now that we didn't really go to Iraq to liberate Muslims and make them stronger. It was supposed to be about us being attacked by Saddam with all his imaginary weapons. We had to get rid of the bad guy, right? Except, we could have arranged to have him assassinated at any time. Spare me saying we couldn't do that morally. We did a lot worse than that in the last ten years.

No, what Bush finally came up with for a reason for the war in Iraq was to bring democracy and freedom to Muslim people which it seems the right has forgotten in their deluge of fear and anger. If that faith in Allah is so evil, a religion that traces itself back to Abraham, why are we over there? Why did we go there? You know it wasn't the WMD. You know it wasn't to kill one tyrant. It might have been about oil wealth there but  if that's so, we wanted to make a Muslim nation wealthy? After all, to some, the only good Muslim is a dead one.. sound familiar to anyone? Clue. It's been said before in this country about an earlier enemy.

What we have seen happen to our country where logic has gone out the window and hysteria has replaced it simply amazes me. I really thought we were better than Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin but not sure why I thought that. It's not like our history is lily white despite the rewriting of it by some righties into us as the noble saviors of the world. Pardon me, some lefties too if you read Hillary Clinton's recent speech. Neocon philosophy knows no party boundaries.

I kind of understand the motives of the little religious group in Florida who got this whole burning the Quran (Koran) thing going. They think everybody, which also means you, Glenn Beck, is going to hell who does not believe like they do. Sarah with her church that had exorcisms, she might be safe.

I have an artist friend who once painted all the images that people see of God in various religions. In her small town, a pastor got hold of the prints and made a show of burning them. It's not like fear of the 'other' is new.

What is new is the media drumbeat for it as we get ready to once again celebrate one of our greatest failures of intelligence and defense. Yeah, Pearl Harbor beat it but Pearl Harbor came when we had a lot less tools than we did in 2001. 9/11 happened when it should not have but it did. And what will burning the Quran and the hysteria over a Islamic center near where 9/11 occurred, what will they do to our global 'war on terror'. [I swear I hate these expressions that make no sense at all. Like when wasn't the civilized world going to be fighting against terrorism? Anybody really believe that began with 9/11? We were the first hit by terrorism? For that matter the first time even we were hit by it? Oh never mind, I am using logic again].

I wasn't going to write anything about 9/11 because I think we have wallowed in it enough, haven't we?  The more I think about what has happened to us since it, the destructive things we have had happen to our Bill of Rights, our freedoms, our sense of morality, our economy, our belief in religious tolerance (or at least pretending we believed in it), I think what I have so often. Bin Laden could not have asked for more success.

It really does make me mad and at us. If we aren't better than that, we should be. A good start would be to stop celebrating this day, stop letting politicians use it for political points or ministers to give them their 3 minutes of fame. Let those who lost loved ones that day mourn as is appropriate, pray for them if you are a believer, but as Jesus said to do it-- in a closet, not for points. But we as a nation have to go on and make this country into what we said it was. Words are cheap.

And while I am at it, quit expecting some miracle leader (from either party) to fix it all. It's us who fixes it through the responsible way we live our lives, the care we take in voting, the American businesses we start or  help get started by investing or buying their products, the  concern we have about our educational system, and the list goes on. We could be doing a lot more as individuals if we wanted to or we can wallow in it waiting for our prince to come (more on that in a coming blog).


HMBabb said...

It's going to be a long day, Rain. Any day that starts with Terry Jones on the Today Show - especially today - is bound to go downhill from here.

Kay Dennison said...

I just hid and watched my Buckeyes stomp Miami. I can't take the drama -- I have too much of my own.