Friday, July 30, 2010

This is the kind of thing that makes me think we haven't seen the end of civil violence in America

How can the country continue to exist in relative peace and harmony (and by that I mean widespread consensus on the right of the government to exist, and widespread tolerance for the divergent views of one's fellow man) when people like this agitate against basically everything good and decent?

On the Tea Party Patriots website, a member posted an item entitled, "Stop Six Flags Muslim Family Day" which includes a missive from Annie Hamilton, an L.A. woman leading the charge against the park. She writes:

Muslim Day at Six Flags is inappropriate for a multitude of reasons and I'm saddened and shocked by the ignorance of the Corporate folks and by the action that now must be taken by the rest of us.

First, Islam is NOT a religion, it is an ideology - the religious portion only encompasses 11 % (the qur'an) the rest is the Sira and Hadith and the closest parallel to Islam is the Ku Klux Klan - if that is Six Flag's idea of 'appropriate' then by all means, hold your day on September 12th but don't plan on expanding any time soon because not only will we ensure that you don't grow, we'll make sure that your parks become a thing of the past...

STOP THE SILENCE. STOP THE NONSENCE. STOP THE MUSLIM DAY - THEY ARE NOT AMERICANS. THEY DO NOT ABIDE BY OUR CONSTITUTION - THEY ARE NOT ONE OF US - YOU ARE EITHER WITH US OR AGAINST US - MAKE YOUR DECISION.

This is all about teabagger protests against Six Flags hosting a "Muslim Day" in which the park will cater to a minority with modestly-dressed park workers and halal food.

Seriously, how will this not end in a fight?

(Also, random, wild coincidence: the Mother Jones article I've linked to above was written by my old landlord. Wild.)

EDIT: To clarify, my old landlord did not write the anti-Muslim screed I've excerpted above. She wrote the article from which I've excerpted that quote. Added the lead-in sentence and nested the quote within the broader excerpt to try to make it more clear.

12 comments:

  1. What role does opinion-based news have on this sentiment?

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  2. Polarization drives ratings. It also drives further polarization. It also drives the collapse of common decency. CNN has horrible ratings, so it's giving prime-time shows to Elliot Spitzer and a man who ran the News of the World and Mirror tabloids in the UK.

    This is not a comforting trend.

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  3. I don't see how Elliot Spitzer qualifies as a polarizing figure.

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  4. So who was the Muslim Family day organizer who was killed in the 9/11 massacre?

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  5. "Polarization drives ratings. It also drives further polarization."

    Yup. Unfortunately, even people who should know better continue to pay their cable bills and watch this crap.

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  6. Im more worried about the ADL, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich legitimizing the loonies fighting the "Ground Zero Mosque" (wich is neither a mosque or at Ground Zero). When ADl stands shoulder to shoulder with Pamela Geller, who refers to muslims as "sub-humans", then you know the scales have shifted heavily.

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  7. We all choose which loons to fear. You fear Palin and Gingrich. Others fear Pelosi and Reid. I choose to stop worrying about it because almost everything they do is designed to rile people up and polarize the country in order to "get out the vote." People don't vote for stuff. They vote against other stuff. That is why Bush was demonized. That is why Obama will be demonized.

    I think the best thing to do is stop watching cable TV. I would not have heard anything about the "ground zero mosque," the "tea party," or Breitbart's video unless people who watch cable TV had discussed it online.

    Part of thinking for yourself is determining what is important to think about. I refuse to allow the media to dictate that for me.

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  8. Schmedlap, I think you're missing the point. It's not a matter of everyone going nuts about something that doesn't matter. This mosque thing, or the Six Flags thing, or Gingrich's speech... these aren't just non-issues that are pumped by the media.

    The reality is that there's a segment of American society that believes that Muslims are not entitled to the same rights as everyone else, and that wants a culture war, a class of civilizations. There are irresponsible "leaders" stoking those ludicrous desires, and this is no small matter. That's the reason I wrote this post: I don't see how this can end without violence. The things that Newt Gingrich said last week are antithetical to American values. And I'm not talking about "American values" like small government, lower taxes, private health care, and so on. (And I'm not bringing these things up because I'm a proponent of recent government actions on these issues; I'm not.) I'm talking about American values like the freedom to practice one's religion and speak one's mind, to assemble without fear of violence or government action, to pursue happiness in one's own way.

    I get so pissed off just thinking about this that I can't even work. Go check out the Facebook thread that's linked above, the one about STOP SIX FLAGS MUSLIM DAY or whatever it is. I know statements like this have gotten cheap lately, but that shit makes me embarrassed to be an American.

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  9. Schmedlap: I think this goes outside the issue of partisan politics per se, and into deeper and scarier terrains. When you combine one piece of angry populist movement (Tea-party people, etc.) with a leadership that points out a cultural enemy (muslims) then you have a potential for violence that sooner or later will result in actual action. I am not saying that all tea-partiers, or even most of them, are crazy and violent. But it has its fringe elements. I never thought I would say this, but GWB showed great responsibility in this matter, standing up for muslim americans. The republican leadership these days seems to consist of Palin and Gingrich, and they seem active in building on the haters view of Islam as a violent, monolithic form of Super-Satan. And thats frankly disturbing, because it gives legitimacy to some pretty ugly people.

    One aspect that is glaringly absent from the debate is the muslim victims of Al Quaeda violence in Pakistan, Iraq and (to a lesser extent) Afghanistan. Dont those victims deserve some dignity too?

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  10. ... there's a segment of American society that believes that Muslims are not entitled to the same rights as everyone else...

    Yes. A very, very tiny segment. And their wackjob views get excessive attention, to the exclusion of the overwhelming majority of others. That is how you polarize a population. You highlight the wackjobs and portray them as representative of the "other side." Right-wingers are all xenophobic, homophobic, war-mongering racists who hate poor people and the elderly. Left-wingers are all fags, dope-smoking hippies, draft dodgers, America-haters, and anti-Christian.

    If you had Jerry Springer playing all day on the TV at your office, would you assume that all Americans are sleeping with their siblings, cheating on their spouses, shooting up drugs, and engaging in various similar behaviors?

    The republican leadership these days seems to consist of Palin and Gingrich...

    It doesn't seem that way if you get your news from sources that inform rather than influence.

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  11. But that's the thing: this group of people, minority or majority or whatever, DOESN'T get its news from those sources. They're being influenced by the very people that we're talking about here, the Palins and the Gingriches and whoever else of the world. And I'm not trying to gang up on Republicans; one of the really galling things about this whole Ground Zero Mosque business is how piss-poor the Democratic response has been. People like Chuck Schumer and Anthony Weiner know how this issue polls, so they're unwilling to take a strong and vocal stand against the bigotry and ignorance that have informed that public opinion.

    A very, very tiny segment. And their wackjob views get excessive attention, to the exclusion of the overwhelming majority of others. That is how you polarize a population. You highlight the wackjobs and portray them as representative of the "other side." Right-wingers are all xenophobic, homophobic, war-mongering racists who hate poor people and the elderly. Left-wingers are all fags, dope-smoking hippies, draft dodgers, America-haters, and anti-Christian.

    The real problem is that this ISN'T a minority opinion. Not a minority of Republicans and not a minority of Americans polled on the subject (here I'm talking specifically about the Times Square Mosque). And politicians KNOW THAT! Newt Gingrich recognizes that he can ride this religion-baiting, this Clash of Civilizations dialogue all the way to political success. But we should expect more from our leaders, particularly the ones we know don't buy this bullshit (and here I'm talking about the Democrats I've cited above, as well as a number of intelligent and reasonable Republicans, a group in which we SHOULD be able to count the former Speaker of the House. I'm sure Sarah Palin believes everything she's saying). But when "should Muslims be allowed to build a mosque within two miles of Ground Zero" is polling at like 50% NO to 30% YES with no further amplification and no selection bias to the poll that I can see, that is a serious problem.

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