Andrew McCarthy, one of the dependable frothers over at what experts call "American's Shittiest Website," has some indignant things to say about Islam and Islamists--and in so doing, he has deeply insulted both me and America.
How? In a minute. First, though, everyone wants to know: Does McCarthy's latest bleat meet or exceed standard National Review Online (NRO) specifications for dishonesty, fake "thoughtfulness," and barely-contained scaredy-cat pants-pissery? It certainly does.
What the GZ mosque episode powerfully demonstrates is the growing divide between the American people and the progressive ruling class. The latter, I believe, are gradually surrendering.
Yes, it's all good old American wingnut fun, from the pipe-puffing "I believe" to the frankly ludicrous term "the progressive ruling class." This is a phrase of oxymoronic power equal to that of "the attractively self-effacing Bill O'Reilly" or "the damned sensible Glenn Beck." Only in the total intellectual vacuum of NRO (where they don't allow comments, and where the sublimely clueless Kathryn Jean Lopez reigns as editrix) can someone with a straight face use the term "progressive" and "ruling class" in the same sentence without satire. The world knows, even if McCarthy doesn't, that National Review has spent every day since its founding defending the actual ruling class from progressives.
Still, if the piece featured merely the rote recitation of the usual papier-mache-patriot tropes ("ultimate victory...appeasement...surrendering...American credibility..."), I would laugh raucously in its face and mention it no more.
But Mr. Andrew McCarthy goes so far as to presume to speak for America. And, in the words of the philosopher, this aggression will not stand, man.
Most of the American people are in a much different place. They see Islamists advancing, they are beginning to grasp that Islamists (not just terrorists but the whole Islamist movement) mean to change us in very fundamental ways, and therefore they understand that every such advance is a defeat for freedom.
(snip--but wait! Don't you love that "are beginning to grasp"? The Great American Wad struggles toward consciousness. It's exciting! Thanks, Marx!)
Americans also realize that when our country looks like it doesn't have the stomach to face down bad people and noxious ideologies, we are significantly less safe. Though weary, the people of the country want to see resolve. They think they understand their principles a lot better than the ruling class does, and they are tired of lectures from the Obamas and Bloombergs who, in the name of abstractions that they presume to call "our values," would have us sell out our principles and our security.
(snip--although...huh. "Bad people and noxious ideologies"...does that include South American dictators? And the House of Saud? No? Pity. And aren't "our principles" also "abstractions"?)
Most of all, Americans are tired of the shroud of political correctness the ruling class has placed around Islam. We don't object to anyone's freedom of conscience, and we abide countless places for Muslims to gather and worship even though we know a very high percentage of the Islamic centers and mosques are heavily influenced by Islamists. But we're tired of being told things that aren't true: e.g., that Islam is peaceful, tolerant and non-threatening ... And we're tired of being told that we shouldn't examine or object to an authoritarian ideology just because it travels under the label of "religion."
No, it isn't you. All of it has the tone of a clarion call to duty and patriotism, and none of it makes sense.
The figure spearheading the (so-called) Ground Zero mosque, Faisal Abdul Rauf, is a bridge-building figure with allegiances to both the Islamic world and to the U.S. He has said things the chest-thumpers on the American right don't like, and I'm sure he's said things their chest-thumping counterparts in militant Islam don't like, either. The best way to see "Islamists advancing" is to subvert him, pollute our (supposedly sacred) idea of religious freedom, and polarize the situation.
Similarly, McCarthy deplores anyone who would "sell out our principles," but cannot see past the flare of his nostrils that allowing the worthy (the 9-11 relative) and the unworthy (assorted loudmouths and yahoos) to restrict Muslim religious freedom is, in fact, to sell out our values--cheap.
According to this gentleman, all of Islam is a militant, authoritarian "threat to our civilization." If that's the case, how is it that any of us are still alive? (Guess how many Muslims there are in the world. No, come on, just guess. Give up? ReligiousTolerance.org says, "As of mid 2010, we accept the Pew Forum's estimate 1.57 billion as the most reliable estimate.") And us with a measly 300 million (some of whom are Muslims). Perhaps McCarthy is so "tired" because he lays awake at night, trembling.
Oh, and if it's Islam's authoritarian ideology he abhors, what's his position on Catholicism? Does he abide countless places for Catholics to gather and worship, in spite of the fact that the Church's history of authoritarian tyranny is even longer than that of Islam?
But that's not the worst part. The worst part is that this individual presumes to speak for America. And he most certainly does not speak for America.
Granted, like McCarthy, I--like all Americans--am weary and tired. But we Americans aren't tired of Islamists. We're tired of Andrew McCarthy. We're tired of places like National Review Online publishing nonsense like the above-quoted. We're tired of the Republican Party and its nihilistic obstructionism. We're tired of transparent liars, frauds, mutants, and grifters like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann and Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh being taken seriously by anyone except giggling children. We're tired of Fox "News" and its daily spew of propaganda and race-based alarmism. We're tired of the screaming Tea Baggist idiots, with their silly Colonial dress-up and their misspelled signs, and the cretinous religiosity of Sharon Angle being accorded serious media consideration. We're tired of John Boehner's tan and Mitch McConnell's hideously smooth face.
In short, we're tired--and weary--of how the political right of this country has devolved into a fall-of-Rome orgy in which the ignorant and the bigoted are manipulated by the mendacious and the demagogic into making the rich richer and everyone else poorer.
Or is it just me? Whatever. I need a nap.
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