Will America remain a global leader while huge numbers of Chinese and Indians work harder for less money? Will we pass along a bankrupt nation to our children? These are tough questions which increasingly make us feel impotent. Admit it: we miss the romance and the glamor of the Crusades, which directed all our anxious energies in one misguided direction.
And since we in the West pretty much lost the first round of Crusades in spectacular fashion, it's high time to start a new one, especially while we've still got a nuclear advantage. And let's be practical about it -- not getting along with Muslims is pretty much the best way for good Americans to take their minds off the fact that they can't get along with each other anymore.
So here are a few handy tips for how to start a holy war against Islam:
1. Desecrate the symbols of the people you've been trying to liberate. Machiavelli said that you can earn the unending enmity of the people whose land you occupy if you rape their women or violate their altars. So let's burn some Qurans! Okay, General David Petraeus has loudly cautioned that a Florida church's plans to burn Qurans on 9/11 will endanger U.S. troops, which was what it finally took for mainstream Republicans to second-guess those plans. But all these wimps need to realize that Crusades are a serious business.
2. Tell Muslim Americans that you love them but hate their religion. The "love the sinner but hate the sin" tactic is a sure-fire winner: It's allowed millions of people to marginalize generations of gay people without feeling even a tinge of guilt. So if you tell your Muslim neighbors, "I'm sure you're a great person, but your religion is evil and will eventually incite you to violence, so I better hit you first," they'd be foolish to see you as anything but a saint. And if they don't treat you as a saint, just remember that you're in a holy war.
3. Be selective in how you define terror. When a white man flies into the IRS as a protest, that's not terrorism. When a white man slashes a Muslim cabbie, that's not terror. But when a disturbed Muslim causes damage, be sure to call it an organized global conspiracy.
4. Ignore 20 centuries of crimes and mishaps perpetrated by those professing to follow Jesus, including backward and repressive societies that existed at least 17 centuries into Christendom. (That's longer than the existence of Islam, for those keeping count.) Ignore the great John Calvin running Geneva in a way that the Taliban would have envied. Ignore two millennia of anti-Semitism (especially now that conservative evangelicals have decided that Jesus wants the Jews and Israel to thrive before he comes back and judges them for not being more like conservative evangelicals). Ignore Biblical accounts that glorify the genocide of the Canaanites as the only way that God could get his plans started. Just keep asserting that Islam has a unique monopoly on religious violence and bigotry.
5. Exploit the utter cowardice, the craven silence of Christian leaders who know better but won't speak up. They know that Jesus and the apostle Paul would not take the position of a Newt Gingrich or a Sarah Palin, but they frankly have construction fund drives and annual pledge drives to attend to, and there's no point in jeremiads directed toward the congregants who bring home the manna. A few exceptions exist, granted, but thankfully they're too few in number to prevent a good, old-fashioned new Crusade.
So are you ready to rumble? You soon may have no choice.