A month or two ago, I gave up commenting on political blogs, and cut back severely on even reading them. I was developing a bad case of Internet Rage Addiction. I was wasting precious, irreplaceable hours out of my life writing long, angry comments in the hopes of scoring points against people who were wrong on the internet instead of writing material I could actually publish. I was stressed and angry. I was even missing sleep. I had to quit for my own health. A few nasty fights and some irreconcilable differences with people who’d been on my side to that point, along with the closing of Pandagon, made it easy.
Then yesterday morning, some stupid bigot on my Facebook friends list posted that cute R. Lee Ermey meme that’s going around about “loosing” America to “goat humpers”. I’m not going to link to it, still less repost it here. You can Google it. I don’t recommend it, it’s absolutely vile.
Needless to say, that stupid bigot is no longer on my Facebook Friends list. But now the politics has come to me, and I need to speak if I’m going to have any peace.
1) Those who want to block Syrian refugees are Helping The Terrorists. Literally. Daesh would love it if the refugees had nowhere to go, if they had no choice but to convert or die, which is of course what the refugees are running from in the first place. And of course, they would like nothing better than to turn this into Islam vs. The West, rather than Daesh vs. Civilization. Of course, in their own minds – and the minds of the ghoulishly pleased bigots here in the U.S. – that’s already how it is. This isn’t speculation. They’ve said as much.
1a) By the way – call them Daesh, not ISIS. They hate that.
1b) Am I willing to take that chance myself? Neighbor, I already am. I live in New York City, the place that’s always either first or second on the list of places Our Enemies want to bomb. The city that had a hole in the goddamn sky for ten years after 9/11. I pass through Times Square and Penn Station every day. Every day could be the day that I get blown up by some God-bothering asshole. Of course, every day could be the day that a gas main blows up, or I get knifed for my wallet, or I get hit by a bus. Or hell, this is America. We could get a mass shooting that has nothing to do with anything at all. So you sit up in your town that The Terrorists have never heard of and don’t worry. Nothing’s going to happen to you one way or the other, and you get to be smug if I’m wrong. Meanwhile, I’m willing to risk it if it means saving lives and spitting in Daesh’s eye.
1c) Incidentally, so is France. We don’t get to call them cowards anymore.
1d) All this, and not a single one of the Paris attackers identified so far has actually been a refugee. It’s ridiculous how eager some people are to play into their enemies’ hands.
2) Fuck every one of you who is using this as a justification for your existing anti-Muslim bigotry. No, seriously. Fuck you sideways with a rusty chainsaw. How many of you have ever even seen a real live Muslim? Are they even real people to you, or just some sort of faceless Other? These people are my neighbors. They’re the guy with the Halal cart who takes a break to bow toward Mecca before returning to serving chicken and rice – quintessential immigrant success story with his own small business. They’re the people who went to the three mosques in my old neighborhood in Astoria and never caused a bit of trouble – good neighbors all. And they’re the people who, at my first job in NYC, would share their Friday sundown meal with the rest of the office during Ramadan. These people are better people and better Americans than the people calling them “goat humpers”.
2a) Judging all Muslims by the actions of Daesh is like judging all Christians by the actions of Dylann Roof. Two interesting points of comparison there: Roof’s victims were all other Christians; Daesh’s are mostly other Muslims. Roof tried to start a race war, but we made sure he failed. Daesh are trying to start a religious war, and we’re letting them win.
2b) If you’re afraid of “creeping Sharia Law”, then you need to affirm Separation of Church and State as an absolute principle of American law. If you want this to be a “Christian Nation”, with your particular sect’s dogma enshrined into law and your symbols as public monuments, you just create the precedent that whatever religion happens to be in the majority gets to make the rules to their advantage. That way lies endless sectarian conflict, with the group in charge oppressing everyone else out of fear that they’ll be overthrown and oppressed in turn. Most of human history, in other words. The Founding Fathers made some big mistakes, but they knew that the only way to avoid that was to build Jefferson’s “wall of separation between church and state”.
That’s all I’ve got for now. I wish I could believe I was done, but bigots never do learn and they never do quit. Meanwhile, now that I’m getting things off my chest, I’ve got a post that I probably wasn’t going to run this week, but now that I’m speaking my mind on things, tune in tomorrow.