Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Let's go to the Doghouse, for a much-needed injection of sanity

If you are like me, and checked the NYT's op-ed page recently, and thought, "Well, hey, at least Ross isn't talking about teh sex and teh gheys for once; maybe I'll click this thing because I like to maintain the fantasy that there is such a thing as a ReasonableConservative™ left in this country," and then you saw this crap …

The first America, not surprisingly, views the project as the consummate expression of our nation’s high ideals. “This is America,” President Obama intoned last week, “and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable.” The construction of the mosque, Mayor Michael Bloomberg told New Yorkers, is as important a test of the principle of religious freedom “as we may see in our lifetimes.”

The second America begs to differ. It sees the project as an affront to the memory of 9/11, and a sign of disrespect for the values of a country where Islam has only recently become part of the public consciousness. And beneath these concerns lurks the darker suspicion that Islam in any form may be incompatible with the American way of life.

This is typical of how these debates usually play out. The first America tends to make the finer-sounding speeches, and the second America often strikes cruder, more xenophobic notes. The first America welcomed the poor, the tired, the huddled masses; the second America demanded that they change their names and drop their native languages, and often threw up hurdles to stop them coming altogether. The first America celebrated religious liberty; the second America persecuted Mormons and discriminated against Catholics.

But both understandings of this country have real wisdom to offer …

… and were simultaneously filled with loathing and fury and a sense that it just takes too much motherfucking effort to keep shooting these overpaid clowns down, and, really, what would actually be so bad about kicking ten puppies and then plunging red-hot forks into your eyes, and … I don't even know what else, but a lot … 

Have heart. Mr. Riley to the rescue, in his usual brilliant form.

I'm tellin' you, New York Times: if you'd run these rebuttals every week, your Wednesday traffic and newsstand sales would go through the roof.

And who knows. Maybe we'd even have a country that measured up to the ideals I was once taught.

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