Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Deer in the Headlights Pt II

Debbie Almontaser got tossed to the Angry Heathen Gods of Political Correctness. She was trussed up and put on the slab , her heart ripped out an eaten by the high Priests of the Freeper Religion. Seems we can no longer just give an honest answer to a question. We are now absolutely required to spout some mystical formula to appease the Rush Limbaugh crowd.

Reread the quote by Randi Weingarten it should make your skin crawl. In the political landscape or New York City, dare I say the U.S.A. there is no alternative to "denouncing" the Intifada. There are no other possible views. The bad faith of the Israeli government and the consequent blow-black by the desperate Palestinians is not even given an airing.

This is not to say that there are aspects of the Intifada are self-defeating, there are many aspects of the Palestinian uprising that hurt the cause more than they help. This is not to justify suicide bombing and other forms of extremism. While there is good reason for Palestinian rage, we are long past the point were violence helps their struggle for self rule. Israel holds all the cards here. Violence only plays into the hands of the Likud fanatics.

The main point is that we need to keep the doors of debate open. Intifada is just a word, it does have a root, it has a history long before the present political movement in the occupied territories.`The word can and should be separate from the images masked gunmen, rock throwing youths and suicide bombings.

Unfortunately we are no longer able to talk about these things in a cool, rational matter. Intransigent political partisanship driven by ideological extremists is the order of the day. Everyone is out for their pound of flesh, especially the Freeper right.

The ditto-head attack zombies that populate rigid right have offered no quarter. They have grasped onto the idea of the "War of Cultures" like starving leech to a big fat water buffalo. They really believe that ALL Muslims have a secret agenda of re-establishing the Caliphate. Don't bother them with facts, they know what they know-period.

The left is however catching up, witness the intransigence of the "offended" parties in the Don Imus case. They wanted and got Imus' head on a platter. Don Imus was a buffoon, he was a 'shock jock' it was his job to rattle cages. Yes he said some vile and outrageous things. He said them and people listened. Do you really believe that his audience has changed their juvenile mindset? Do you really think the firing of Don Imus was a blow for racial justice?

Our nation is dieing in slow degrees. Our ability to really discuss things in a rational way has atrophied. Our politics have become a zero sum game. We are no longer looking for compromise were are now looking for scalps. There are so many taboos, so many ideas that can not be given an airing. We are forced to choose sides, either with the terrorists or your against them.

In this mindset teaching Arabic becomes conflated with teaching extremist forms of Islam. Somehow the ACLU would not be suing the school district if tried to teach ANY form of Islam in the public school system. Somehow the Freepers forgot about "no establishment" clause of the first amendment. Hardly surprising because their Dominionist allies have been termiting away at the wall of separation between church and state since the 1970's. In their zeal to set up a "Christian" nation or in their minds to re-create it, they are shocked, shocked to find out that bringing religion in to the secular schools might mean that the Muslims get to play too. Of course the irony of them destroying the one sure preventive of a Califate state in the USA, the Constitutional separation of Church and state, totally passes them by.

This is only possible in climate of fear and loathing. It is only possible when a win-at-any-cost mentality grips politics. This is the bitter end of Richard Nixon's strategy of using fear to win votes. The coarsening of the public discourse began with Nixxon's "Southern Strategy" with "law and order" and other code words used to scare Southern and other whites into voting Republican. Ronald Regan's welfare queen was yet another example. After deamonizing a whole group of people based on their skin tone, it was easy to demonize political opponents.

The only good news on this front is that it looks like the right wing smear machine is running out of gas. While the politicians are still kow-towing to radical right, the general public has had more than enough of Reganite Rule. Blinded by their own ambition and ideology the far right is still steering the Republican ship toward the jagged shoals at full speed.

The smash-up hasn't happen yet though. The agents of the intolerant right still have there Megaphones, they still can demand their pound of flesh. Anyone who does not genuflect and speak the magic formulas is verbally tarred and feathered. There will be no discussion of how Israel might have contributed to the excesses of the Intifada, no discussion of how the Palistinans might have the right to push back at those Israeli excesses. No, the Israelis are the good guys and the Palistinans are the bad guys. The Israelis can do no wrong and the Palistinans can do no right. This is the received wisdom of Ms. Randi Weingarten.
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