If there is one good thing about August, it must be September. There is just something about the August heat that sends people right around the bend. In politics, the searing heat waves of the eighth month of the year have brought about another epic culture war and freak-out caused by the usual suspects of the right wing blogosphere.
Last year it was the death panels, remember that? The whole month of August was spent on the fictional prospect that President Obama would set up a committee to decide which part of the over 65 crowd would get to see another birthday. It was a lovely bit of total clap-trap that had nothing to do with any policy proposal. It was a beautiful sucker-punch delivered to gonads of the body politics.
You think with that bit of political history just a year in the past, Team Obama would be ready for the T.E.A. party right to go all Andrew Golota on them again. But no, here is Team Obama, back in the ring with nary a cup protector in sight.
The vicious uppercut into the family jewels this time goes by the name of “The Ground Zero Victory Mosque.” You got to hand it to the cultural warriors of the Right, they really know how to power-pack the lies and misinformation.
The right does what it always does, it finds an easy target, and then pummels it for all its worth. Since 97% of the public have next to no idea about Islam, the right can easily conflate the actions of the handful of nihilist numbskulls that pulled off the 9/11 outrage with the religion of Islam. It is as if the Saudis decided they would judge the actions of Christians everywhere by the antics of the KKK. Thus does Islam become the new Red Scare of the 21st Century for the hard core right.
It is not very hard to see through what the right is doing. They are simply being bullies. They are picking on the uncool kid in class because they can get away with it. The new kid on the playground dresses funny, s/he looks different from the other kids, s/he brings oddball lunches to the cafeteria, and has no real friends to protect him/her. The bullies, being bullies, go after this weak kid in glasses who has no real protectors, and torment the child mercilessly.
Seen in this context it is fairly simple to see what the “adults” need to do. They need to tell the bullies “stop being a bunch of jerks, leave that child alone.” Sadly, we seem to be short of adults in modern politics. They all seem to have forgot the lesson most of us learned on the grade-school playground during first grade : you don’t give in to bullies.
The agenda of the Right Wing is no deep dark secret. They literally broadcast it every weekday. It is right there at the surface for all to see. Just peel back the projection, and you have the master plan. Does the Right talk about Muslim triumphalism? Then it must because they plan Christian Triumphalism. Do they talk about Muslims bent on world domination? Then it must because they plan on right-wing domination. Do they accuse Muslims of misogyny? Then it is because they are soaking in misogyny right up to their necks. Go down the list. Every accusation hurled at Muslims ( or liberals, or progressives) is part and parcel of the Rights fevered dream, what they want to do the rest of us. Amanda Marcotte has this exactly right, they are engaged in tribal warfare. Their objective is the crushing of every one who does not fit into their narrow interpretation of a full human being.
Most Democratic leaders are unable to deal with this inconvenient truth. They are congenitally unable to deal with bullies. They lack the grounding or the tool kit to deal with tribal warriors of the right. In Democratic elite world such us vs them ideology is frowned upon; it’s bad manners, and worse upbringing. The elites of the Democratic Party tend to see the radical ultimatums as a negotiating ploy instead of what those ultimatums actually are, an act of intimidation.
The Islamophobes of the right are definitely winning this particular argument. There is a good chance that Park 51 might get moved, or worse not built, thanks to muddle-headed Democrats looking for cover. Instead of telling the haters “There is no victory mosque, its a community center, and we are going to build it; go play in heavy traffic.” Democrats have opted for “yes they have the right to build the site; but they should not exercise that right.” That is game, set and match for the haters. A right that can not be exercised is no right at all. Surrendering of inalienable rights emboldens the haters, and enervates civil libertarians. The unwashed middle gets pushed a little further toward the dark side; into believing that there is something innately perverse, innately wrong, innately dangerous, innately evil, with Islam. All because the Democratic leadership cannot stand up to a bunch of whiny bullies.