Big Media Keep on Churning, Virgin Mary Keep on Burning

September 28, 2010

I’ve found myself for the past few days unable to write this post, having had a particularly crazy couple of weeks that have not contributed well to the idea of themed blogging. In fact, outside the various things going on (primarily via work), the one thing I’ve been thinking at length about is 9/11, and some unknown preacher’s threats of burning the sacred Islamic holy text, the Qur’an, in protest of the building of what the media has labeled a mosque ‘on Ground Zero.’ This was exacerbated by a Facebook friend’s app posting an American flag in support of moving the mosque away from Ground Zero. This whole thing has brought back memories to me; not simply of the tragic events of some misguided terrorists on 9/11/2001, but also of the days that followed. To be anyone who even appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent in the United States after 9/11 must have been horrible. Not only did you get branded as being in collusion with terrorists, but violent acts against people believed to be Muslims led to a genuine need to fear for your (or a loved one’s) life, regardless of whether you even did hail from the Middle East.

It disturbed me then, though I was admittedly awash in the same post-traumatic fear and dread that overwhelmed many Americans in the days after 9/11 (as well as in a questionable relationship that only confused me more in the emotional aftermath of those events). Now is another time though, and my thoughts are clearer. It was unquestionably wrong then, as it is now. We are taught that it is necessary to be educated about history’s mistakes, lest we find ourselves repeating them, yet we continue generation after generation to hunt and burn witches. Despite all the technology we have available to let people learn more and grow, and refute things that the powers of politics and the media try to use to sway our views, we are often content in subscribing to the vague and non-descript views of whoever screams the loudest, without a concern for facts or fairness. It happens with political races, human rights, you name it. We’ll scream at the top of our lungs as a nation in disgust over what we deem are inhumane policies in other countries, but God forbid someone wants to subject all persons equally to the privileges of being an American and people get bent out of shape.

With the progression of social consciousness (which despite what any of the money puppets at Fox News would tell you is not equal to political correctness) there are fewer and fewer persecuted groups that it is “ok” to hate. The LGBT community, which I proudly identify as one of my own, is on the final legs of the journey to where it is truly no longer ok to deny rights, abuse, or otherwise publicly denigrate (good natured humor notwithstanding), and so the masses are vulnerable to accepting propaganda around the “new gays.” In this case, we’ve seen a renewed vigor of anti immigration, with a particular focus on Mexico, but right after 9/11, and again now, it’s Middle Easterners. Not even Muslims specifically, because let’s face it—many bigots won’t even bother to find out a person’s religious affiliation if their skin is a particular tone and/or their features suggest Arabic ancestry. In reality, the greatest difference at present vs. the past few years is that there is a widespread dialogue occurring. If I were to ask people who are or have been identified as Middle Eastern in origin how the last few years have been for them in this country post 9/11, with regards to feeling respected and equal on all fronts as Americans, I’m guessing they’d admit to a few difficult situations along the way. So we now have both a challenge and a potential crisis as all of this comes to a head, and the zit on the nose of human nature that is all of this anti-Muslim bigotry bursts, and we’re all responsible for either cleaning up the mess, or spreading it all over our face. It’s an ugly metaphor, for certain, but no uglier than the issue it represents.

At this point, it’s time to put the bible away. Most people have abused, misrepresented, or otherwise selectively followed it in the past several hundred years anyway, so why start adherence now? It’s time to start adhering to the documents that formed the foundation of the United States of America, which ironically attempted to distance themselves from denominational religion. It’s time to stop looking at people with beliefs we do not ourselves fully understand as threats, and see them as opportunities, because for every zealot who condemns the Qur’an as a guidebook for evil, there are 10 others who will cite historically and scripturally accurate references where the bible has been such a guidebook.

If we cannot rise above the bullshit that we have allowed ourselves to roll around in over the past 10 years or so (not to mention all those years prior) with regards to Islamic people, then we have no right holding our noses up and “fuck you”ing the rest of the countries of the world, which is something I know that we’ve enjoyed doing so much since IDing ourselves as the coolest place on Earth.

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