Pray for Mittens

As this enormous yawn that was September draws to a close—anybody catch that God-awful season premiere of The Office?—it has become nearly impossible to deny the teabaggers are on the cusp on something big in the November elections. Despite their public protestations to the opposite effect, I am quite certain the apparatchiks in the White House (i.e. the ones that haven’t already saluted the president before pole-vaulting to freedom), the courtiers in the speaker’s office, and the logo designers at the Democratic National Committee have already procured their spirits and Bicycle playing cards for the long night that awaits them on November 2.

For those of us who inhabit the out crowd—they have so many names: we’re everything but children of God—we must continue to lead the way whether the Democratic establishment appreciates it or not. In terms of electoral politics, 2010 is a lost cause and 2012 is the most relevant consideration—specifically the two people most likely to challenge our hopefully post-Obama nominee: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor.

Let’s do Sarahcuda first. While I was never convinced Sarah Palin hurt John McCain’s electoral prospects in the final analysis, I do believe the erratic, poorly-considered decision spoke to McCain’s lack of judgment which is an entirely different matter. (Barack Obama was always most fortunate in the opponents he faced.) Having established that, I have always maintained that Sarah Palin is essentially Barack Obama without the benefit of an Ivy League pedigree, a reasonably high IQ, and more talented ghostwriters. They possess the same sort of charisma—markedly different from recent smooth operators like Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan. These were self-effacing politicians who were sharp on their feet and could genuinely make you crack up. Dick Morris says he faced a recurring challenge in that Bubba was far more impressive extemporaneously than on the script. In those tumultuous 80s, Reagan’s foremost task was to spout killer witticisms in East Room press conferences while his minions ran wild. While W. had the ridiculous bit of business on the deck of that aircraft carrier, he also had the Bullhorn Speech under his Texas belt. Whatever one’s opinion of his miserable policies, incompetence, and larger stupidity, the Bullhorn Speech was an iconic moment in presidential rhetoric.  

Sarah Palin and Barack Obama are charismatic only because of the attractive exuberance they possess. Their cults of personality are products of modern identity politics. These are tabula rasas whose appeal transcend the normal workings of Politics for the cultural niches they represent. She is the hot, fecund Christian warrior woman; he the postracial black man on a fascinating journey of self-discovery.

There's more...

Where Will the Line Be Drawn on Anti-Muslim Remarks?

(Crossposted on FDL Seminal)

Take Note: This post is inspired by the September 17th episode of Real Time With Bill Maher. In the show, Maher broaches the question "Do you think people like Sarah Palin and Christine O’Donnell do or don’t want a war with the Muslims? Because I think they do."

The question itself seems like it should be more of a joke than a serious question, especially coming from a comedian like Bill Maher. However, stop and think for a second what this actually means.

The religiously motivated right (i.e. Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, etc. The list is numerous) aren’t afraid to show their feelings about where God stands in relation to governance in this country. The bible thumpers and Evangelical Christians are quick to label this a "Christian Nation" because of our founding fathers. Those who claim this, however, generally tend to neglect the fact that not all of the founding fathers were Christian. Oh yeah…and then there’s that thing in the Bill of Rights about Freedom of Religion. This, of course, also means freedom from religion if one so chooses.

In the recent years, and especially since Barack Obama came into the mainstream picture, Muslims have been falsely branded as an enemy to Christianity (among other things). In this day and age, when a Islamic mosque/community center can’t be built near ground zero without a horrendous national uproar by people like Palin, is it really that outrageous to pose the question mentioned by Maher?  . . .

My answer to that is no. Need a more physical example? Have a look at this campaign advertisement for Renee Ellmers, Republican candidate for Congress in North Carolina (It’s important to mention that she is endorsed by holy crusader Sarah Palin herself).

(via Huffington Post)

Candidates like Ellmers are using the age-old GOP tactic of fear-based campaigning and putting a new spin to it. Post 9/11 has seen an increase in anti-Arab sentiment, and specifically targeted to the Muslim religion in general. This has opened the door for candidates to exploit the irrational fears of a gullible population in order to get more votes. Not only is Ellmers’ campaign ad an embarrassment, it’s riddled with assumptions. Playing on the token term "victory-mosques" Ellmers has falsely characterized the entire Park 51 Cordoba mosque situation. This effectively sways voters and leads them to believe these falsehoods, and thinking that a vote for the other candidate is a vote for terrorist victory.

Ellmers uses terminology suggesting that she characterizes all Muslims as terrorists. "The terrorists haven’t won, and we should tell THEM in plain English No, there will never be a mosque at Ground Zero."

This makes me think that Ellmers views the people wanting to build the Park 51 center as terrorists. To go to such great lengths to get a vote, this shows a clear lack of rationality as well as intelligence regarding the entire situation she is describing. Not only does this alienate an entire population, but it grossly misleads a whole other population.

The part of this entire controversy that is the most heartbreaking to me are the Muslims who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks and their families. Due to such a blown up controversy, the near 60 Muslim Americans that perished that day are being overshadowed by Anti-Islamic sentiment from people like Renee Ellmers and Newt Gingrich. These people are Americans too, just like the Christians, Jews, Atheists, etc. that also lost their lives on that day.

The New York Times did a story of a woman widowed on 9/11 that happened to be a Muslim. Hadidjatou Karamoko Traoré’s husband was a cook at the Windows of the World restaurant in the World Trade Center. In this excerpt she describes praying to Allah at Ground Zero.

When she prays, she calls God Allah. Mrs. Traoré, 40, says praying in the pit feels entirely natural, even if some of those standing with her — widows and widowers, parents and children — blame her religion for the destruction of that day.

“That’s not fair,” she said. “It’s not because of Allah that these buildings fell.”

Mrs. Traoré is the widow of one of roughly 60 Muslim victims — cooks, businessmen, emergency responders and airline passengers — believed to have died on 9/11. It is a group that has been little examined, and no precisely reliable count of their ranks exists. But their stories, when told, have frequently been offered as counterweights in the latest public argument over terrorism and Islam.

(Source: NYT)

"It’s not because of Allah that these buildings fell."

A statement so simple, yet so powerful. A statement that many refuse to believe. It’s time to stop this blatant hatred towards the Islamic culture and the Arab world as a whole. Generalizing an entire population because of a few radical extremists goes against what this nation was founded upon, the principles of freedom and equality for all regardless of who/what you pray to…if you do at all.

Where Will the Line Be Drawn on Anti-Muslim Remarks?

(Crossposted on FDL Seminal)

Take Note: This post is inspired by the September 17th episode of Real Time With Bill Maher. In the show, Maher broaches the question "Do you think people like Sarah Palin and Christine O’Donnell do or don’t want a war with the Muslims? Because I think they do."

The question itself seems like it should be more of a joke than a serious question, especially coming from a comedian like Bill Maher. However, stop and think for a second what this actually means.

The religiously motivated right (i.e. Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, etc. The list is numerous) aren’t afraid to show their feelings about where God stands in relation to governance in this country. The bible thumpers and Evangelical Christians are quick to label this a "Christian Nation" because of our founding fathers. Those who claim this, however, generally tend to neglect the fact that not all of the founding fathers were Christian. Oh yeah…and then there’s that thing in the Bill of Rights about Freedom of Religion. This, of course, also means freedom from religion if one so chooses.

In the recent years, and especially since Barack Obama came into the mainstream picture, Muslims have been falsely branded as an enemy to Christianity (among other things). In this day and age, when a Islamic mosque/community center can’t be built near ground zero without a horrendous national uproar by people like Palin, is it really that outrageous to pose the question mentioned by Maher?  . . .

My answer to that is no. Need a more physical example? Have a look at this campaign advertisement for Renee Ellmers, Republican candidate for Congress in North Carolina (It’s important to mention that she is endorsed by holy crusader Sarah Palin herself).

(via Huffington Post)

Candidates like Ellmers are using the age-old GOP tactic of fear-based campaigning and putting a new spin to it. Post 9/11 has seen an increase in anti-Arab sentiment, and specifically targeted to the Muslim religion in general. This has opened the door for candidates to exploit the irrational fears of a gullible population in order to get more votes. Not only is Ellmers’ campaign ad an embarrassment, it’s riddled with assumptions. Playing on the token term "victory-mosques" Ellmers has falsely characterized the entire Park 51 Cordoba mosque situation. This effectively sways voters and leads them to believe these falsehoods, and thinking that a vote for the other candidate is a vote for terrorist victory.

Ellmers uses terminology suggesting that she characterizes all Muslims as terrorists. "The terrorists haven’t won, and we should tell THEM in plain English No, there will never be a mosque at Ground Zero."

This makes me think that Ellmers views the people wanting to build the Park 51 center as terrorists. To go to such great lengths to get a vote, this shows a clear lack of rationality as well as intelligence regarding the entire situation she is describing. Not only does this alienate an entire population, but it grossly misleads a whole other population.

The part of this entire controversy that is the most heartbreaking to me are the Muslims who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks and their families. Due to such a blown up controversy, the near 60 Muslim Americans that perished that day are being overshadowed by Anti-Islamic sentiment from people like Renee Ellmers and Newt Gingrich. These people are Americans too, just like the Christians, Jews, Atheists, etc. that also lost their lives on that day.

The New York Times did a story of a woman widowed on 9/11 that happened to be a Muslim. Hadidjatou Karamoko Traoré’s husband was a cook at the Windows of the World restaurant in the World Trade Center. In this excerpt she describes praying to Allah at Ground Zero.

When she prays, she calls God Allah. Mrs. Traoré, 40, says praying in the pit feels entirely natural, even if some of those standing with her — widows and widowers, parents and children — blame her religion for the destruction of that day.

“That’s not fair,” she said. “It’s not because of Allah that these buildings fell.”

Mrs. Traoré is the widow of one of roughly 60 Muslim victims — cooks, businessmen, emergency responders and airline passengers — believed to have died on 9/11. It is a group that has been little examined, and no precisely reliable count of their ranks exists. But their stories, when told, have frequently been offered as counterweights in the latest public argument over terrorism and Islam.

(Source: NYT)

"It’s not because of Allah that these buildings fell."

A statement so simple, yet so powerful. A statement that many refuse to believe. It’s time to stop this blatant hatred towards the Islamic culture and the Arab world as a whole. Generalizing an entire population because of a few radical extremists goes against what this nation was founded upon, the principles of freedom and equality for all regardless of who/what you pray to…if you do at all.

Where Will the Line Be Drawn on Anti-Muslim Remarks?

(Crossposted on FDL Seminal)

Take Note: This post is inspired by the September 17th episode of Real Time With Bill Maher. In the show, Maher broaches the question "Do you think people like Sarah Palin and Christine O’Donnell do or don’t want a war with the Muslims? Because I think they do."

The question itself seems like it should be more of a joke than a serious question, especially coming from a comedian like Bill Maher. However, stop and think for a second what this actually means.

The religiously motivated right (i.e. Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, etc. The list is numerous) aren’t afraid to show their feelings about where God stands in relation to governance in this country. The bible thumpers and Evangelical Christians are quick to label this a "Christian Nation" because of our founding fathers. Those who claim this, however, generally tend to neglect the fact that not all of the founding fathers were Christian. Oh yeah…and then there’s that thing in the Bill of Rights about Freedom of Religion. This, of course, also means freedom from religion if one so chooses.

In the recent years, and especially since Barack Obama came into the mainstream picture, Muslims have been falsely branded as an enemy to Christianity (among other things). In this day and age, when a Islamic mosque/community center can’t be built near ground zero without a horrendous national uproar by people like Palin, is it really that outrageous to pose the question mentioned by Maher?  . . .

My answer to that is no. Need a more physical example? Have a look at this campaign advertisement for Renee Ellmers, Republican candidate for Congress in North Carolina (It’s important to mention that she is endorsed by holy crusader Sarah Palin herself).

(via Huffington Post)

Candidates like Ellmers are using the age-old GOP tactic of fear-based campaigning and putting a new spin to it. Post 9/11 has seen an increase in anti-Arab sentiment, and specifically targeted to the Muslim religion in general. This has opened the door for candidates to exploit the irrational fears of a gullible population in order to get more votes. Not only is Ellmers’ campaign ad an embarrassment, it’s riddled with assumptions. Playing on the token term "victory-mosques" Ellmers has falsely characterized the entire Park 51 Cordoba mosque situation. This effectively sways voters and leads them to believe these falsehoods, and thinking that a vote for the other candidate is a vote for terrorist victory.

Ellmers uses terminology suggesting that she characterizes all Muslims as terrorists. "The terrorists haven’t won, and we should tell THEM in plain English No, there will never be a mosque at Ground Zero."

This makes me think that Ellmers views the people wanting to build the Park 51 center as terrorists. To go to such great lengths to get a vote, this shows a clear lack of rationality as well as intelligence regarding the entire situation she is describing. Not only does this alienate an entire population, but it grossly misleads a whole other population.

The part of this entire controversy that is the most heartbreaking to me are the Muslims who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks and their families. Due to such a blown up controversy, the near 60 Muslim Americans that perished that day are being overshadowed by Anti-Islamic sentiment from people like Renee Ellmers and Newt Gingrich. These people are Americans too, just like the Christians, Jews, Atheists, etc. that also lost their lives on that day.

The New York Times did a story of a woman widowed on 9/11 that happened to be a Muslim. Hadidjatou Karamoko Traoré’s husband was a cook at the Windows of the World restaurant in the World Trade Center. In this excerpt she describes praying to Allah at Ground Zero.

When she prays, she calls God Allah. Mrs. Traoré, 40, says praying in the pit feels entirely natural, even if some of those standing with her — widows and widowers, parents and children — blame her religion for the destruction of that day.

“That’s not fair,” she said. “It’s not because of Allah that these buildings fell.”

Mrs. Traoré is the widow of one of roughly 60 Muslim victims — cooks, businessmen, emergency responders and airline passengers — believed to have died on 9/11. It is a group that has been little examined, and no precisely reliable count of their ranks exists. But their stories, when told, have frequently been offered as counterweights in the latest public argument over terrorism and Islam.

(Source: NYT)

"It’s not because of Allah that these buildings fell."

A statement so simple, yet so powerful. A statement that many refuse to believe. It’s time to stop this blatant hatred towards the Islamic culture and the Arab world as a whole. Generalizing an entire population because of a few radical extremists goes against what this nation was founded upon, the principles of freedom and equality for all regardless of who/what you pray to…if you do at all.

GOP: When Stereotypes Come Home to Roost

As a party, Republicans have moved from mainstream conservatism toward the outer fringes of their tent.  In getting cozy with their ideological outer edge  they’ve ended up with some unsavory candidates, like Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, and Sarah Palin. In essence, the GOP has been out-righted by the far right.

The party spends a lot of time defending itself from charges of supporting only rich people or Big Business. But they complicate their defense by drafting a new Contract on America™ that’s heavy on tax cuts they can’t explain and inviting de facto lobbyists to help author it.

Huzzah for the GOP
Another charge leveled against the party is racism. While you can no more profile a Republican’s race relations philosophy than you can profile an illegal immigrant, sometimes stereotypes are true. This time the GOP stereotype is NY congressional Candidate, Jim Russell.

Russell became the party nominee after previous candidate, Paul Wasserman, dropped out. Now the party wants to sue to remove him from the ballot over charges that Russell is a racist.

Judging from his public statements about minorities – like his support for eugenics – his racism seems to show as plainly and unequivocally as a southern belle’s antebellum skirt. But, Republicans shouldn’t be  surprised since Russell has run as a Republican – and lost his primaries – no fewer than three times and they’ve never objected to him before.

The GOP frequently argues against the race card charge by pointing out they’re “the party of Lincoln”. The problem is Lincoln died 145 years ago and the GOP of today bears little resemblance to the GOP circa 1860. The not your great-great grandfather’s GOP often discriminates against all manner of people they don’t like – Muslims, gays, and Mexicans alike.  With a record like that and Russell’s, its little wonder why racial stereotypes of Republicans die about as readily as their stereotypes of race.

A Breath of Fresh Air
But in the Russell case, I’ll give Westchester GOP chair, Doug Colety, props. Not only did he denounce Russell, but said, “We’re not supporting him. We’ve withdrawn funds, volunteers, all resources. This is not the way Republicans think.” Although he also used the party of Lincoln gambit, he did take strong and positive action against a virulent racist. A breath of fresh air, someone who actually does hold people – including himself – accountable.

More’s the pity more GOPers don’t do the same. Instead of praising a Governor promoting unfair – and possibly illegal – legislation against immigrants it would be nice if they actually tried to help find a rational response to the very real problem of illegal immigration instead of spreading rumors of fictional headless corpses along the border. Or, instead of attacking Muslim’s freedom of religion and Constitutional rights, they might listen to some of their saner Christian brethren who call for religious harmony.

Although I don’t think I’d ever be one – but I’d also say, “never say never” – there’s nothing wrong with Republicanism or conservatism, it’s the people, like Russell and Angle & Co., who sometimes give it a bad name. It’s admirable that leaders like Colety accept that the buck stops with them. However, if you bolster your own stereotypes, don’t bitch when they’re used against you.

You’ll be better off as will the nation.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

 

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