But American has certainly refined the concept better than most places in the world, if only because we have been oh so willing to transfer our aggressive fears and hatreds to so many different groups.
Religious hatred is not new. In fact, it prompted today’s religious right’s most reviled amendment–the first, which mandates a clear non-involvement of government with religious practices. At it’s inception the new United States of America was a collection of states each, for the most part, with their laws and practices that excluded (and often road out of town and sometimes executed) such groups as Catholics, Jews, Quakers, and Anabaptists.
What those who champion “our Christian origins” forget, is that the Pilgrims didn’t come to these shores to establish a community of religious tolerance, but rather to establish a practice of their version of Christianity without interference from other “papist” types.
We soon moved on from religion however, and took up the banner of “non-humanity.” By that I mean, peoples who were not white anglophiles were soon relegated to non-human status. This included native peoples, and then Africans, but came to include Italians, Irish, Chinese, and Eastern Europeans, and Latinos from anywhere.
All of these groups, to one degree or another, found the going tough in America where they were shunned, segregated, consigned to the lowest jobs and least pay. White American strutted as superior in every way. (Certainly we were not alone in this. Britain and much of Western Europe also played this game.)
Class, in America at least, has been down played, but there is little doubt that the upper echelons of our society have felt “entitled” to their privilege largely due to their superior breeding and determination. Ask any nouveau-rich just how long it takes to break into the blue blood of our major eastern cities. (Boston would be a key case in point.) No, it has been largely the working and working poor who continually have declared that we are a country of equality of opportunity.
So, I am not surprised nor shocked at the ugly and vicious attacks upon the Muslim community in this country. The rabble have been assured that it is always okay to blame someone other than themselves for their perceived woes.
Yet, the rhetoric coming from our so-called educated leadership is most troubling. Words and arguments drip from their jaws that one would have thought more likely to be from the minds of the KKK and other white-rights militia groups. We are used to that kind of ugliness and we have learned to turn a deaf ear as the best defense. Shun and ignore has been our winning motto.
Today, however, we find those whom we would not expect saying simply awful things. People like Newt Gingrich spew hatred with abandon against Muslims. Ditto Sarah (that woman is an idiot) Palin, though she can be forgiven to a degree since she is so ill-educated in public affairs.
But, and here is the irony, these are the same folks who rant and rail day in and day out that Obama and company are “destroying our freedoms.” One of those freedoms, they declare that is on the brink of destruction, is their ability to practice their religion.
Clearly, they do not offer this right to others. In reality they are really saying that Obama is not George Bush, who at least mouthed his preference for Christian rights as the best. Obama, following the Constitution, refuses to support efforts to raise Christianity above other faiths, and in fact has made it most clear in his remarks about the Islamic Center proposed in NYC, that government has no business voicing any “advice” about where a religious building is erected.
And that is perhaps the key point to be realized here. The extreme religious right, and it’s congressional and pundit minions, are not really about our freedoms at all. They are about instituting a “Christian” government in the US as they define it. They are about shredding the US Constitution whenever it becomes necessary to accomplish that goal. They are about revising history to “prove” their point of view.
People like Gingrich and Palin, have no real intent to alter the the Constitution, I suspect. They have a strong intention to use the mob mentality of the religious right and all the tea bagger unfocused anger to gain power for themselves. That in some sense is all the more egregious. As one of Gingrich’s ex-wives noted in a link we gave you last week, Newt gave up on principles when he decided he wanted fame and fortune and power more.
Palin, of course, is a study in opportunistic ranting. She neither knows nor cares about truth. She plays to anger and fear and desperation. She creates it when necessary, all in her pursuit to “be somebody.” We have John Sidney McCain to thank for that one.
The Becks, Limbaughs, Hannitys, they are just pure feeders upon the human flesh. They are the vultures and hyenas, fangs dripping with our blood, returning to their lairs with bloated stomachs, laughing and reeking of their own evil.
I can but smile when I think, that history will not be kind. Gingrich, Kyl, Palin, King (Peter and Steven), Bachmann, McCain, Graham, DeMint, (oh the list is interminable indeed), will be remembered for a very long time. But not as great states-persons. No not a one. But they will be remembered.
They will be remembered.
They will be remembered.