Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fear and Hatred Do Not Equal Patriotism (Updated)

If you really knew me, you would never send me a message like this:

One Pissed Off Housewife

Thought you might like to read this letter to the editor ~ ever notice how some people just seem to know how to write a letter?.

This one surely does!

This was written by a Canadian woman, but oh how it also applies to the U.S., U.K. and Australia


Written by a housewife in New Brunswick , to her local newspaper.

This is one ticked off lady . . .

'Are we fighting a war on terror or aren't we? Was it or was it not, started by Islamic people who brought it to our shores on September 11, 2001 and have continually threatened to do so since?

Were people from all over the world, not brutally murdered that day, in downtown Manhattan, across the Potomac from the capitol of the USA and in a field in Pennsylvania?

Did nearly three thousand men, women and children die a horrible, burning or crushing death that day, or didn't they?

And I'm supposed to care that a few Taliban were claiming to be tortured by a justice system of a nation they are fighting against in a brutal insurgency.

I'll start caring when Osama bin Laden turns himself in and repents for incinerating all those innocent people on 9/11.

I'll care about the Koran when the fanatics in the Middle East, start caring about the Holy Bible, the mere belief of which, is a crime punishable by beheading in Afghanistan ..

I'll care when these thugs tell the world they are sorry for hacking off Nick Berg's head, while Berg screamed through his gurgling slashed throat.

I'll care when the cowardly so-called 'insurgents' in Afghanistan, come out and fight like men, instead of disrespecting their own religion by hiding in mosques and behind women and children.

I'll care when the mindless zealots who blow themselves up in search of nirvana, care about the innocent children within range of their suicide bombs.

I'll care when the Canadian media stops pretending that their freedom of speech on stories, is more important than the lives of the soldiers on the ground or their families waiting at home, to hear about them when something happens.

In the meantime, when I hear a story about a CANADIAN soldier roughing up an Insurgent terrorist to obtain information, know this:

I don't care.

When I see a wounded terrorist get shot in the head when he is told not to move because he might be booby-trapped, you can take it to the bank:

I don't care.

When I hear that a prisoner, who was issued a Koran and a prayer mat, and fed 'special' food, that is paid for by my tax dollars, is complaining that his holy book is being 'mishandled,' you can absolutely believe, in your heart of hearts:

I don't care.

And oh, by the way, I've noticed that sometimes it's spelled 'Koran' and other times 'Quran.' Well, Jimmy Crack Corn you guessed it, I don't care!!

If you agree with this viewpoint, pass this on to all your E-mail friends. Sooner or later, it'll get to the people responsible for this ridiculous behavior!

If you don't agree, then by all means hit the delete button. Should you choose the latter, then please don't complain when more atrocities committed by radical Muslims happen here in our great Country! And may I add:

'Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering, if during their life on earth, they made a difference in the world. But, the Soldiers don't have that problem.'

I have another quote that I would like to share AND.......I hope you forward all this.

One last thought for the day:

Only FIVE defining forces have ever offered to die for you:

1. Jesus Christ

2. The American Soldier

3. The Australian Soldier

4. The Canadian Soldier

5. And the The British Soldier

One died for your soul . . . the other four, for your freedom.

 I responded... you know that I cannot keep my mouth shut.

"I found this disgustingly bigoted and xenophobic. We live in a country founded on religious tolerance and embracing immigrants, not persecution of foreigners and people of other religions, although our history is rife with examples to the contrary. Muslims are simply the latest victims of our fear. Shame on you for perpetuating and promoting this irrational fear. From the Catholics to the Chinese to the Japanese during WWII to communists in the 50's there has always been some group, be it the KKK or Joseph McCarthy who have played on our fears of those who are different or seem foreign to concentrate power for themselves. I refuse to give into those fears" which I got the following response:

"Hey Matt go open a cell phone store in one of those counties!
Doubt they'll accept you like we accept them!
i woulD say ask Nicolas Berg. but he lost his head to those assholes! Just because you have those views don't mean they wouldn't kill your ass in a heartbeat. Just because your not Muslims.
Just galdd [sic] you not drawing my blood again! lol!"

Since they doubled down, I felt inclined to respond in kind:

"And that is exactly what makes this (or if we actually practiced what we preach) such a great nation. I am not allowed to even travel to and step foot in Mecca because I am not a Muslim and Saudi Arabia is a nation that has a state religion. But we, in theory, welcome everyone with open arms. I know Muslims, I've worked with Muslims and I have never, ever thought twice about their ideology or wondered if I should be afraid of them.

"But we don't live up to that ideal. There are many who are trying as hard as they can to make sure that we don't keep the promises we've made to ourselves and have stated to the rest of the world. We have an open society, which invites that which is foreign to come and find a home with us. We have told the world for centuries that we are a nation of immigrants and that immigrants and the diversity they've brought to our national fabric is what makes us strong. But there are those in our country that play on peoples' fears that manifest from things that they don't fully understand or feels different. And sadly our country has a long history of persecuting its own citizens for being different. In 1790 we passed an immigration law that stated that only 'free white persons' can become naturalized citizens. In the 1850's the Know Nothing Movement sprouted out of a hatred for Irish Catholics who had come to this country after the Irish Potato Famine. In the 1880's it was the Chinese Exclusion Act, which disallowed Chinese to enter the country... After that was the California Land Act which precluded people of Japanese descent from owning property. After the Civil War the KKK formed to persecute Blacks, Catholics and Jews. During WWII we forced over 100,000 Japanese-Americans into internment camps out of fear. Senator Joe McCarthy used fear of Communism to grab power for himself and destroy his enemies in the 50's.

"Islamophobia is only the latest manifestation of this darker side of the American psyche. In 30 years or so we will look back at this time in our history and we, as a country will feel ashamed that we allowed our fear to allow our own government to spy on our own citizens... that we allowed ourselves to be duped into invading a country that was in no way a threat to us... that we have allowed our fears to make seven million of our fellow Muslim citizens feel unwelcome in their own country. I, for one, will be able to look back at that time, shake my head in shame at the fear and hatred that a good portion of the country allowed itself to get caught up in and rest easy in the fact that I didn't allow myself to be swallowed up in the ignorance that blinded so many of my fellow citizens.

"And I have to say that I am damn glad that I am not drawing your blood any more either..."
 What happened to Nicholas Berg was a real tragedy. But just like every white southerner is not a member of the KKK on the prowl to lynch African-Americans, not every Muslim is a suicide bomber trying to become a martyr. People who try and perpetuate this fear and doing this country a great disservice. This fear can only weaken us, paralyze us and allow us to too easily betray the principles upon which this country was founded. I will have no part of it and I will not sit idly by and let this ignorance go by unchallenged.

- - - - - - - - - - -
The idiocy continues...
"Are you a fucking Idiot? Read the fucking thing again!
and thanks for the history lession! [sic] NOT!
The point is if you hate me and want to kill me I will not sit back and say 'Oh they are miss understood [sic]' Man up ya mamby pamby candy ass! Now we know why you didn't serve in the military.
Go protest so they can open the mosque at groung [sic] zero too!
And I bet those radical muslims [sic] would surly [sic] like to draw your blood!

My reply:
"I DID serve in the U.S. Army for four years. My old unit has been in and is still Baghdad since 2002. I served my country. I am not an idiot nor do I claim to be the smartest person I know. But I know that I am not naive enough to think that Muslims are the only ones committing inhumane atrocities in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have no claim to the higher moral ground - at this point we have far more innocent blood on our hands than any terrorist does.

"If you want to ignore history, go right ahead. Wrap yourself up in your fear and ignorance if it makes you happy, safe and secure. I would rather go through life with my eyes open. I am proud of my country is spite of its flaws. If it takes demonizing someone else to make you feel more American then I pity you."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Free Speech vs. Idiotic Speech

All of these pundits and politicians on the right who are calling for the de-funding of NPR over the firing of Juan Williams simply do not understand what the first amendment is about. As his employer, NPR has the right to set the tone of their broadcast, not Juan Williams, and not any other journalist or commentator in their employ. To go on another "news" outlet, as a representative of NPR and say things that run counter to the tone that the network tries to set is a flagrant showing of disregard for his employers. If an employee of Burger King went to McDonald's after work in his uniform, sat down and ate in the dining room and told everyone within hearing range that he eats there because BK sucks would be employed for very long?

Juan Williams has the constitutional right to say whatever may be rattling around in his empty head. But as a paid commentator for a news outlet trying to set a tone that is free of sensationalism and grounded in fact if he goes on another show and makes statements that run counter to that aim he has to deal with the fact that there are repercussions for that kind of behavior. He works for NPR, not the other way around. If Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly did a 360 on Fox and start endorsing the president's domestic agenda, pointing out the racism in the Tea Party and trying to point out that all Muslims are not terrorists they wouldn't be working for Fox much longer. And their firing would not be a suppression of their free speech, it would be an employer exercising their right to make sure that the tone of their programming suits their vision or agenda. Period.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Government is NOT the problem

"...government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem."
- Ronald Reagan,  1981
I have a real beef with this idea. I have a real beef with the G.O.P., and I am not talking about the loonies on the fringe who say that the Department of Education should be done away with. I have a beef with the ones who have disparaged the stimulus act while attending ribbon-cutting ceremonies for projects, paid for by the stimulus, while taking the credit. ...with the ones who complain that the stimulus didn't work and that they have a different approach whose emphasis would be tax incentives when the makeup of 40% of the stimulus was tax incentives. I'm tired of the lies, the sheer, bald-faced dishonesty and the doublespeak. And I am frustrated that people cannot see the stupidity of this. At the Foley/Malloy debate, Tom Foley pledged not to raise taxes until the current budget deficit of three billion dollars in the state of CT has been remedied. If it takes X number of dollars to run the state and you are three billion dollars short of that number it seems ludicrous to say that you are not going to consider a tax raise. His reasoning? If the Democrat-controlled state legislature gets any additional funds they will spend them. Well I should hope to hell so! It's not like the state has a big piggy bank we're trying to fill up!

I'm tired of people complaining about paying taxes. I hate the idea of "starving the beast." Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that "taxes are the price we pay for civilization." We have the GOP constantly talking about how Social Security is a ponzi scheme, how unemployment benefits make the jobless lazy and unwilling to get a job, and on and on. They are more concerned about getting tax breaks for corporations and millionaires than providing a safety net for the people in the worst financial predicament. They are dying to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans but unwilling to extend unemployment benefits for people hit the hardest in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. I've been on unemployment for quite some time now and let me tell you something: It sucks! This is not something that anyone in their right mind would want to milk for any period of time. We've had make some serious cuts, swallowed a lot of pride and make some moves that while helpful in the immediate are going to hurt in the long term, like cashing in my 401k. But the unemployed are the greedy ones... not the hedge fund managers and millionaires and billionaires whose tax cuts' lost revenue make up over 50% of our current deficit. While we're on the subject of the deficit, how can anyone in their right mind complain about the deficit while wanting to extend those tax cuts? That's an idea that a ten year old can consider at realize that it's not logical.

To me, if you have a problem with our government, you have a problem with our country. I would call you un-patriotic. I am proud of our government and think it is disgusting how the GOP senators have done everything in their power to block, delay or derail legislation, confirming federal appointees, and so on. Come November I am going to pull the Democratic lever on every single nominee, not because I vote blindly along party lines but because I feel that the GOP and its ideas are dangerous and un-American. The moderates of the GOP have been pushed aside by the clowns and the crazies. I don't like the idea of deficit spending but I'd rather have that than a group of legislators who are willing to screw over the least fortune in our country to help the richest and have the nerve to call it fiscal responsibility.