Thursday, September 9, 2010

Koran Burning and NYC Mosque--"Ball of Confusion"

Recently, a blogger I respect and admire wrote of his anger and fear. The upshot of his post dealt with the uncertainty that today’s world brings. His conclusion? Confront the fear of failure and his anger will melt away.

Boy, do I admire that. I can’t emulate it, but I can sure admire it.

Right now, I have no fear of uncertainty. And neither am I angry. Resigned is more like it. Weary is more like it. Beaten down? Probably.

I’m not going to get into all the personal aspects of this. Instead, I’ll touch on just a couple of things in our world that I just don’t understand and which have essentially left me feeling hollow. Or, as the title of this little essay says—“Ball of Confusion”. I’m 59 years old and still confused and befuddled by this world and how people can be so gosh-damned stupid, ignorant and selfish.

Many of the goody-two-shoes have written their scathing opinions of the church in Florida proposing a “burn the Koran day” on September 11 and of the proposal to build a Mosque/Islamic Community Center near “ground zero” in New York City. I feel like Tom Hanks in “Big”, a 13 year old in a man’s body sitting in a meeting waving his hand for attention, “I don’t get it”! And I guess I’m just stupid. “I don’t get it.” This stuff is a no-brainer.

How many Americans get incensed when someone in Tehran burns an American flag during a demonstration? How many Americans got incensed when draft protesters burned the American flag at Berkley and a hundred other college campuses in the 60’s to protest the draft—and even went so far as to propose a Constitutional Amendment to ban the practice? How many of these “good Christian people” would be furious if a religion gathered a wheelbarrow full of Bibles and had their own book burning? Would they start a “Christian jihad”?

It’s not a matter of worrying that the Islamic world might get angry and use this as a “cause célèbre” to recruit more terrorists. It’s just wrong. It’s racist. It’s arrogant. It’s as much a blasphemy as if the Bible were being burned. It’s hypocritical.

On to New York. Let the people proposing the Mosque build it wherever they can legally build a facility of that nature just like it were a Catholic or Baptist or Jewish community center. The U.S. was founded on religious freedom (check the 1st Amendment someone). Build the center as a symbol of that religious freedom--as a symbol of the freedom that cannot be exercised in Tehran or Riyadh or Kandahar. Anything less is shameful.

Does somebody always have to be the enemy? It seems like that is often the case in human dynamics or in national aspirations. As Pogo said, “I have met the enemy and he is us”.

We’ve got a hell of a lot more problems than those being hammered on by a flake of a preacher in Florida or by some of the good citizens of New York City. In both instances the cry is for “freedom and tolerance for me and people just like me or people who I say are deserving and not for anyone else”. That’s just utterly asinine.

We’re better than that. And these actions make us just like “them”. Whoever “them” is. “Them” of course is people who don’t look like us or act like us or who believe something different from what we do. And we’re better than that, dammit.

I get weary and worn down watching this crap every day splayed out on TV or in the newspaper. But the media frenzy must be fed which tends to feed us like voracious piranha desperate for whatever scraps we can gobble up.

So I’m just benumbed. My brain refuses to focus or work intelligently on these and other issues. The world has increasingly become that “Ball of Confusion” with focus on the minutiae and not enough emphasis on the basic values we hold dear. It’s all a perversion. And that makes me fearful. Which makes me angry. Because there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.

We had to get General Patreus on TV the other day saying that it’s not a good idea to insult Islamic believers because it might make it more difficult for U.S. troops to do a job which is already incredibly difficult. Why didn’t President Obama turn Vice President Biden loose? I would have loved to hear someone from “official” Washington say something blunt. Biden could have said something like “this is totally effed-up” in response to both the proposal to burn the Koran and the opposition to the Islamic Community Center.

But then again, it all comes back to what my Dad used to say: “Opinions are like assholes; everybody has one.” All I can say is, “I don’t get it”.

So, I don’t write much anymore, except on “safe” topics. It’s a “Ball of Confusion” and I’m having a hard time sifting through it, let alone writing about it.

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