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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Where Is The Outrage?

News stories like these don't make me anxious to return to the U.S. this summer. First, a post about a city councilwoman who--along with a U.S. Congressman--spoke at an anti-Islam rally in California. The councilwoman advocated the murder of Muslims. Earlier in the year, she told attendees at a Muslim charity event that she knows Marines who would be happy to kill them. "Protestors" at that charity event also shouted the most unbelievable epithets and threats at attendees.

And here is a link you must follow. This story situates the aforementioned protest within other instances of hatespeech and overt violence and has an absolutely amazing video of the proest, showing tea party members shouting at young Muslim children to "go home," telling them that the Prophet was a pervert, and that they're parents rape children. You must watch the video if you are at all unsure of whether or not you have an obligation to call out others--relatives, co-workers, whomever--when they express support for the leaders of this social movement around a dinner table or in an email forward. Make no mistake. It is a social movement. Comprised of extremists on the lunatic fringe, but a movement no less.

Why do these stories make me less excited to return to the U.S.? Not because of what these people think. I know they represent a small minority of heartless racists. No. Because of the lack of outrage. There is next to no outrage. There is very little organized resistance to the racism and xenophobia, not to mention public policy initiatves (see for instance the government hearings into whether or not Mulsims are loyal...which these "small government" supporters are willing to pay for with tax dollars?!). I'm not asking this question rhetorically. I honestly want to know: Where is the outrage?

Because wherever the outrage and resistance exists, I want to be there. Sign me up. If there is a group that is putting their bodies between children entering a Mosque or charity event and "protestors" telling them their parents are rapists and terrorists and their Prophet is a pervert, sign me up. You know, kind of like how Egyptian Muslims lined up to put their bodies around Coptic Christian churches there that had been targeted by al qaida, an image that apparently these idiots in California missed.


  1. Sometimes I am really and completely sickened at how rhetoric driven we've become and unwilling to let people talk or just be accepting of others points of view.

  2. Hey, Jay. What's happening? I hear what you're saying. I'm definitely sympathetic to the open, "libertarian" attitude: there's a multitude of ideas and opinions and as long as you don't infringe on my daily life, go for it (see footnote below!). But there's another part of me that's just deeply bothered that somebody would think it's even remotely acceptable to heckle little kids walking into a Mosque or a charity event (even if that "charity event" is supporting something you think is politically wrong). I suppose at the end of the day, there's little I can do to change how people 'think,' especially if they are so strongly invested into an ideology that they're willing to protest.

    But I guess aside from those questions about changing, or even legislating, how people think (see for example "hatespeech" laws), there are elements in this story that cross some very specific lines: death threats (I know some people who'll help them reach their virgins in paradise) being the most obvious and odious.

    For me, that "libertarian" thought is best encapsulated in some old Kris Kristofferson lyrics: "Some folks hate the whites, who hate the blacks, who hate the clan. Most of us hate anything that we don't understand."