Monday, July 10, 2006

A Sunday Monday Sermon

I really should have been a priest. I would have been an excellent priest. I have the booming voice and good acting skills and an excellent memory for Bible quotes and I'm gloomy and melancholy and would have been perfect as the comforter of the afflicted and the afflicter of the comfortable. But of course I lack the dangling bits between my legs and that means God can't use me as an intermediary. Too bad.

The loss of the church is your gain, of course. Today's topic in my godless church of liberalism is the following: Why don't the godless liberals understand that we are at war, that we must all stand firmly behind our brave leader (perhaps casting tentative peeks over his broad shoulder), that nothing is as bad as the Islamic terrorists, that no dissenting voice must be heard in this our shared fear and terror?

This is not my question. But it's the question I've heard from many on the right and even from Christopher Hitchens who recently decided to make a beeline (sort of) towards the wingnut bosoms, after a lifetime of extreme left-wing writing. And it's the question many conservatives ask on their blogs.

The basic mistake in this question is the assumption that there are only two possible positions one can take: Either you are for George Bush and everything he does or you are for the terrorists and everything they do. This seems to be the way many wingnuts see the world, and that is why they think we are pro-terrorist if we are anti-Bush.

A very simple view of the world. Handy, too, because no further thinking is necessary, and then you can go out and yell at stupid liberals for being unpatriotic and pro-Islamofascist and you can yell at stupid lefty feminists for not realizing that they'd be silenced and in a burqua were it not for George Bush and his forces of light, and you can point out that in the U.S. nobody beheads people for being gay, even though they can't marry and you can say how moonbats have no ability to tell these two things apart in their blaming of Bush.

All that flows out smoothly and simultaneously. Too bad it's based on a false premise: the idea that one is either for Bush and against the terrorists or the other way round. In reality, I'm opposed to both the ideas of the Islamic terrorists and the vast majority of the ideas of George Bush. At the same time, too! And yes, this is indeed quite possible. And no, it does not mean that I don't want terrorists apprehended and punished appropriately. I do want that, but I believe that Bush's foreign policies are not achieving their goals. Instead, he is making terrorism more popular among many Muslims and he is making the Western civilization, including feminism, a less attractive option for the same people. This makes the future worse than the past has been. I predict more acts of terror to come.

I'm also quite capable of grasping that being killed for gayness is much worse than not being allowed to marry a person of the same sex, and I also understand that the world bin Laden has planned for me would be much worse than the world George Bush has planned for me, and if I had to choose between the two of them as dictators of this world I'd choose George Bush. But the point of democracy is that there are many choices, not just two extreme ones, and that we don't choose dictators. When was it declared that everyone must decide between these two religious armies, anyway?

Many wingnuts believe that we are already in a religious war, the one between Christianity and Islam, and that is what drives their arguments. From their angle all Muslims are enemies, and so it is ok to occupy a country which didn't cause the horrors of 911. It is even ok to cause a lot of civilian casualties or to kill a lot of innocents, because it's their innocents that are being killed, not ours.

I can vaguely understand how someone could feel like this. The person probably watched the World Trade towers fall a thousand times and now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Everything is frightening, everything causes flashbacks and reason has taken a vacation. I can vaguely understand this, but I don't have PTSD and I can still think, and I can still study world history to understand what actually happens in terrorism. The religious war is not here yet and if we act carefully and decisively at the same time we can keep it from happening.

George Bush is not acting carefully and decisively at the same time. He's resorting to nothing but violence to respond to violence and he's not too bothered about whom else he kills en route. I'd be pleased with this if I were bin Laden, because Bush is doing all that bin Laden wants the corrupt West to do. Osama bin Laden is now a hero in the eyes of many Muslims, and the credit for this goes to George Bush. Indeed, we might argue that not criticizing Bush's policies is what being pro-terrorist really means.
This was intended for Sunday but I fell asleep.