We continue to learn how resilient and fragile our form of democracy can be. Yes, Benjamin Franklin! We have a Republic and most of us are trying to keep it! However, there is vast anger, ignorance, and hatred coming from the hearts of a segment of our population that is threatening our rule of law and government. Here’s a great explanation of the situation from retired Justice David Souter who spoke on this very topic several years ago. We’re not seeing a discussion of ideologies. We’re seeing bigots throwing hate bombs. These folks have forgotten both their civics courses and their civility.
This video and analysis comes from the Rachel Maddow news broadcast.
Here is that amazing clip of former Supreme Court Justice David Souter being frighteningly prescient about the decline of civic knowledge in America and the effect of that decline on the state of our democracy.
It’s hard to see how we can keep our Republic when we’re regaled with the autocratic leanings of extremely stupid, angry, and mean people that are our neighbors. It’s manifest in what they send to our Congress and it’s manifested in the last eight years of absolute politically-mandated gridlock by one of our major parties who has an entire constituency made up of an ignorant people that are proving they do not want to be free people no matter how much they scream ‘liberty’. They want white male privilege from years past. They want promises that no one can possibly deliver or keep. They’re losing because they want to stop change.
Republican Rep. Brian Babin on Thursday defended Donald Trump calling Hillary Clinton “a nasty woman” at the final presidential debate, saying “sometimes a lady needs to be told when she’s being nasty.”
Near the end of the debate Wednesday, Trump called Clinton “such a nasty woman” while she was answering a question on Social Security and Medicare. Trump’s comment elicited a strong rebuke online, where the #nastywoman went viral.
Appearing on the “Alan Colmes Show” on Thursday evening, Babin, a Trump supporter, was asked if he thought Trump’s comment was appropriate.
“You know what, she’s saying some nasty things,” the Texas congressman answered.
Colmes asked again if the comment was appropriate, to which Babin responded, “Well, I’m a genteel Southerner, Alan.”
“So that means no?” Colmes asked.
“No, I think sometimes a lady needs to be told when she’s being nasty,” Babin replied. “I do.”
“My assessment is that Mrs. Clinton has got so much baggage–” Babin added. “I think she’s done some nasty things.”
After Colmes repeatedly pressed the Texas congressman, he said he agreed with Trump’s assessment of Clinton as a “nasty woman.”
This is the mindset of the putrid form of patriarchy held up by the worst forms of American-styled christianity. It’s the one that has totally poisoned the Republican party. This crazy Congressman is the same form of “genteel southerner” that would prefer racial minorities be “put in their place” and any member of the GLBT that tries to live openly and authentically be put to death.
In his long career as an accomplished journalist working across the American South, Steve Crump has come face-to-face with hatred and bigotry.
The Emmy-winning journalist spent time reporting on the Ku Klux Klan in which he, a black man, interviewed members of the organization, people who by their very membership profess to hate him due to the color of his skin.
For all that, though, Crump, 59, told The Washington Post that he’s never felt the blunt hatred he did in Charleston, S.C., on Oct. 8.
Crump, who works for WBTV in Charlotte, was in Charleston working on a story about cleanup following Hurricane Matthew. Along with his camera crew, he was filming near the southern tip of the peninsula when he came across a young white man, he and later police identified as 21-year-old Brian Eybers, holding an iPad, apparently producing some sort of “citizen journalism,” as Crump put it.
The man, watching the WBTV crew, was narrating his story into the tablet when Crump caught wind of what he was saying.
“He basically said, ‘There’s a black guy here. No, wait a minute, he’s a slave. No wait a minute, he’s a ‘n-word,’ ” Crump told The Post.
Added Crump, “I went from 0 to 60 in an instant, just like that. I just turned to [my cameraman] and said, ‘We need to get this guy on tape.’” (The result can be viewed above, with offensive language bleeped.)
We have people that want all their problems solved by the government. They are not Democrats asking for Social Nets or investments in education. They are people that think if the government would just get rid of people not like them, they’d have everything. They are authoritiarians. They want people punished for nearly anything they deem offensive. They want women to stay home and be slaves to their husbands. They want nothing of folks who practice religions other than theirs and folks that have any kind of cultural or physical difference unlike theirs.
They believe absolute shit like abortions occur in the ninth month. They are illiterate of science and human physiology. They are part and parcel of the Trump cult. They are extremist Republicans. They are enabled by every Republican that won’t stand up to them or has quit standing up to them. The Republican party put together the FrankenTrumpers.
Donald Trump painted a picture of abortion in America in which doctors are “rip(ping) the baby out of the womb” the day before a baby is due to be born. However, medical experts have refuted that claim.
Trump said the following at the debate:
I think it’s terrible if you go with what Hillary is saying in the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.
Now, you can say that that’s okay, and Hillary can say that that’s okay, but it’s not okay with me. Because based on what she’s saying and based on where she’s going and where she’s been, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month, on the final day. And that’s not acceptable.
An estimate by the federal government reveals that 91.4% of abortions in the United States occur within the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. Only 1.3% of abortions occur later than 21 weeks into pregnancy. Zero occur on “the final day,” which by definition would not be an abortion, it would be classified as an infanticide.
The right wing’s appalling lack of knowledge about basic human reproduction and physiology continues to assert itself into the lives of woman and their families. It’s a government intrusion in to the decisions of doctors and patients and it stops the use of live saving and pregnancy preventing methodology. It is all because of a bunch of gullible religious lunatics follow a political and powergrabbing group of evil ministers we have roaming this country. The Farewells are one of many examples. It’s never been about life. It’s about white men controlling the lives of women and children. Here’s a great breakdown of what was right and what was wrong about that abortion discussion from the last debate by Dr. Jennifer Gunter.
First of all, we don’t “rip” anything in OB/GYN. In surgery, we use sharp dissection and blunt dissection, but we don’t rip. Some women do tear during a vaginal delivery, but that’s not a doctor ripping the baby out. Even with a forceps delivery, I wouldn’t call it ripping. We also don’t rip tissues during c-sections.
Perhaps we can forgive Donald Trump for not knowing this as it is hard to believe that a man who bragged that he doesn’t change diapers and said he wouldn’t have had a baby if his wife had wanted him to actually physically participate in its care would have attended the birth of his own children. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart as there is, after all, lots of blood coming out the “wherever.”
Trump’s statement, as incorrect as it may be, supports the fallacy of the due-date abortion. It is a common anti-choice narrative that women come in at 39 weeks and have some kind of abortion for fun or out of boredom and that we doctors are only to happy to comply. I’m sure some people think there are Groupons. The more graphic the description of the procedure, the better as it helps to distract from the facts.
Talking about abortion from a medical perspective is challenging when you are not a health care provider. Even someone familiar with the laws can get confused. For example, Mrs. Clinton made an error speaking about late-term abortion when she said it was a health of the mother issue. Typically, it is not (it’s almost always fetal anomalies). However, this error on Clinton’s part only underscores how important it is for politicians to not practice medicine.
To put it in perspective, 1.3 percent of abortions happen at or after 21 weeks and 80 percent are for birth defects. Put another way, 1 percent of abortions that are at or after 21 weeks and are for birth defects and 0.3 percent of abortions are at or after 21 weeks and are not for birth defects (some of these will be health of the mother and a very few will be for other indications)
Trump’s writers for his speech last night continued to show how mean-spirited, lying, and ignorant this section of the Republican Party has become. The Alt-Right and its minions show no civility in any instance. They can’t even hold it together for a speech for children’s charities in front of a Cardinal, a roomful of clergy, and plutocrats and politicians. Trump was booed quite a few times for jokes that were not jokes or funny. Many of his remarks were just outright horrible barbs at one of the nation’s leading public servants. You may not agree with Hillary Clinton on the issues, but you cannot deny her life of public service to this country and to its children without being seriously misled, wrong, ignorant or evil. Trump actually had a good joke or two but couldn’t restrain himself to just jokes.
Ever the entertainer, Trump was probably responsible for the biggest laugh of the night but also the event’s loudest boos — until this year, booing was unheard of at the dinner.
The high point of Trump’s remarks started as a comment on media bias. Complaining about why the media is so much harder on the Trumps, Trump brought up how the media loved Michelle Obama’s recent speech but then “my wife gives the exact same speech and people get on her case. And I don’t get it. I don’t know why.
That was a joke. It was not out of line and it got his point of media bias across to the audience. Then he degenerated into just calling Clinton corrupt then saying she had no business being here because she’s anti-catholic. The booing ensued. It would be shocking under normal circumstances. It is no longer shocking with Trump and the current crop of Alt-Right wing nuts in charge of the Republican Party.
Never before have we seen anything like this since right before the Civil War. Look how that turned out.
Trump’s announced many times now that he’s reserving judgement on the outcome of this national election. Meanwhile, the polls show him losing much ground. He never held the high ground but even the swamps are turning on him. Obama has never been more popular. The margins of the polls in many states indicate that the Democrats will take the Senate and are closing in on taking the House. If this happens, we will know our Republic is still working.
But, what will we do with the losers? It doesn’t appear like they want to wake up to the fact that they are seriously out of step with the majority of the American people. It’s a relief to know that most of us are not like them in anyway. But we know one thing. They have guns. They have anger. They’ve been enabled and babied for too damn long.
Have a great day! Let us know what’s on your reading and blogging list today!!!
I’m rather late getting this written today. It’s due to stuff I like to refer to as samsara surfing activities. It’s the entire basic Buddhist thing on the nature of this existence. My washing machine overflowed last night in the laundry closet which has created a huge mess. Thankfully, I seemed to have fixed the machines issues for the moment but the floor is just inundated with water. Also, a friend of mine of over 35 years had a stroke on New Year’s Eve and passed on Wednesday. She was only 65 and had just retired about six months ago. Both of these items come under the heading of I’m not surprised, not shocked, expected it to happen sooner than it should but I’m still asking why now? Why now when I can least afford fixing up stuff and when I had put off talking to her because my voice was shot from the flu. Timing is everything still, I guess and mine sucks atm.
Also, I still need to mention the timing of the font bill for the blog. It’s in two days and I need to beg for donations. I don’t need anything huge but a little from some of you would get it off my plate and then we have the blog free and clear again until October.
So, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to write a very cohesive post today but I will share what’s been attracting my attention even as distracted as I am. My artwork today is the Tibetan Buddhist Wheel of Life or Wheel of Samsara. It reminds us that nothing lasts for ever. Everything changes and eventually reformats.
By Samsara (bhavachakra) we are talking of all existences that are conditioned by: ignorance, suffering and the unexplainable flow of time, often represented by Yama holding the wheel of life. Nirvana, on the other hand, represents the world unaffected by negative emotions, which by definition is the nature of true happiness.
The notion of a rotation or cycle, is explained by the fact that humans or beings, as I will call them for the remainder of this article, do not occupy a stable place within Samsara, but depending on their Karma will pass from one type of existence to another.
I’m pretty comfortable in the idea that we all reformat constantly. I’m even fairly resigned to being okay with reformatting to just energy and dust. But damn, it’s always difficult to live the idea that time rolls over us. Things we love never last long enough. Things we want to go away seem to stick around for ever. So, we just have to surf along knowing that’s the case.
So, here’s a new journal study from Science entitled: The Anthropocene is functionally and stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene which essentially deals with time and our existence here on earth. I quote the abstract’s background here.
Humans are altering the planet, including long-term global geologic processes, at an increasing rate. Any formal recognition of an Anthropocene epoch in the geological time scale hinges on whether humans have changed the Earth system sufficiently to produce a stratigraphic signature in sediments and ice that is distinct from that of the Holocene epoch. Proposals for marking the start of the Anthropocene include an “early Anthropocene” beginning with the spread of agriculture and deforestation; the Columbian Exchange of Old World and New World species; the Industrial Revolution at ~1800 CE; and the mid-20th century “Great Acceleration” of population growth and industrialization.
So, the bottom line is this: Human impact has pushed Earth into the Anthropocene, scientists say. New study provides one of the strongest cases yet that the planet has entered a new geological epoch. This is a scientific way of stating the Buddhist idea that we’re creating our own hell realms.
There is now compelling evidence to show that humanity’s impact on the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and wildlife has pushed the world into a new geological epoch, according to a group of scientists.
The question of whether humans’ combined environmental impact has tipped the planet into an “Anthropocene” – ending the current Holocene which began around 12,000 years ago – will be put to the geological body that formally approves such time divisions later this year.
The new study provides one of the strongest cases yet that from the amount of concrete mankind uses in building to the amount of plastic rubbish dumped in the oceans, Earth has entered a new geological epoch.
“We could be looking here at a stepchange from one world to another that justifies being called an epoch,” said Dr Colin Waters, principal geologist at the British Geological Survey and an author on the study published in Science on Thursday.
“What this paper does is to say the changes are as big as those that happened at the end of the last ice age . This is a big deal.”
Phil Gibbard, the University of Cambridge geologist who set up the working group initially, told the Guardian the Anthropocene epoch might be more effective as a cultural concept than a scientific fact.
“We fully recognize the points [in the new study’s research]: the data and science is there,” Mr. Gibbard told the Guardian. “What we question is the philosophy, and usefulness.”
Popularity for an idea that the Holocene “entirely recent” epoch is giving way to a new epoch ruled by humans has grown since the Nobel laureate atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen used it in 2000. In 2013 alone, the word appeared in 200 peer-reviewed articles, Joseph Stromberg reported for Smithsonian Magazine.
Popularity alone does not change geologic fact, however, and some of the scientists who specialize in rock layers have said the Anthropocene epoch has more pop-culture appeal than scientific validity. Agriculture made its mark on Europe’s rock layers as long ago as 900 AD, Whitney Autin, a stratigrapher at the SUNY College of Brockport told Smithsonian Magazine, so the Anthropocene epoch, “provides eye-catching jargon, but from the geologic side, I need the bare bones facts that fit the code.”
The SOTU address will be next Tuesday. We will have a live blog as usual. The President is going to be doing something unusual to call attention to the many many victims of US gun violence.
President Obama will pay tribute to victims of gun violence by leaving one seat empty in the first lady’s guest box at Tuesday’s State of the Union address.
Obama told supporters Friday that the gesture is meant to send a message of Congress that they must act to make it harder for guns to fall into the wrong hands.
“We want them to be seen and understood; that their absence means something to this country,” he said on a conference call with Organizing for Action.
“We want to tell their stories, we want to honor their memory and we want to support Americans whose lives have been forever changed by gun violence and remind every single one of our representatives that it’s their responsibility to do something.”
The announcement is another indication of how the president will address the contentious debate over gun control in his final State of the Union.
President Obama on Friday vetoed legislation that would repeal much of ObamaCare, the first such measure to reach his desk since it became law in 2010.
Obama used his veto pen without fanfare on a legislative package rolling back his signature healthcare law and stripping federal funding from Planned Parenthood.In a lengthy message to Congress, Obama said repealing the law would reverse improvements made in the nation’s healthcare system.“Because of the harm this bill would cause to the health and financial security of millions of Americans, it has earned my veto,” the president wrote.Obama noted that congressional Republicans have attempted to roll back the law more than 50 times, to no avail.“Rather than refighting old political battles by once again voting to repeal basic protections that provide security for the middle class, members of Congress should be working together to grow the economy, strengthen middle-class families, and create new jobs,” he wrote.The veto was the eighth of Obama’s presidency and the sixth since last year, when Republicans took over both chambers of Congress.
Even though Obama long threatened to veto the measure, Republicans touted the vote as an important step toward reversing the Affordable Care Act if the party wins the White House in November.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Friday pledged that Congress would vote to override Obama’s veto. The party lacks the two-thirds majority necessary to achieve that, however.
Radical Christianists continue to plague women’s health and constitutional rights. Here’s an interesting thing going on here in New Orleans where the city’s street banners are displaying political speech and not the usual event ads. Our lone Republican woman/city council member is challenging the city to take them down in line with the “offensive” logic used to remove Confederate Statues on public property. Stacy is definitely her own kind of woman and has spent her terms on the city council generally doing things that unnerve a lot of groups.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu should explain why anti-abortion banners festoon the St. Charles Avenue neutral ground, since he has decided to be the arbiter of what symbols are so offensive that they must be removed from public property, City Councilwoman Stacy Head said at a recent meeting.
Head didn’t mention the monuments specifically, as she spoke at a committee meeting Wednesday (Jan. 6), but her comments were a clear reference to Landrieu’s push to have Confederate-related statues declared nuisances and removed from public property.
As a woman, Head said, she feels like the banners are a nuisance since they “negatively influence the perception of my civil liberties as a woman. I believe I’m being discriminated against.”
Head asked the administration to explain in writing the process by which the city decides what banners are allowed, and how much money they generate.
The mayor should explain at least that much since, “We are looking to the admin to decide which objects and symbols are appropriate for the city on city property. Which ones offend us. Which ones are negative,” Head said. As a woman, it offends her to have to drive by them and be reminded of the oppression, she said. Does that give her standing to call for their removal?
Head called the banners “political signage for a particular position that I perceive as a nuisance. I perceive it as offensive. I do not see it is a promoting awareness.”
A city spokesman said the city allows “community awareness banners” on city streetlights provided they are not commercial in nature and do not endorse any specific candidate or another political campaign up for a vote. The St. Charles banners did not appear to violate that standard when the application to hang them was submitted, he said.
The banners are the usual fetus porn used by the group.
Remember, along with the SOTU, we will be live blogging both of the upcoming primary debates. The next Republican debate will be: Thursday, January 14, 2016. The next Democratic debate is scheduled for Sunday, January 17, 2016.
The first caucuses and primaries are in February and are being held in Iowa and New Hampshire respectively.
Hopefully, the Republicans will be tossing a few of their clowns to the curb and we’ll have a better look at their “best” and “brightest”.
I absolutely cannot believe the hatred coming out of the Republican Party and its christianist grass roots these days. It’s downright embarrassing that my Governor is leading the charge. There are so many of these stories at the moment that they certainly need the light of day given that we’ve just recognized the 70th anniversary of NAZI concentration camps designed for the Jewish, the homosexual, the intellectual, and others considered outcasts of their society.
This first disturbing piece comes from Texas where Texas Muslims gathered peacefully to recognize democracy and to teach their children about how we do things in this country. Unfortunately, many haters gave them the wrong lesson.
They came out by the hundreds from Dallas, San Antonio and Houston, mostly women and children, girls with silver-bowed shoes and pink owl backpacks. They sang the national anthem and prayed.
But less than 20 feet from where the group of Texas Muslims gathered on the steps of the state Capitol in Austin, a small handful of protesters told them exactly how they felt about their visit.
“We don’t want you here!” shouted one. Others yelled, “Go home,” “ISIS will gladly take you” and “remember 9/11.”
“You don’t have to dress that way! Take it off!” came from a woman holding an Israeli flag. “Islam is the war on women!”
Earlier in the morning, Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, commented on the gathering.
“I did leave an Israeli flag on the reception desk in my office with instructions to staff to ask representatives from the Muslim community to renounce Islamic terrorist groups and publicly announce allegiance to America and our laws. We will see how long they stay in my office,” she wrote on Facebook.
Thursday marked the seventh annual Texas Muslim Capitol Day in Austin, when hundreds of adherents of Islam visit the Capitol to meet with lawmakers and learn about the democratic process. This year, however, is the first that’s been marked by virulent anti-Islam protests, said Ruth Nasrullah, a prominent Muslim blogger from Houston who also hosted the event.
Christine Weick, who said she was originally from Michigan but now is “on the road,” at one point stormed the succession of speakers, grabbing the microphone and yelling, “Islam will not dominate the United States, and by the grace of God, it will not dominate Texas.”
She was carted back to her spot with the other 12 to 15 protesters holding vigil behind a wall of law enforcement officers. “Muhammad is dead!” she and other chanted, referring to the Muslim prophet.
As the group of Muslims continued the event by singing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the interruptions persisted, with the protesters yelling, “Islam is a lie!” and “No Sharia here!”
Mustafaa Carroll, the executive director of the Houston chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, called the behavior “very frustrating.” Carroll said this was the first year protesters showed up since Muslim Capitol Day began.
“I’m more concerned with state leaders and what they say than I am about anybody else because they are the lawmakers,” he said.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations has sent a letter to House Speaker Joe Straus asking whether White had violated ethics rules by instructing her staff to ask Muslim visitors to her office to declare their allegiance to the United States.
“Our ethics question is: Has Rep. White violated any House rules in creating such an internal office policy that is selectively being enforced to discriminate against certain religious minorities trying to meet with her or her staff?” the letter asks. “Are House members prohibited from making constituents take oaths before meeting with their elected representatives or House staff?”
In a statement, Straus said: “Legislators have a responsibility to treat all visitors just as we expect to be treated — with dignity and respect. Anything else reflects poorly on the entire body and distracts from the very important work in front of us.” His statement did not address the ethics complaint.
As of mid-morning, the Israeli flag was still on the desk in White’s office. By noon, she had released a follow-up Facebook post that added: “I do not apologize for my comments. … If you love America, obey our laws and condemn Islamic terrorism, then I embrace you as a fellow American. If not, then I do not.”
But at 3 p.m., White released a new statement saying she welcomed “all of my constituents who would like to come and visit our office in the Texas State Capitol.”
“As law-abiding American citizens, we all have the privilege and the right to freedom of speech granted to us by the First Amendment,” she wrote. “… As a proud Texan and American I fully denounce all terrorist groups or organizations who’s [sic] intent is to hurt and destroy the great state of Texas and our nation.”
This was not the first time White has aired her concerns about Muslims on Facebook.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s bigotry has been over the top recently. He called for “cultural assimilation” suggesting that if every one acted white, everything would be just fine. However, he fails to look around the country to find there are many examples of non-Muslim people of faith who are not assimilated to the culturally white WASP majority. Peter Weber-writing for the Week–suggested Jindal take a look at Brooklyn where there are ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jews that live and dress as their European ancestors have for many years.
“There is a way of thinking by many on the Left in America, which disturbs me greatly,” Jindal says: “The notion that assimilation is not necessary or even preferable.” Liberals, he adds, “think it is unenlightened, discriminatory, and even racist to expect immigrants to endorse and assimilate into the culture in their new country. This is complete rubbish.”
Jindal says he believes that religious and ethnic groups make America stronger when they come to embrace America’s culture and values. But not every group qualifies:
Are they coming to be set apart, are they unwilling to assimilate, do they have their own laws they want to establish, do they fundamentally disagree with your political culture? Therein lies the difference between immigration and invasion….
To be clear — I am not suggesting for one second that people should be shy or embarrassed about their ethnic heritage. But I am explicitly saying that it is completely reasonable for nations to discriminate between allowing people into their country who want to embrace their culture, or allowing people into their country who want to destroy their culture, or establish a separate culture within. [Jindal]
Well, off the top of my head, I can think of a couple of groups in the United States that have established “a separate culture within” America, probably “fundamentally disagree” with America’s “political culture,” and are still an integral part of America’s rich cultural and religious tapestry.
The Amish communities in Pennsylvania and Ohio, for example, don’t drive cars, use smartphones, or allow their members to wear synthetic fabrics. Jehovah’s Witnesses consider themselves a global movement and don’t serve in the U.S. armed forces or salute or pledge allegiance to the American flag; they also don’t accept blood transfusions, or celebrate Christmas or birthdays. And is Jindal really going to tell the Cajun and Creole communities in his home state to stop speaking Louisiana French?
If Jindal is serious about his idea, though, I have a challenge for him: Go to Brooklyn.
In Williamsburg, in Crown Heights, in Borough Park, there are sizable and growing insular communities, or “courts,” of ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jews. They have their own customs, language (Yiddish), 19th-century style of dress, political and religious leaders, and, in some instances, laws. Women typically don’t have the same rights as men. The Hasidic communities of Brooklyn and elsewhere in New York and New Jersey have not assimilated to American culture.
Peter Beinart writes that Jindal “wants Christians to stand apart from secular society, but condemns Muslims who do the same.”
In London, Jindal said “non-assimilationist Muslims” threaten the West not merely because they support acts of violence, and not merely because they adhere to Islamic rather than national law. Most fundamentally, they pose a threat because they refuse to embrace the cultures of the countries to which they immigrate. Denouncing the left’s claim that “it is unenlightened, discriminatory, and even racist to expect immigrants to endorse and assimilate into the culture in their new country,” Jindal insisted that “it is completely reasonable for nations to discriminate between allowing people into their country who want to embrace their culture, or allowing people into their country who want to destroy their culture, or establish a separate culture within.”
In his London speech, Jindal made little effort to define American or European culture except to associate it with “freedom.” So it’s hard to know exactly which aspects of it he believes Muslims refuse to embrace. But in his speeches last year on religion, Jindal discussed American culture at greater length. And his verdict was surprisingly harsh. “American culture,” he told students at Liberty University, “has in many ways become a secular culture.” Many churches, he declared, now espouse “views on sin [that] are in direct conflict with the culture.” In case students hadn’t gotten the message, Jindal repeated himself: “our culture has taken a secular turn.”
Then he asked a rhetorical question: “What do we do about it?” His answer: resist. People of faith, he argued, must recognize that they are fighting a “silent war” against the secular, liberal elite. And they must keep waging that war no matter how much of a cultural minority they become. “Our religious liberty,” he insisted, “must in no way ever be linked to the ever-changing opinions of the public.
So let’s imagine a scenario. A devout Christian emigrates from Nigeria to a progressive American college town, where she takes up work as a pharmacist. She quickly finds herself at odds with the dominant culture around her. Co-workers mock her modest dress and her insistence on interrupting work to pray. When she calls homosexuality a sin, they denounce her as a bigot. Ultimately, her employer fires her for refusing to dispense contraception.
Based on his speeches at Liberty University and the Reagan Library, Jindal’s advice to this woman would be clear: Wage “silent war” against the culture that oppresses you, even if you’re a minority of one. If necessary, “establish a separate culture within” the dominant one so you can raise children who fear and obey God.
Now imagine that our devout Nigerian is a Muslim. Suddenly her resistance to the dominant culture makes her not a hero but a menace. Jindal supporters might resist the analogy. Christians, they might argue, don’t kill cartoonists or establish their own separate legal systems. But Jindal’s point in London was that the problems with Muslim immigrants go beyond issues of violence and law. The core danger, he insisted, is their refusal to assimilate into the culture of the countries to which they immigrate. And since Jindal has already declared that American (let alone European) culture is secular, any immigrant who refuses to assimilate into it is, by his definition, a threat. Our Nigerian pharmacist should never been given a visa.
Why point out the contradiction between Jindal’s heroic portrayal of Christian non-assimilators and his demonization of Muslim ones? Because it exposes his lofty talk about culture and identity to be an elaborate ruse. The only principle he’s really defending is anti-Muslim bigotry.
It’s amazing to me that 70 years after the scapegoating of European Jews led to the “ultimate solution” we could still be living with this kind of hatred propagated by elected officials. It is odd that the same people waving flags of Israel understand so little about the history that led to the demand for a Jewish state. Of course, they are only thinking that the fruition of their end times dreams comes only with building of a temple on what is now a holy Islamic site.
I only hope that people of good will speak out against this bigotry.
What is on your reading and blogging list today?