I whole-heartedly support the right of every American human to make an idiot out of him- or her-self. It’s our God-given right to be stupid and to let everyone know it, if we’re so inclined. Hence t-shirts that say things like “Fart Loading” (complete with Windows-inspired progress bar), Wal-Mart, and UFC.
Most idiocy harms no one and reflects poorly only on the specific idiot or group of idiots. No harm, no foul. Just a giggle.
But, from time to time, a group of idiots transcend their own idiocy and do something so asinine, so mind-bogglingly stupid, that it rubs off on others around them. Sometimes the idiocy in question is so egregious, it reflects on society in general and actually threatens lives.
No, I’m not talking about American cultural exports like Coca-Cola, KFC, and Lady Gaga. Although the description applies to all of them too.
I am talking about the True Believers at the cynically named “Dove World Outreach Center” (three lies for the price of one) in Gainesville, FL. These are the imbeciles who plan to have themselves a little Quran-burning party on Saturday, which happens to be the 9th anniversary of That Day.
I am at a complete loss to understand the upside to this action. What good could possibly come of it? Burning holy books? How many things are wrong with that little three-word question?
This impossibly stupid, intolerant, and dangerous move has at least served to introduce us to grey Kaiser Wilhelm mustache and polyester sport coats of Rev Terry Jones, for all the good that does us. I hesitate to judge anyone who is being excoriated in the media, but it’s hard not to in this case. If a man is judged by his ideas, then Rev Jones needs to be on life support. Or, actually, not.
Who supports this idea? I guess Jones’ demographic does – white, deeply religious, big Southern dummies. I further guess some part of the people who oppose the “Ground Zero Mosque” like this idea too, although I think the argument about the mosque has a lot more validity than this exercise in dip-shittery (by the way, I think the building of the Islamic center in lower Manhattan is a fantastic idea – what better way to show the tolerance and, really, the greatness of America?). Does any other human with a shred of intelligence think this is a good idea? What positives could possibly come of it?
The military, the Afghans, moderate Muslims, the Vatican, the Euros, everyone has come out against the idea in the strongest possible terms.
Does anyone think this is going to “teach radical Islam a lesson”? Muslim radicals will use this event, if it occurs, to inflame the uneducated masses in the Islamic world. There will be violence. There will be destruction, injuries, and deaths. Some of those deaths may well be Americans.
Rev Jones, are you prepared to have that blood on your hands? Because it will be.
Are radical and uneducated Muslims wrong to go on rampages because someone sets a match to some paper? Of course they are. I don’t support their rights to start violent protests. But I can’t do anything about their reaction. They are what they are. And what they are is predictable.
If we know what the reaction is going to be, why on Earth would we perform the first action? Do two wrongs make a right?
And aren’t we supposed to be the tolerant ones? Wasn’t this country founded on, among other things, the idea of freedom of religion? Hell, aren’t we better than this?
By preventing a mosque being built, or burning a stack of holy books, we are abandoning important, long-held principles. And we are playing into the hands of the radicals. We are doing their recruiting work for them. They want to portray the West in general, and the US in particular, as anti-Islam.
Say what you will about President Bush, but he did go out of his way to make it clear we were not at war with Islam, only with the radicals who perverted the religion for their own purposes. That message has been lost.
Now, with these actions, we virtually guarantee the world-wide perception that the US is, in fact, anti-Islam. Because that’s exactly what these actions are.
I’m embarrassed by these idiots. I have no wish to be lumped in with them. I have no desire for anyone to think they speak for me. I resent their hypocrisy, their attention-seeking, and their smug self-righteousness.
Hey Rev Jones, if you feel so strongly, if you REALLY want to make a statement, I’ve got a suggestion for you: Why don’t you fly your stack of Qurans over to Kandahar and set ‘em alight in the street there?