Thursday, August 19, 2010

Since This Still Seems to Have America Up In Arms...

I'm utterly baffled by many of my otherwise intelligent friends who have utterly lost their freakin' minds over the "mega-mosque"/"monster-mosque"/"super-mosque" which is supposedly being built across the street from/in the shadow of/on the site of (and, yes, I heard that from one of the blonde airheads on Fox News just yesterday) Ground Zero, so that Muslims can continue thumbing their noses at us by insisting that we put our First Amendment money where our mouths are.

The most baffling part of it for me is that at least two of these people are NEW YORKERS!!! They know where Ground Zero is. They know where Park Place is.  And yet, they persist in using some nine-year-old grudge as an excuse to promote hatred and intolerance.

No. 1 - We don't use 9/11 as an excuse to espouse MORE hate and MORE intolerance.  I realize we were all raised to (soto voce whisper) hate the brown folks. And, because we do have a First Amendment, I suppose you get to do that, as long as you keep it to your own damn self. The people who died on 9/11 do deserve the respect... they deserve enough respect that haters don't use their deaths as an excuse to hate more.

No. 2 - THE MOSQUE IS ACTUALLY NOT A MOSQUE, it's a combination cooking school and community center (complete with a basketball court) that just happens to include a prayer room (what with Muslims needing to pray three times a day and all, this is a matter of practicality).

And, finally...

No. 3 - (And this is rather an irrelevant point, since even if the misnomer "Ground Zero Mosque" were accurate, it would still be Constitutionally protected by the First Amendment) THE PARK51 COMMUNITY CENTER IS NOT WITHIN SIGHT OF THAT SACRED OF ALL AMERICAN HOLY PLACES, GROUND ZERO, but actually located two blocks away, on Park Place. (see map below)

Rest easy, haters... your precious Ground Zero is protected from the desecration of a mosque in its sight-lines.  You'll still only be able to see the Burger King and the souvenir stands which profit off the tragedy by selling memorabilia from 9/11 (because I guess that's okay, huh).  Not to mention the nudie bars and OTB storefronts that punctuate the neighborhood.

Not that that really has an effect on property values in the area.  What was once a thriving residential and commercial area has nearly become a ghost town, with residents and retailers having fled years ago.  And with no new Trade Center project in the immediate future, the fortunes of those who have remained behind are in doubt.

But that's okay.  Make sure we keep those dirty Allah-worshipping foreigners (many of whom are native-born Americans, not that the haters care) from opening a community center across the street from what used to be that OTHER holy American icon destroyed on 9/11 -- The Burlington Coat Factory (What? They destroyed the Burlington Coat Factory? BASTARDS!!!) It might actually begin a revival of business and breathe life into the surrounding community, but don't you mind about that. That shouldn't concern you.

I've had enough... I have been patient with you long enough.  The facts of this situation are ridiculously easy to research, and the fact that the haters haven't done it, but just plunged in to hatred full-bore has now worn through my last nerve.

Got it, haters? Do you understand now? Can you visualize your blind ridiculousness and folly? Can you put your racism on hold for about two and half seconds to take a look at the map and realize you're being manipulated by the right-wingers to do their hating for them?  If you want to be a puppet of the Right, be my guest (this is also Constitutionally protected). But you should know that's what you're doing.

Just don't do it in my presence. Because I warn you, in a war of words with me, you'll lose.  And I'll crush you.  Crush you.  I have now decided to hate the haters. I realize that that goes against the principles of my Buddhism. But I hate the haters so much, I'm willing to brave the horrible karma just to do it. Shut your mouths. You're not helping.

(The map was pulled from this article by Foster Kramer at The Village Voice blogs.)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Operation: Iraqi Freedom is Over.

As of this writing, MSNBC reports that the last 440 combat soldiers, accompanied by embedded MSNBC correspondent, the remarkable and incredible Richard Engel, are less than a half an hour from the Kuwaiti border, thus ending Operation: Iraqi Freedom.

All remaining Americans are strictly on an advisory capacity, mostly technicians and office workers, as well as independent contractors overseeing the restoration of infrastructure and utility service.  Unlike Viet Nam, Americans are operating under strict orders not to engage in combat, other than in self-defense.

MSNBC has complete coverage, including Engel, embedded with the troups, and Rachel Maddow in Baghdad.

To mangle a well-known line from literature: This is not the end of the beginning, but merely the beginning of the end.

P.S. Keith Olbermann just used my "beginning of the end" line. Stealer....

Monday, August 09, 2010

History, In All It's Shapes and Sizes

Today is a day of anniversaries.

Historically, it is the 65th anniversary of the day the atomic bomb, nicknamed Fat Man, was dropped just outside of Nagasaki, killing nearly 40,000 Japanese. Nearly a week later, Japan's emperor, Hirohito, agreed to accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration -- full and unconditional surrender -- which finally led to the end of World War II. The Emperor officially surrendered to General Douglas MacArthur on September 2nd, 1945, closing out a sad chapter in world history that left all of the main players with a mixture of relief and regret for the rest of their lives. It's important to remember this event -- to never forget it and the events that brought it about -- because it is important to remember that there truly is no such thing as "moral war." War is hell, as well it should be, and can never be -- should never be -- sanitized for our protection. (Are you listening, President Obama?)

On a more recent and local historical front, today is the anniversary of the murder of Sharon Tate and five others (including her unborn child) in her home on Cielo Drive, by members of the Manson family. I believe this is also an important event to remember, since members of the Manson family who participated in this murder and the subsequent killings of Lino and Rosemary LaBianca seem to think that there should be an expiration date on their penance. To their way of thinking, they've suffered enough after their many long years of imprisonment, and so should be paroled. To which I say... have always said... will always say.... The day the victims climb up out of their graves and start living again, you ladies can get out of prison. Until then, just chill, bitches.

And, finally, on a personal note -- today is the nineteenth anniversary of my mother's death. It was sudden and unexpected, and left us both with many things unsaid. We might never have been able to say them, given her debilitating illness, but it would have been nice to have had the chance to try all the same.

Okay, so maybe these aren't the happiest of anniversaries to contemplate. But I believe all of our history -- the happy and the sad -- can teach us what we need to know to get through our days. If nothing else, these events can teach us that we should never let a day go by without doing our best to connect with each other on a compassionate and personal level. We should take neither peace nor freedom for granted. We should understand that human nature, while capable of the most brilliant displays of love and generosity, can also be capable of inflicting great pain and evil, and we should always be on our guard to prevent it.

Mostly, these events should be a lesson that life is precious and easily vanquished, and no word of love should go unspoken, no act of affection go undone.

So that's the story of this day in history -- histories, personal and public.

Happy August 9th to you all. May it be a day of peace and tranquility.

Photo credits: Nagasaki photo from Life Magazine; Sharon Tate publicity photo; publicity still of Lynn Bailey during rehearsal for "The Starcross Story", photographer unknown.