Is it just me, or some other folks out there getting tired of the ignoramuses and bigots stealing all of the oxygen out of the public discourse?
By DICK CAVETT
All this talk about the mosque reminds me of two things I heard growing up in Nebraska.
I had a 6th grade teacher who referred to American Indians as “sneaky redskins” and our enemies in the Pacific as “dirty Japs.” This abated somewhat after I asked one day in class, “Mrs. G., do you think our parents would like to know that you teach race prejudice?” She faded three shades.
The rest of that year was difficult.
As a war kid, I also heard an uncle of mine endorse a sentiment attributed to our Admiral “Bull” Halsey: “If I met a pregnant Japanese woman, I’d kick her in the belly.”
These are not proud moments in my heritage. But now, I’m genuinely ashamed of us. How sad this whole mosque business is. It doesn’t take much, it seems, to lift the lid and let our home-grown racism and bigotry overflow. We have collectively taken a pratfall on a moral whoopee cushion.
Surely, few of the opponents of the Islamic cultural center would feel comfortable at the “International Burn a Koran Day” planned by a southern church-supported group (on a newscast, I think I might have even glimpsed a banner reading, “Bring the Whole Family,” but maybe I was hallucinating). This all must have gone over big on Al Jazeera news.
I like to think I’m not easily shocked, but here I am, seeing the emotions of the masses running like a freight train over the right to freedom of religion — never mind the right of eminent domain and private property.
A heyday is being had by a posse of the cheesiest Republican politicos (Lazio, Palin, quick-change artist John McCain and, of course, the self-anointed St. Joan of 9/11, R. Giuliani). Balanced, of course by plenty of cheesy Democrats. And of course Rush L. dependably pollutes the atmosphere with his particular brand of airborne sludge.
Sad to see Mr. Reid’s venerable knees buckle upon seeing the vilification heaped on Obama, and the resulting polls. (Not to suggest that this alone would cause the sudden 180-degree turn of a man of integrity facing re-election fears.)
I got invigorating jolts from the president’s splendid speech — almost as good as Mayor Bloomberg’s
— but I was dismayed, after the worst had poured out their passionate intensity, to see him shed a few vertebrae the next day and step back. Read the rest of this entry »