Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Cartoons and the politics of fear

It's been another long day. I'm tired and I'm hellish cranky. I haven't been able to post all day but I did a lot of reading, so I'm finally going to weigh in on the cartoon controversy. I don't in any any way condone the violence but I don't think it wouldn't have come to violence if the hordes of war mongering, Sheehan bashing, Bush supporters hadn't all of sudden found an adamant affection for the First Amendment. These champions of free speech, who can't wait to exercise their right to post cartoons mocking some else's religion beliefs, are the same ones who hold an irrational hate against Cindy for exercising hers. The whole bloody thing would have died down in a day with the first protest, except it became the new Natalie Holloway moment in the media and the blogland.

Reading the blogs and the comments I see the war mongers want to send a few well placed nukes to eliminate the Islamic holy places, to send "those people" a message -- as if a few thousand demonstrators represented the entirety of the Muslim population. And the media that plays these demonstrations as they did, are the same "reporters" who saw millions of people around the globe demonstrating against the invasion of Iraq and ignored it. The same "journalists" who saw 400,000 Americans demonstrate just last year in Washington DC against the occupation and gave a collective yawn. They made every attempt to obscure and marginalize its message.

The same people who say Cindy Sheehan doesn't speak for them so she should just shut up; who mock the ACLU for fighting to perserve that right for all Americans; now hold the First Amendment near and dear to their hearts. They can't have it both ways folks. If the First Amendment protects their right to vent their hate against Islam and a mother who is petitioning our government for peace, it protects her and every war dissenter's right to do plead their case in their own way.

As for holding the entire Muslim nation accountable for this violence, if Cindy doesn't speak for you, how can they hold around a billion people responsible for the violence of a few? Muslims comprise the second largest religion in the world. If it was really a religion of hate, don't you think they would have done more damage by now?

This new righteous indignation from the right over free speech looks from here like a transparent attempt to manufacture an international state of polarized outrage. It worked. The unbalanced outcry incited violence and drew attention away from the administration's current attack on Americans, namely the Bush budget and its GOP counterparts. For instance, Bush snuck his own privatization proposals into his proposed budget. Those being the ones Congress voted down.

Meanwhile, what this? A message from Karl Rove to the Judiciary Committee about their investigation into Bush's illegal surveillance?

[crossposted to DetNews]
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