What Happened to the Free and the Brave?

I keep waiting for another shoe to drop in the “ground zero mosque” flap. The word is that Gov. Paterson will meet with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and other Cordoba House backers to find another spot for the proposed Islamic Center. And as much as I don’t want the bullies to get their way, apparently other Muslims in the U.S. want the issue to go away asap before the mob gets even nastier.

There’s an old joke that America is the land of the brave because you’ve got to be brave to live here. I’m not seeing much bravery anywhere these days, though.

The Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite writes,

The true of test of whether this country is really the “land of the free” is when we do or do not act like we are the “home of the brave.” It is not enough to carry copies of the Constitution and wave them at rallies. The U.S. Constitution lives or dies in the practice of its freedoms for all Americans. That means, all Americans, not just the ones with whom you agree, or with whom you may share a religious belief. We must protect these fundamental liberties especially when it is challenging to do so, or even appears threatening to some.

The Right is twisting itself into pretzels claiming that they support freedom but want to stop the building of the Islamic Center. In other words, now we’re only as free as an unhinged, frightened, bigoted mob allows us to be.

Sam Stein has a profile of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf that discusses the imam’s work with the FBI to counter terrorism and also some of his work, with Jews and Christians, to promote religious tolerance. If Americans can be persuaded that this man is a jihadist, then the right-wing noise machine could demonize anybody.

Update: Something I hadn’t thought of, but it could be a concern — Mosque Furor Endangers U.S. Troops

12 thoughts on “What Happened to the Free and the Brave?

  1. “The land of the free, and the home of the brave…”
    Not so much anymore.
    We are now the ‘land of the cowardly, and the home of the greedy…’
    In a few generations, we went from a “Can Do!” nation, to a ‘Can’t Do’ one.
    Some of us are old enough to remember a land of promise. Not perfect. But at least trying. I pity those not old enough to have lived as long as I have.
    Sorry, Mr. Franklin, you gave us a Repbulic, but we weren’t able to keep it. Due in large part to Republicans. But we all had a hand in its sad demise somehow. I know I tried to do what I could to stop it, and I haven’t quit yet, but when you look at the tsunami of stupid that is unleashed every day, you can’t help but feel that you’re drowning…

    The great cartoon “Pogo” summed it up best: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
    R.I.P. U.S.A.

  2. After seeing a reference to Abdul Rauf’s book in that article, I looked it up on Amazon. One of the customer reviews: “The problem is that with Islam’s acceptance of deception, we don’t know if the author is sincere or engaging in propaganda.” Sigh.

  3. If the location changes, it’ll be a sad day for America.

    I mean, it’d be one thing if a few people had talked to the developers early in the planning and said “you know, some assholes could raise a fuss; we’ve found a new location we think will work well instead.”

    Now? After manufactured outrage and hate?

    Well, if they choose to move the development, it might be the right thing to do. Good people will often decide to take the hit when other people are being assholes.

    But it will mean that the bullies collect another scalp, and get to cheer wildly and think that bullying is a good thing.

    America should be ashamed if they let the bullies win.

  4. then the right-wing noise machine could demonize anybody.

    We already know that’s true, see Swift Boat.

    As to the larger point, the “terrorists” have so frightened the right that they’re scared of their own shadows. Home of the brave? Not anymore.

  5. The Right is twisting itself into pretzels claiming that they support freedom but want to stop the building of the Islamic Center. In other words, now we’re only as free as an unhinged, frightened, bigoted mob allows us to be.

    IOW, the Right hates us for our freedoms. They shout “Freedom!” and “Democracy!” from the rooftops at every turn, but it’s the last thing they want. They don’t get that if they are free, then they must allow others to be free too. But their notion of freedom is limited to everyone gets to run with the herd, and nothing else.

  6. We already know that’s true, see Swift Boat.

    They collected Wilson’s scalp first. And the hatred they ginned up for him and his wife was pretty extraordinary.

  7. cundgulag – If I remember correctly, I’m even older than you and yes I remember and my take is that the 21st century (so far) may be referred to by later historians – if there are any historians left to reference it – as America’s Dark Age.

    When one gets to be my age one begins to wonder just what exactly makes human beings tick. One thing I’ve picked up on is that when people are faced with huge even insurmountable problems, they invariably turn their attention to minor problems, become absorbed by them, devote time and thought solving them. I suppose it’s finally comforting to at least be able to solve something not to mention that it diverts the mind from the always hovering and terrifying big problems.

    And then there’s Gingrich, he’s got a book to sell: Geller will most like write a book in future – which more than likely explains their sudden need to expose themselves in public. Any issue will do, it’s name recognition that sells books these days.

  8. “Tsunami of stupid” I like that, the phrase, not the reality. The reality is pretty grim.

    I think we are seeing the unveiling of a complete, state of the art propaganda machine. Public opinion is deftfully manipulated by a well crafted falsehood, designed to push the right buttons. I wonder how many of the people opposed to the cultural center still believe that it is to be built actually at “Ground Zero”. How many are subconsciously reacting to the lie rather than the reality. Public opinion doesn’t mean much if nearly everyone has been mislead. Neither does Democracy. So, we better get our act together.

    Some mad wag at another website, said “In fairness, we’ve been constructing ‘ground zeroes’ next to mosques since 2003.” I used to be funny once in a while myself.

    I guess I better start saving for that “Rosetta Stone”.

  9. Felicity,
    Yup, both Gingrich and Geller have books coming out. So sharpen your crayons!

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