Thursday's Child ... has far to go ... (0nm10wn2feet) wrote,
Thursday's Child ... has far to go ...

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September 11th...

It's another September 11th. My computer is barely working because of a failed CPU fan and badly needs a new power supply (money, plus an unwillingness to be out of touch for more than a few hours making that difficult to resolve), but I HAVE to weigh in on this date. The controversy surrounding the proposed community center near Ground Zero is weighing heavily on my mind today, and I find that I MUST vent my views somewhere, or face risk of exploding. With the recent flare in my not-so-mentionable incurable intestinal disease, I find it difficult to go elsewhere, so I am confined to doing my ranting here. If I were in better health, I would probably take my rants to one of the many memorial gatherings that take place on an annual basis on this date.

I haven't ever taken part in any of the other numerous memorial gatherings in the past. I don't feel I belong there as a matter of course. I didn't lose anyone in any of the three separate attacks. I don't know anyone who did. For me, attending one of the memorial gatherings would be tantamount to attending a funeral where I didn't know either the deceased OR any of the mourners. This year, however, I find that I DO have something to mourn. And it disturbs me to no end to feel this way.

I mourn the passing of a way of life in this country that I had previously supposed was the norm rather than the exception. I mourn the passing of civil discourse, of the ability of the MAJORITY of Americans to either agree to disagree, or to LEARN from each others diversity. To me, the controversy surrounding the Islamic community center is just one horrific example of the intolerance that has grown to epidemic proportions in the last 10 years. From the ascension of George W. Bush to the Presidency, to the expansion of a vicious media conglomerate spawned by an IMMIGRANT to our soil, the level of civil discourse has declined so dramatically that I barely recognize my country in the rabid, froth-covered rantings that I read from both sides of the political and social spectrum.

Michael Moore posted this in his daily blog today... and I have to say that, regardless of how you view the messenger, this message is right on target:

I read some of the links in Michael's blog. I considered the possible veracity of them. I then wandered to other links found within the links. I read more, learned more, about the controversy surrounding this "Cordoba Initiative" project. And I remembered what my mother told me about how my paternal grandparents were viewed in my hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan following their marriage. I remembered how my mother was treated, living in a neighborhood predominated by Dutch immigrants. And I realized that we really haven't progressed as far as I thought we had in the intervening years. Not if we can support the type of vicious fact-twisting, and outright falsehoods that have been disseminated regarding the Muslim community center in New York.

You see, my paternal grandfather emigrated to the United States at some point during his boyhood. He was raised by staunch Christian Reformists from the Netherlands. When they immigrated to the U.S., these Christian Reformists held closely to their beliefs and zealously protected what they saw as their heritage. They settled in Michigan in insular enclaves - and the "other," the "stranger" was to be avoided and shunned at all costs. My paternal grandmother, however, was a totally different story. She was born and raised a good German Catholic girl, as was her sister. During World War I, her sister met and married an American, and emigrated to the United States as a war bride.

At some point between the two World Wars, my paternal grandmother emigrated to the United States to stay with her sister. She ended up being her sister's housekeeper and was treated with a great deal of disdain by said sister, from what I heard. She met my grandfather and, however that happened, they determined to marry. For whatever reason, my grandfather was evidently so taken with my grandmother that he converted to the Catholic faith in order to marry her. From that moment, he was shunned by his Dutch immigrant family, supposedly because of his heretical change of faith.

Evidently, the sort of prejudice that greeted my grandparents upon their marriage was visited regularly upon other members of the Catholic faith living in or near the Dutch neighborhood. My mother still remembers being called a "Cat Licker" by the other children in the area, supposedly because the thick accent of the Dutch immigrants didn't support the "h" in Catholic, but that wasn't really a problem for the children. They did it because that was how their parents - in their zeal to distance themselves and their children from the "other," the outsider, the heretic - referred to Catholics. Thus, both of my parents were ostracized in their youth, spit upon and denigrated, not because of race, ancestry, or social standing, but because of RELIGION. Maybe that's why I abhor that sort of bigotry and prejudice today. Then again, maybe it's just because I have always felt that, in a country as big and "free" as America, we should ALL have the right to worship as we see fit, regardless of how people of our own faith behave in other countries.

After all, do we view Irish Catholics or Protestants everywhere as being "terrorists" simply because their bretheren perpetrated terrorist acts during the "Troubles" in Northern Ireland? If not, why should "we" (Americans, in particular) view Muslims everywhere as "terrorists" because people claiming to be Muslim perpetrated terrorist acts against America? Where is the outrage against supposedly "Christian" houses of worship being located near Ground Zero? Where is the condemnation against anyone of "Christian" faith that has a business or community center located in that area? If we are truly a country that is "free," why can't people of ALL faiths congregate near that "hallowed ground?" It seems, though, that there is still a huge double standard where "freedom" is concerned, at least on the part of so-called conservatives and fundamentalists... and media outlets funded by such groups [Rupert Murdoch's conglomerate of hate and discord].

On this day... a day of national remembrance and mourning, a day that - even more so than December 7, 1941 - will live in infamy in our national memory... I feel compelled to share, in this place, in my own way, my sadness, my outrage, my disappointment that my country, the "Land of the Free and Home of the Brave," can still be so prejudicial and backward. That my country, the one nation in the world that has remained a beacon to the oppressed throughout its long history, can be so embroiled in such a distasteful controversy to begin with sickens me.

My apologies to my friends here for the dual posting, but I feel that strongly about this issue. Also, apologies to anyone who might take offense to the opinions expressed herein - but that's what LiveJournal is all about isn't it? The expression of one's opinions, factual or fictional, inflammatory or otherwise, should remain a mainstay of our great nation, but not at the expense of the truth. Not at the expense of the freedom of others. Your rights stop where mine begin and, in the United States of America, I believe the following quote sums up my feeling there:

"Democracy is about individuals giving up the ability to do whatever they want so everybody can have some rights."
- Bill Joy, Co-founder Sun Microsystems
Tags: ranting
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