Thursday, September 27, 2012

Salman Rushdie on Bill Maher Discussing 9/11 Liberals

This post is an ongoing conversation on my personal facebook page. I have decided to post the conversation on this blog, with the permission of my friend that is part of this conversation.

It started when I posted this video of Salman Rushdie on Bill Maher...


The conversation...
Mitchell: Some interesting stuff in there as well as some REALLY broad generalizations and simple symptom identification. The most interesting part, I think, is thinking about how many of these same comments (especially during the second half) could be coming out of Middle Eastern/Islamic pundits on "the other side". Except, of course, when Rana said "acrossT". In the end, there are no sides. This choosing sides shit is what got all of us where we are today.

Kevin: Ha! The first time I watched this was on my phone. I didn't catch she said that (phone has poor sound quality). 

Mitchell, I was wondering if you'd be willing to elaborate on the
 broad generalizations you thought they had. I'm just curious. And also, what sides do you think there are, or recognize as sides, concerning this topic. 

I'm fascinated with this subject and other people's thoughts and reactions. And I do respect your particular thoughts because you are a thoughtful person. I know you take great care with what you say and how you say it and I'd love to hear what else you have to say concerning this topic.

Mitchell:I think I may have typed too fast - what I should have said was oversimplifications rather than generalizations, that would have been clearer, although both are true to me. As Rushdie says "Islam has changed", I think this is a very wide brushstroke with which to paint here. They are going back and forth over why this recent level of anger has surfaced and discussing essentially how violent Islam is (in relation to other religions). All while I think a very valid argument can be made that this stupid little film has just served as the spark that ignited an already smoldering fire, and only then in certain pockets. I feel like I am watching a lot of smart people kind of missing the big picture. And broadly saying Islam is different in that way than the other religions might be argued with by abortion clinic doctors, perhaps.

As for the sides, Matthews speaks to it most clearly when he says "the question is what do we do about it?" I see a hardening of the West vs. East mentality and that to me doesn't bode well for the future of peace and conscious evolution. They talk of how there is this "industry of outrage" and how this is politically manufactured. No shit. To speak of it as being manipulated by "their" leaders and not "ours" is staggering. Both this us vs. them thing and Kate Middleton's tits are put in front of us to keep us distracted. I submit that there is no "them". We are 7 billion humans with 7 billion perspectives and one aim. Love. Period.

That's my $.02. Like I said before, among the problems I see in there, there are some interesting ideas, and perhaps some useful ones. If the discussion was more about the usefulness of any organized religion, my comments would take a different tone. What do you think? Good to be hearing from you, my friend.

Also, Rana used the word "proactive" which, next to "utilize" is the worst word in the English language. So, maybe my bias is showing. :)

My Response

Shows like Bill Maher have to simplify what they’re saying to fit into a timeslot. These shows are used for talking points, to get others talking. You and I are case in point. We’re talking. It is up to us to expand on what they said. 

I think we should be talking about this; ‘this’ being Islam. We extend Islam a courtesy, a political correctness, that we don’t extend to other religions. We have made it taboo to criticize Islam. We’ve made it look almost racist to say anything against Islam. Islam is a religion in very much the same way Christianity, Scientology are religions and should be mocked and criticized for their ideology. 

There are those that interchange the words ‘Islam’, ‘Muslim’ and ‘Middle East‘. Islam is a religion, Muslim is a group of people and the Middle East is a geographical location. Not all Muslims live in the Middle East. Not all Muslims are Islamists. In fact some Muslims are Christians. Now, if one would say slanderous remarks about Muslims or Middle Easterners then that would be racist. But to criticize a religion; Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Paganism, Scientology, etc is not racist. It is simply being critical of an ideology. I hold all religions with the same amount of disdain.  

I’m not suggesting we should go to war with Islamists. No, that is not the answer. The answer is; we, as in the USA, need to remind Islamists that we are free to say whatever we want about their religion, (even in the form of a despicable film). We need to say, “No you are not going to get to silence us.” In the same way we need to remind Christians that we are a free people. We are free from their religious confines. All citizens of this country are free to marry, make decisions away from religion, we will not allow them to use their religion to restrict civil rights of groups of people in the USA, we are governed by a higher morality, ethics and love than what is found in their ancient texts. The texts of the bible are no less violent to people and no less controlling of people than that of Islam and the texts of the Quran. 

Women have been stoned to death in the name of Islam this year. I know not all Islamists are like this, but people are being killed, murdered, in the name of this religion. I think that justifies taking a side, just as much as taking a stand against slavery, taking a stand for civil rights in America, taking a stand against bullying, against allowing the religious right in America to pass laws exempting themselves from other laws based on being religious. 

People having a religion should not and does not mean we as a society need to walk on eggshells for them. It does not mean they get special rights because they talk to a man they think lives in the clouds and has given them special rules to follow. We need to uphold our governing laws against these laws of religion. The laws of religion are make believe and should not be given special courtesy just on the basis that the religious powers think that it should be that way. If someone tells me they are religious, I am automatically suspicious of them. Why would they tell me that? If for no other reason than wanting preferential treatment.  

Yes, sides are drawn and sides have to be taken. I use to stand on the sidelines and say stuff like, “There are good and bad Republicans just like there are good and bad Democrats.”, “There are bad Christians, but there are some really nice, decent Christians that do a lot of good.”, “There’s good and bad everywhere. We shouldn’t paint one group ’bad’ just because of a few bad apples”.  

A couple years ago I woke up and realized that type of passiveness wasn’t getting anyone anywhere. While I’m sticking up for, let’s say, Christians as a group, the ‘bad apples’ were sneaking behind our backs and changing text book curriculum to accommodate religious views, they were proposing bills limiting civil rights to groups of people they want to restrict in the name of their god. They’re also making sure the anti-bullying laws have out clauses for the religious, making it not just okay but legal for Christians to bully someone on the pretense the bullying is done for religious reasons. They’re starting wars in the name of their god. And everybody is standing around shrugging their shoulders saying, “Well, we can’t stand up to them because they’re doing these things because they’re religious and we’ll look like heartless heathens if we point out what they are doing is wrong and stupid”. So, we liberals put our hands in our pockets and look the other way. We don’t want to get caught up in religious arguments with the religious for the sake of looking like the bigger and smarter group. As it turns out we’ve been the stupid ones for allowing this to happen as we watch on.

I’m going to use something you wrote not too long ago. It stuck with me because I agreed with you 100% on your point.

“But there is at least one big difference that I can see. One side has made it very clear that a vote for them is a vote against women. That side is standing proudly and proclaiming women’s bodies are not entirely their own and something to be legislated against. They find logic in a debate over degrees of violence against women and just how much is tolerable. They find acceptable slanderous and hateful speech against half of humanity.
Theirs is not a world to which I would choose to subject my daughters. Their platform is not one that includes equality, liberty and security for the women of this country. Period.
I have lost faith in our leaders – all of them – when it comes to fighting for justice and freedom for all Americans and all members of the human race. I will continue to try to be the change that I seek rather than hold out hope that such change will come from above.”

One could argue that this is a broad generalization of that political party. A generalization that I agree with by the way. It is true that not all politicians and constituents of that political party are trying or want to take away women’s rights. Not all of them are bad people. Although, there are enough of them that want to do this that requires us to take a stand against them. Requires us to choose sides. Because standing on the sidelines and recognizing that they’re not all bad and then allowing them to do this is just as wrong as being apart of the group that are trying to take away the rights of women and stifling the rights of others.

I believe what you said about the political part can be applied to this situation as well. I’m not sure what the answer is in how to deal with any of it. Violence is not the answer; it’s just the go to answer for most. I do fear that it all will end in violence, and that is such a shame because morality and ethics are being dictated by an ideology instead of the higher standards we find within ourselves. 

I would not have said most of this two years ago, maybe even a year ago I wouldn‘t have. I’m done riding the fence on most things. 

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