FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Homegrown Taliban

by David Vest

Imagine that a couple of Muslim clerics go on TV a day or two after the September 11 attacks on America.

Imagine one of them says that because America is so wicked, God has allowed its enemies to finally give America exactly what she deserves.

And that the other says, “That’s my feeling.” And that they continue to denounce America as a land that has “insulted God” by tolerating paganists, feminists, gay and lesbian people, abortionists and abominations like the ACLU.

Do you think such a performance would make the streets safer for American Muslims? (Not to mention the clerics themselves. You wonder how they’d make it home from the studio.)

Bulletin: It wasn’t Muslim clerics who said any such thing. It was Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.

They blamed the attacks on women. On gay people. On religious minorities. On the ACLU. On People for the American Way.

They blamed it on Americans. They blamed America. They even blamed God.

I ask myself what could be worse than price-gouging, jacking up the price of gasoline and flags to profit from disaster, or using it for cover to close businesses and lay people off just when they’re feeling most vulnerable, and the answer comes.

It is this.

It’s not just the blame-the-victim attitude. It’s not just the bigotry. It isn’t even the bald-ass wide-open contempt for America it shows.

It’s not just the ignorance. It’s the use of what is holy to support hatred and intolerance that makes me think we need to worry about our own Taliban, right here, right now.

And it’s not just Falwell and Robertson. I am getting reports of similar remarks made by other ministers in different parts of the country.

Would anyone who understood one word of scripture dare — dare! — to use it to justify fomenting prejudice and hatred?

Would anyone with the remotest acquaintance with a Higher Power think that God did this to America? What part of JUDGE NOT don’t these people understand?

If a “real American” heard a minister say that God was responsible for the attack on America, would he put money in the collection plate? Or get up and leave right then?

Like the one in Afghanistan, our home-grown Taliban is always quick to issue denials and pro forma denunciations. “Of course we oppose racial discrimination and so-called hate crimes. Naturally we condemn the bombing of abortion clinics. Murder is wrong.”

The deeper you go into this, the worse it gets.

Imagine that a terrorist bombs a building in, say, Birmingham, Alabama. And that the bomb kills a policeman and puts a woman who works in the building in a wheelchair for life.

Imagine that the terrorist hides, not in Afghanistan, but in, say, North Carolina. And that the people who live where he’s hiding refuse to help the FBI find the terrorist. And that years later he’s still on the loose, a folk hero to some.

As most readers will recall, this story is not hypothetical. The terrorist in this case is an American. People who call themselves Americans helped him get away with it.

How would you feel toward Americans who helped terrorists get away with bombing the Pentagon or the World Trade Center, or any other location in this country?

Does it make any difference whether the terrorist is foreign or native-born?

After Falwell and Robertson spoke, I was glad when the White House said that “the president does not share those views.”

When the president says we won’t just get the terrorists, we’ll get the people who harbored them, should we start the training in rural North Carolina, just for practice?

I know we have to do something about international terrorism right now. I know we have to do what we can to protect our country and the world from attacks orchestrated from elsewhere.

But a terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist. I don’t care where he comes from.

And hatred is hatred, I don’t care who speaks it. And I’ve heard enough of it.

David Vest is a writer, poet and piano player for the Cannonballs. A native of Alabama, he now lives in Portland, Oregon. Visit his webpage for samples of the Cannonballs’ music and other Vest columns: http://www.mindspring.com/~dcqv

DAVID VEST writes the Rebel Angel column for CounterPunch. He and his band, The Willing Victims, have just released a scorching new CD, Serve Me Right to Shuffle. His essay on Tammy Wynette is featured in CounterPunch’s new collection on art, music and sex, Serpents in the Garden.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Pauline Murphy
Unburied Truth: Exposing the Church’s Iron Chains on Ireland
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Franklin Lamb
Update from Madaya
Dan Bacher
Federal Scientists Find Delta Tunnels Plan Will Devastate Salmon
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Louis Proyect
What Caused the Holodomor?
Max Mastellone
Seeking Left Unity Through a Definition of Progressivism
Charles R. Larson
Review: David Bellos’s “Novel of the Century: the Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables”
David Yearsley
Ear of Darkness: the Soundtracks of Steve Bannon’s Films
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail