FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Homegrown Taliban

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

More articles by:

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.

Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled Again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
Robert Koehler
Playing War in Syria
Tamara Pearson
US Shootings: Gun Industry Killing More People Overseas
John Feffer
Trump’s Trade War is About Trump Not China
Morris Pearl
Why the Census Shouldn’t Ask About Citizenship
Ralph Nader
Bill Curry on the Move against Public Corruption
Josh Hoxie
Five Tax Myths Debunked
Leslie Mullin
Democratic Space in Adverse Times: Milestone at Haiti’s University of the Aristide Foundation
Louis Proyect
Syria and Neo-McCarthyism
Dean Baker
Finance 202 Meets Economics 101
Abel Cohen
Forget Gun Control, Try Bullet Control
Robert Fantina
“Damascus Time:” An Iranian Movie
David Yearsley
Bach and Taxes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail