Friday, September 28, 2012

A Not So New Low

Did you hear? Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (really don't get that name, but hey -- whatcha gonna do?) was arrested. The silly little man thought he could get away with mocking Mohammed. Not on THIS President's watch!! No, siree... I mean, the Obama administration tried first to get YouTube to remove the offending piece... and that didn't work. I guess the power just isn't quite there. But the US Attorney's office can and did arrest the nasty piece of work who made the film! Granted, they had to figure out some sort of charge they could use... how about violation of parole? Great!

Nakoula's been a bad, bad boy before. Using aliases, dealing drugs, stealing money... he knows how to get things done. So apparently he's a parolee. Lots of rules by which to live for this man. And, apparently, he's not supposed to have access to the internet as one of his terms - nor is he allowed to use aliases. (Seems a teensy silly to me, but whatever.) So they nail him for the use of an alias and haul him off. He gets in front of a judge for his preliminary and the judge rules that he be held without bail. For a parole violation?? Seriously? Apparently so.

The judge decided that Nakoula has a pattern of deception and that he represents a danger to the community. Frankly, so does everyone in Washington DC, but I digress.

So here's the picture I see. A goober of a man doesn't like Islam. (I don't care for Islam as a religion either, but I'm not as big a goober.) He decides to make fun of it with a film which is posted over the summer, and is admittedly done in poor taste. He apparently doesn't like his name and uses a plethora of other names under which to conduct all manner of business. (Really, considering his given name, one can hardly blame the man on this point.)

In September, a number of Muslims attack our embassy in Libya, killing our ambassador along with others. For some reason, the film is brought up as the lightning rod causing the entire thing.

The Obama administration tries to strong arm google and has no success. They then go after Mr. Goober and lock him up. Now the whole cast and crew for the low budget film are going public with how upset they are, how they were duped into making the film, that they had no idea it was made to make fun of Islam, etc... Apparently, the film was originally going to be about "how things were 2000 years ago in Egypt." And do you know why these actors and actresses are so vocally protesting? I'll bet it's because they're afraid of being knifed in the street due to their involvement.

I don't believe that the unrest in the middle east is because of this stupid film. That's just the most ludicrous theory I have ever heard in my life. I do believe, though, that Americans are afraid of what the Muslims can and will do. Even our current administration is either afraid of the Muslims or complicit in their actions.

In what way, pray tell, is Nakoula a "danger to the community" except for what other actions some Muslims might take because of Nakoula's behavior? Frankly, the fact that so many Americans are willing to blame this goober of a man for the bad behavior of so many Muslims is the really frightening thing. Allowing ourselves to be controlled by a volatile minority is foolish. Stifling free speech because there are some people out there who might start a riot if you say the wrong thing is terrible policy. And locking a man up on a parole violation with no bail is way over the top.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Arab Winter

So I've heard talk from some people about what's going on in the Arab world... a dead US Ambassador, an accusation of "hate speech" because of a film made (that's hardly worthy even of being called a "film"), how it all comes together and who or what is to blame. The talk goes something like this: Hate speech is bad... so bad, actually, that even if they aren't the ones who are committing acts of violence, they are (at least partially) to blame for any violence that ensues. Therefore, if we only stop the haters, everybody could just get along.

I have, to say the least, a few problems with this line of thinking. While the folks voicing these opinions certainly mean well, it seems a bit naive and one-sided.

First of all, the idea that the movie makers are the haters inciting violence and if they would just stop making movies the violence would stop is naive. The violence in the Muslim world started LOOOOOONNNG before that movie was even dreamt up by the producers. It could, in fact, be argued that the movie producers thought of the movie idea because of the violence perpetrated in the name of Islam -- if we wanted to argue in that fashion (which we really don't).

The idea is one-sided because this idea is not mentioned by the same people when, say, an abortion clinic is bombed (okay, not that this is really happening much anymore, but still -- roll with me on this). These same people wouldn't ever say that the doctor's actions (i.e., killing unborn children) incited the violence -- so don't they share the blame? Or, another example would be rape. Would these same people ever say that a woman who was scantily clad incited her rapist? Of course not. OR... what if some moron opened fire on some employees of Bill Maher, saying that his hate speech was just too much and they had to kill him? Could it be said that Bill Maher actually shares the blame for this action? I really don't think that they would argue such a thing.

The reason they wouldn't argue in that way is two-fold. First of all, they don't find Bill Maher's speech to be totally offensive. I happen to find the man repulsive and full of hate, but many people don't see him that way -- and that's okay. The other reason they wouldn't argue that way is because the argument makes no sense. Seriously. Nobody is responsible for my actions but me. Nobody can make me do something. I am a person who operates with my own free will. Likewise, nobody can make the Arab people do something stupid -- regardless of how stupid or offensive something is. And believe me, that movie was certainly offensive. I'm not anything close to a Muslim and I was offended by the preview. Of course, I'm also offended by the history of Islam -- which doesn't help.

Yes, I said it. I am offended by Islam. There you go. And not only that, but Islam is totally offended by me. I'm not a Muslim. They tend to find that offensive -- or they're supposed to, anyway. See, here's the thing. It doesn't matter that I'm offended. And it shouldn't matter that they're offended. Our western civilization demands that we play nice. In fact, some of us demand so strongly that they say it's our fault the other side is playing seriously dirty if we didn't play nicely enough. I don't buy it -- and here's why... the Arab "civilization" (I use the term loosely) doesn't demand any such thing. No playing nice, no respecting of differences, not even a "you deserve to exist, too." Uh-uh.

So... I can play nice - for the most part. But I can't pretend not to find Islam offensive. I just do. And I can't accept the idea that it's anybody's fault but the Arabs' that Arabs are running around killing people and burning down our embassies. I'm sorry -- but that's just not an idea to which I can subscribe.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Not Writer's Block

I'll admit it -- I've been terrible about posting. And it's certainly not that I have writer's block. There are more subjects to blog on right now than any one person could possibly cover. Between the Akin debacle (oh, the horrors), the Republican National Convention (Really? You think that's going to inspire me?), the Democratic National Convention (so many speeches, so little time), and various political commercials... I honestly don't know where to begin.

I suppose I should preface this with letting everyone know that I've decided I need to put my best foot forward from now on. I will be working on my tone.

Let's start with Akin, shall we? Yes, let's... and all the while I will chant in my head, "Tone... watch your tone..." What was that man thinking?!? Silly question, really. Obviously, he was thinking some really stupid thoughts. I guess that old saying has a bit of truth to it... "better to keep one's mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." I read what Akin said from numerous -- yea, numerous -- sources. Frankly, one would expect a bit of spin to be added to anything stupid said by any Republican anywhere. On this one, however, no spin necessary. It was abysmally dumb. Please, as I write this, keep in mind that I am staunchly pro-life, not to be swayed by even a rape claim, albeit a completely legitimate one. (Oy, the attachment of legitimate to the word rape is so politically volatile.) My thoughts on rape and abortion go something like this: A fetus (baby) is a valuable human life regardless of the circumstances of its conception. A woman is a valuable human life regardless of her circumstances or her choices. That a woman can and possibly would choose a second violation in an effort to cancel out the first makes me very sad indeed. Sad for the woman who will live with that choice for the rest of her life, and will doubtlessly be affected by it. Honestly, the idea that a woman's body has some supernatural ability to differentiate between sperm implanted forcefully vs. willingly is so ludicrous I think it doesn't even deserve rebuttal.

On the the Republican National Convention. I don't like Mitt Romney. No secret there. (Tone... remember the tone...) He might be a very nice man at home. His wife says he is, and I assume that we can take her word on that. Michelle Obama says Barack Obama is very nice at home, too, and I am willing to take her at her word. How nice one is or isn't at home isn't really something that is going to get me to feel comfortable voting for him, though. Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate. I would say that this makes me feel more comfortable voting for Mitt, but it doesn't, so I won't. I don't have anything against Paul Ryan. He's probably perfectly nice at home, too. And his politics are certainly more in line with mine than Mitt's are. I see the choice of him as running mate, however, as a political move on Romney's part - designed to make me feel more comfortable voting for Romney. I still don't like Romney. I would say that I'm absolutely certain the Republican party has better choices they could have nominated for President of the United States, but the Republican party doesn't want better choices - nor do they want to listen to the people, as evidenced by their convention.

Let it be known that I am NOT A RON PAUL FAN. (Tone...) I'm not a groupie. I actually shy away from him based on what I see from the people who follow him. Any time someone has a following which treats that someone like he's the only way to save the world, I'm beyond skeptical. I purposefully, whether wrongly or not, turn the other way, wanting no involvement whatsoever. But... I have to say, the actions of the Republican party in regards to Ron Paul and his various followers around the country has been despicable. Really, what is the reason for not reading off the votes that he got? It looked petty and nasty. And, frankly, it looked like a power play that was unwise, to put it mildly (and with a nice tone).

I find myself drifting further and further away from the Republican party based on the actions of the leadership there. Sadly, however, I feel forced to vote Republican anyway because I'm certainly not drifting in the direction of the Democrats. What is a girl to do?

I guess this brings me to the Democratic National Convention, held in my own neck of the woods -- Charlotte, NC. I actually live outside the city by a better-than-reasonable distance, leaving me entirely unaffected by the convention traffic, the protesting, and all the general silliness that went on in the city. I did, however, happen to catch some snippets of the convention online. And isn't it just grand that we can torture ourselves in this way? At our fingertips... at any time of day... we can expose ourselves to all manner of irritation by just a click of a button. And this is what I have done.

I must say, I was fascinated by the fact that the Democrat party appears to be suffering from the same crisis of personality as the Republican party. I got to see the Democrats, just like the Republicans, completely disregard the will of their people. Basically, the story was this -- The Democrat platform, for whatever reason, left out mention of God, support for Israel, and the idea that Jerusalem is Israel's capital. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, the Republicans loudly pointed this fact out to the American people. A bit of backpedaling was done, and a motion was made on the floor at the Democrat convention to add back in these three things. Rules were explained (non-debatable motion, 2/3 vote required), verbal votes taken, and - much to the chair's surprise - it was far from unanimous. It sounded to be about 50/50. Confusion on his face, he took the vote again. (Maybe the people didn't understand... maybe they were confused... maybe one side will get louder...) Both sides got louder the second time around, leaving another approximately 50/50 vote. The poor man serving as chair was befuddled beyond belief. Obviously, this motion was needed for politics -- and he was told that it should pass. But it didn't. A woman came up to him and spoke after which he called for a vote a third time. Again -- about 50/50. After the third vote, he said what was "required" of him, "In the opinion of the chair 2/3 have voted in the affirmative, the motion is adopted, and the platform has been amended as shown on the screen." He said this to boos... and more boos... to which he waved his arms as he spoke.

The Republicans have seized on this story as, "The Democrats are booing God!!" Frankly, I'm exhausted by all the middle school garbage. (Tone... I'm working on it, people, but they make it so hard!) The Democrats in the room weren't booing God, per se. They were booing the fact that the vote was not taken seriously. There was NOT a 2/3 vote in the affirmative. The will of the people was being disregarded, and this is not how a democratic society is supposed to work. They were angry for good reason -- and not at God (since the people voting against God probably don't believe in Him in the first place). They were angry at their leaders -- for disregarding their voice. Frankly, if the Republicans hadn't just done the exact same thing, they could have seized on the story as "Democrats disregard the will of the people -" and been quite successful. But I guess that's what happens when you go first... you don't get to go back and have a do-over because you know the other side is going to make a whopper of a mistake.

Annnnnnnd.... my cynicism grows.

I'm going to need more than a middle school pep rally to get me back into the swing of things. I'm actually going to have to have some people of character in charge. Just... not another "messiah for the people," please. I think we've had enough of that already.