Is America Saudi Arabia?

Not to get bogged down in this topic, but I was amused to read this quote in a newspaper article today:

“Ground zero is hallowed ground to Americans,” Elliott Maynard, a Republican trying to unseat Representative Nick J. Rahall II, a Democrat, in West Virginia’s Third District, said in a typical statement. “Do you think the Muslims would allow a Jewish temple or Christian church to be built in Mecca?”

What the Saudi government would or would not allow in their own country is irrelevant to the question at hand.  Saudi Arabia is a theocratic monarchy.  The United States is a federal constitutional republic and a representative democracy.  Is Mr. Maynard proposing that we change our system of government so that we can meet out religion freedom (or the absence thereof) in the same manner as the Saudi throne?

Oh, brother!

There are a couple of salient points made in an op-ed on NYTimes.com that I want to highlight:

The problem with [Republicans’] claims goes far beyond the fate of a mosque in downtown Manhattan. They show a dangerously inadequate understanding of the many divisions, complexities and nuances within the Islamic world — a failure that hugely hampers Western efforts to fight violent Islamic extremism and to reconcile Americans with peaceful adherents of the world’s second-largest religion.

Most of us are perfectly capable of making distinctions within the Christian world. The fact that someone is a Boston Roman Catholic doesn’t mean he’s in league with Irish Republican Army bomb makers, just as not all Orthodox Christians have ties to Serbian war criminals or Southern Baptists to the murderers of abortion doctors.

Yet many of our leaders have a tendency to see the Islamic world as a single, terrifying monolith. Had the George W. Bush administration been more aware of the irreconcilable differences between the Salafist jihadists of Al Qaeda and the secular Baathists of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the United States might never have blundered into a disastrous war, and instead kept its focus on rebuilding post-Taliban Afghanistan while the hearts and minds of the Afghans were still open to persuasion.

Food for thought…

0 thoughts on “Is America Saudi Arabia?

  1. Like I said….they’re the American Taliban! We need to nip this kind of bigotry in the bud or we will end up being like the Germans under Hitler or lose our democracy which would mean that the terrorists would win in destroying our freedoms. These ultra right wingers wrap themselves in Old Glory and hold up their bibles and think their beliefs are the only ones that matter or should be followed!

  2. @Gma_Joyce – Be careful with what you say – you might not be able to run for public office with leftist/socialist/communist/godless/etc. statements like that!  Ha ha… Sometimes I think that the terrorists have already won, when I think of the fear with which some folks are living their lives.  There’s a bogeyman hiding in their nightmares and he has a beard and turban.

  3. if ground zero is such hallowed ground… why have people forgotten the 9/11 tragedy so quickly? last year i don’t think people made a very big deal about the date, and it will probably be even less talked about this year.

  4. *Facepalm* at Maynard. Why would someone even say something like that? Typically when one makes a comparison between two things, one wants to think a little bit more about what they are actually comparing. That’s just sad.

  5. @TheCheshireGrins –  It isn’t even apples and oranges. It is like comparing apples and a parrot.@kunhuo42 –  @Fatcat723 –  Page 182, paragraph 3, line C in the politician’s handbook: Trot out 9-11 whenever it is politically expedient.@yang1815 –  I would imagine that from your vantage point in NE, you have seen a fair number of examples of that. Certainly the coasts are not immune but whenever I’m back in the midwest, the minds seem to be more closed and the perspectives more – I hate to use this word but it fits – provincial.

  6. @christao408 – O yes it is. I was carrying a tactical bag for my personal belongings during the fishing trip and one Midwestern guy said it was “weird” to carry such a bag that is used by military personnel. It’s not even close to a man bag or anything.And things like sushi/raw fish is crap, yadi yadi yada.

  7. If Ground Zero has become hallowed ground, supposedly like Mecca, when what religion is it associated with? Like Gma_Joyce said they wrap themselves up in Old Glory and hold up their Bibles… but aren’t we supposed to keep those two separate? Many people not being able to identify the different parts of the Islamic world has always been a frustrating thing for me. I’m definitely not educated on all of the different parts, but I don’t take the assumption that all Muslims are terrorists. I once read: (I can’t remember where) Islamic Extremism is to Islam that _____ is to Christianity. The answer was the KKK.Oh brother indeed!

  8. @Gaijinsays – That’s the truth that I think everyone (most everyone?) realizes but few are willing to acknowledge.@alextebow – Nicely said, Alex.  I hadn’t heard that comparison before but it is probably apt.  Actually, come to think of it, it would be “as the KKK is to Protestantism” as they are anti-Catholic, too.@Diva_Jyoti – Thank you, although it was just quotes from other folks.@SerenaDante – Disturbing…@yang1815 – I’ve noticed over the last ten years of visiting there with Tawn that things have changed a bit, but not very much.  Still get a lot of stares.  Of course, Tawn gets stares from Thais here in Bangkok, too!  LOL

  9. I don’t see this as a Republican issue at all. Party politics on both sides are diminishing our liberties on every front. Democrats are just as guilty. But I do agree with the gist of this post

  10. @ShamelesslyRed – I agree with your general point – both parties are guilty of playing politics with issues.  After all, they wouldn’t be political parties if they didn’t, right?  =D  In this case, though, I’m particularly suspicious that the Republicans stumbled upon this issue just a few months before the midterm elections.  Coincidence?  Flag-waving and chest-thumping are always best in the run-up to an election.  Notice the number of Democrats who are now cowering – Harry Reid is a great example – and back-pedaling away from their defense of the first ammendment.

  11. What’s funny is that the place is anything BUT hallowed ground! There are already mosques near Ground Zero, albeit further away (5 blocks vs. 2 blocks for the proposed site). Also, if you’ve looked at the site for the new mosque (pic), it looks run-down and cruddy! It’s not like they decided to build the mosque in the middle of Arlington Nat’l Cemetery. It’s just a run-down inner-city warehouse! Ugggh. This is just a political tool the Repugs are using to get the public against Obama. I wish Obama would be more savvy and show stronger leadership/passion/indignation (also during the height of the oil spill crisis and the health care debate last summer), but hey, he’s human.

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