Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The new McCarthyism in America

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"We've tried pelting Muslims with metal crosses while they pray. Or, engaging them in reasoned discussion." Heh, heh. Yeah, how stupid is that?

But not, as it turns out, nearly as stupid as what comes next. No, whenever you think these lunatics have hit rock-bottom, inevitably they sink even lower.

And it's not just a mob of dim bulbs on a street corner. No, we've actually got a new McCarthyism in the U.S. House of Representatives, courtesy of Rep. Peter King. Jeebus, didn't we learn enough from the first McCarthy era?

(Peter King's support for IRA terrorists is just icing on the cake. Yeah, of course he's a hypocrite. All of these people are. But his McCarthyism would be shameful even without that. Every American should feel deeply embarrassed by his antics.)

But ignorance, fear, and bigotry never go out of style, I guess. And although unions make a great GOP scapegoat, I suppose they just aren't scary enough for effective fear-mongering.

And maybe it's a matter of nostalgia, too. I know the right-wing has really missed the Commie menace. No doubt it feels comforting to have someone new to hate and fear.

As an atheist, I hardly admire Islam. But that's not the point. The point is freedom - freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of association. The point is understanding that we're a diverse nation and accepting that not everyone has to think and believe and look exactly as I do.

Seeing these Christian lunatics makes me even prouder to be an atheist. I'm reminded of Christopher Hitchens in God Is Not Great:
I leave it to the faithful to burn each other's churches and mosques and synagogues, which they can always be relied upon to do. When I go to the mosque, I take off my shoes. When I go to the synagogue, I cover my head.

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