What would you fill in that line with? My first answer I guess would be Republicans, yet that would be unfair to those Republicans (there are some out there) that aren’t bigots. Maybe I’d use the term “Right Wingers” or maybe “Teabaggers”. Really, it isn’t important what goes in the blank. What is important is that there is a great deal of anti-Muslim bigotry in the US right now. You see it in those right wing glurge emails that we all find in our inboxes from time to time. You see it in the protest in Tennessee against a proposed new mosque: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-07-03-mosque-protest-tennessee_N.htm Said one of the protesters: "Most people don't understand what they are dealing with. You are dealing with a terrorist organization. They want to rule the world." This is madness.
How much do some Americans hate Muslims? Enough to get their panties in a twist over a stamp. A freaking stamp. There is this email going around now:
Don't buy it, don't use it.
Apparently they think that putting hearts and butterflies on the new stamp will make most people not realize that the rest is Arabic and not something we want to support.
New Stamp - the second one!!!
USPS New 4 4 -Cent Stamp Celebrates a Muslim holiday.
The same Muslims that would eliminate Christianity.
If there is only ONE thing you forward today... let it be this!
President Obama has directed the United States Postal Service to REMEMBER and HONOR the EID MUSLIM holiday season with a new commemorative 44-Cent First Class Holiday Postage Stamp.
This is the same president that wouldn't allow the national day of prayer at the white house!
REMEMBER to adamantly & vocally BOYCOTT this stamp, when you are purchasing your stamps at the post office.
All you have to say is " No thank you, I do not want that Muslim Stamp on my letters! "
To use this stamp would be a slap in the face to all those AMERICANS who died at the hands of those whom this stamp honors.
REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of Pan Am Flight 103!
REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993!
REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the Marine Barracks in Lebanon !
REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the Military Barracks in Saudi Arabia !
REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the American Embassies in Africa !
REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the USS COLE!
REMEMBER the MUSLIM attack on 9/11/2001 !
REMEMBER all the AMERICAN lives that were lost in those vicious MUSLIM attacks!
Pass this along to every Patriotic American that you know and get the word out!
Honor the United States of America!
Wow, there’s a lot going on there, isn’t there? All over a stamp with hearts and a butterfly and a few Arabic words? This is threatening? Of course, if you look at the stamp, you immediately see it’s from Zazzle.com, not the USPS. A quick look at their website, and you can see that Zazzle offers a ton of stamps for about every taste and interest one can imagine. The only thing they have to do with the USPS is they have to give them the money for the postage that they sell. And of course, Obama did not issue a proclamation to encourage use of the stamp, neither he nor the USPS had a damn thing to do with it. It’s simply a choice that you can make in the free market.
The email goes on to make the false claim that Obama canceled the National Day of Prayer, when in fact his administration was a defendant in a lawsuit challenging such a day. Then there is the obligatory litany of crimes committed by those claiming to be Muslims. That doesn’t mean much, one could cherry pick a list for about any religion or ethnicity.
The reason I bring up this email is that it’s the perfect illustration of the tribalism, bigotry, and xenophobia that is so rampant in the US today. It’s “us” against “them”. “They” want to take away “our” religion (no they don’t). “They” are crossing the border to take “our” jobs. Well, if you want to pay $5 for a tomato, go ahead and shut the border. You’re blaming the immigrant for being exploited by the corporate suits who run the country. Now that times are tough, too many of us are looking for others to blame, others to hate. “The Muslims are all terrorists and want to outlaw Christianity”, “Those dirty Mexicans are coming over to live on welfare”. More tribalism. More Us vs. Them. Of course, I wasn’t in Germany in the 1930s, but I can see the parallels. Times are tough. It’s all THEIR fault. How long before we start sewing crescents on the shirts of Muslims? How long before we plumb the gas chambers? I don’t want to go there.
The time to stop this bullshit is NOW. It must be as unacceptable to promote and distribute anti-Muslim hate speech as it is to use the word “nigger”. Racial profiling of Mexican-Americans needs to be as unacceptable as “Whites Only” drinking fountains. Those who preach bigotry and hatred are using terrorism and recession to densensitize us to the evil that they spread. The internet has made it possible for lies to travel the globe at the speed of light. The lies need to stop, and the only way I see it happening is that each of us, when we receive these hateful emails or hear the words of bigotry is to stand up and say “No. That is not acceptable.” Do we fill in the blank with "Americans"? It's up to us.