Thursday, August 26, 2010

Respect: Give It To Get It!

We are all aware of the controversy surrounding the Islamic Cultural Center two blocks away from Ground Zero (hereinafter “ICCGZ”). We’ve talked about it several times here on this blog, and have attributed the hysteria and uproar to nothing more than “Islamophobia.” To me, it is clear. There should be a distinct and clear separation between the 19 criminal, Islamic, extremist cowards that attacked us on 9/11 - and those that support them - and the remaining 1.57 billion that make about 23% of the world’s population. Failure to make that distinction shows a regression in our country to a time when prejudice prevailed and understanding and compassion for those that had differences, was at a minimum.

Many that oppose ICCGZ have gone on record to state that there is no “Islamophobia,” or hatred of Muslims. After being called out for hypocrisy, they shifted their rhetoric to support everyone’s constitutional right to the freedom of religion.  Their issue wasn’t about the RIGHT to build ICCGZ; it was about being “sensitive” to the feelings of others and showing "respect" to New York and the victims of 9/11.  The opposition showed their support of Islam’s constitutional rights by protesting, suing, screaming and yelling. Others decided to show their support by stabbing Muslims, pissing on the rugs and vandalising other Mosques.  

All that being said, we’ve talked about the ICCGZ issue several times. However, we haven’t really talked that much about the “sensitivity” or "respect" issue. I find this new line of justification absolutely fascinating! A part of me thinks…the AUDACITY of some folks. I personally feel if "respect" was of others was of genuine concern, I wouldn’t have lived in a County named after a Confederate General, that's pretty damn insensitive and disrespectful to me...but I digress.

August 28th is a pretty important day in the lives of many African Americans.  That day marks, what could be argued, one of the single most significant events to occur during the Civil Rights Movement.  August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream Speech" on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  If your elementary school was anything like mine, you watched this speech EVERY February and you were taught that Martin Luther King Jr. freed the slaves and now Black and White people live in harmony!!!  Later you learned the truth.  That this speech, part of the March on Washington, was about unity.  It wasn't JUST about Black people, it wasn't just about White people, it was about ALL people, ALL religions ("Jews and Gentiles") living in Harmony:
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'" 
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." 
 "I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood."  
On August 28, 2010, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann - individuals who will NEVER be confused with anyone concerned about being "sensitive" or showing "respect" towards the Black Community - are hosting a rally at the Lincoln Memorial.  Of course, since this is the anniversary of the "Dream" and they will be at its EXACT same location, the comparisons have begun. 
Now, in fairness, Beck's site states this is NOT a Political Rally but support for military men and women.  The Event Description says:
Throughout history America has seen many great leaders and noteworthy citizens change her course. It is through their personal virtues and by their example that we are able to live as a free people. On August 28, come celebrate America by honoring our heroes, our heritage and our future.

Join the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and many more for this non-political event that pays tribute to America’s service personnel and other upstanding citizens who embody our nation’s founding principles of integrity, truth and honor.

Our freedom is possible only if we remain virtuous. Help us restore the values that founded this great nation. On August, 28th, come join us in our pledge to restore honor at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.
This is a noble cause, and, if true, I think that is to be commended.  HOWEVER, I can't say that I am sold.  Is the exact same day and location of one of the defining moments in Civil Rights history a mere coincidence?  Meh, maybe, but it isn't a fact lost on Mr. Beck who said, "This is a moment, quite honestly, that I think we reclaim the civil rights movement."  WHAT?  What does that mean -"reclaim the civil rights movement?"

re-claim /riˈkleɪm/ Show Spelled[ree-kleym] Show IPA

–verb (used with object)
1. to claim or demand the return or restoration of, as a right, possession, etc.
2. to claim again.

For this rally to be hosted by most vocal, lead voices arguing for "sensitivity" and "respect" from Muslims, I don't hear or see much of either from them.  To me, to "reclaim the civil rights movement" means to take it back.  To "DEMAND" its return.  Speaking to a crowd that, per the rally's website, were told to NOT bring "signs political or otherwise," this is the type of language that increases the racial divide in our country.  It doesn't promote unity, sensitivity, equality or respect.  It promotes the fallacy that somehow, something was taken and it needs to be taken back.  That the blood and tears that were lost during the Civil Rights movement amount to nothing more than larceny.  I guess since the Civil Rights movement was about equality, I can only deduce that is what they want back.  Mixed in with the fact that it is on August 28, I don't think they are being very "sensitive" or "respectful," hell, it's damn near a slap in the face. 

But you want to know the difference between their supporters, and those like me?  I support their right to meet and speak their mind. PERIOD.  I don't agree with what they say when they are spewing there negative language, I think it is very disrespectful and purposely divisive as hell, but you won't see me filing a lawsuit, stabbing a white taxi driver, or going to any one's house pissing on their carpet.  I just hope that if this rally is truly about America's "great leaders" and "noteworthy citizens" - on that day at that place - they show some of that respect to a man who was both.

What do you think?  Do you have any issues with Beck's Rally on August 28 at the Lincoln Memorial?
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