It’s also a bit of an exaggeration to say the site is at Ground Zero. It isn’t. It’s about two blocks from the northeastern edge of the World Trade Center site, which is a bit more like five blocks from where the towers actually stood. Traveling five blocks in NYC can be like traveling to a different country–five blocks can be the difference between a fifty dollar duck confit and a five dollar handjob.
Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam of the proposed Islamic community center, was even invited to an FBI meeting to lecture about the relations between Muslims and non-Muslims. So he’s definitely an untrustworthy character.
One last thing regarding this mosque: In 2000, the republican-led Congress passed the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. Currently, GOP is calling for the government to block the building of this new mosque, which might be a violation of the First Amendment. But it’s surely in violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which was passed through the republican led congress with unanimous consent. If you don’t believe me, click the link and read the language of the act yourself.
I can hear your collective reactions through the computer “But Mark, if it’s no big deal, and it would be illegal for any government institution to block the construction, why are the republicans throwing a big fit??
Easy. Misdirection. A red herring. It’s the political equivalent of telling someone “hey, your shoelace is untied,” and then busting the person in the nose when he or she looks down.
The republican party has a illustrious past of using the red herring to deflect voter attention away from their inherent shittiness. The red herring they are most likely to employ is a black or brown person, or some other scary, non-WASPy individual. Examples? You got it, but be sure to buckle up because it’s gonna be a long and bumpy ride.
Let’s start with Reagan. What was his sleight-of-hand move? Scary black women. Reagan convinced the voters that there were thousands and thousands of welfare moms, which he dubbed “welfare queens,” and if we elected a democrat to the presidency we would become a welfare nation and there would be thousands more of the lazy, child-producing, Cadillac driving black women. Never mind the fact that the woman Reagan used as an example, Linda Taylor, probably never even existed. Black people on welfare were going to steal all our hard earned money!!!! Vote republican!!!
Now let’s move right along to George H. W. Bush. What was his “your shoelace is untied” maneuver? Scary black man raping people. While Michael Dukakis was the governor of Massachusetts, he supported a program that would grant certain prisoners, even those that were convicted for life, a furlough.
Pay attention now because the devil is in the details with this story. This furlough program was not Dukakis’s handiwork. It was actually signed into law by the previous governor, a republican, by the name of Â Francis W. Sargent. Originally, the furlough program didn’t cover inmates that had received life in prison, but the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that it should, in fact, cover those serving life. Again, Dukakis supported it after the fact, but he had absolutely nothing to do with it passing or the expansion of the program.
During Dukakis’s time as governor, Willie Horton, an inmate in Maryland, was release for a weekend furlough via this program. He did not return to prison like he was supposed to do, and while he was out, he assaulted a man and raped his girlfriend.
George H. W. Bush used this as an example of what would happen if you voted for Dukakis, despite the fact that Dukakis had nothing to do with the whole debacle besides saying he thought the program made sense. Bush went on to make the case that Dukakis was planning on releasing all the scary black men from prisons. And logically, those black men would immediately begin raping white women as quickly as they could. Vote republican!!!
The republicans tried like hell to distract the American people away from Bill Clinton’s suaveness, but fortunately for our economy, none of the republicans had an effective enough red herring to totally topple Slick Willie. They were partially successful during the 1992 midterms, as they were able to retake the majority in Congress. The republicans actually had to use two bugaboos as ruses during the 1992 midterms: uppity feminists and socialism.
The republicans understood that their base, fundamentalist Christians, do not like feminists and strong women. So they relentlessly attacked Hillary. While at the same time, Clinton was attempting to pass a comprehensive health care plan, so they were able to not only fall back on the old tried and true “welfare queen” shtick, but they also went with the “they’re transforming us into socialists!!”
After the midterms, the republicans weren’t all that successful at distracting us away from Bill. Sure, they tried to impeach him over his affair with Monica Lewinsky, but most people recognized that whole thing as the dog and pony show it was, and in the end, the impeachment probably hurt the GOP as much as it did Clinton.
Moving right along, George W. Bush, along with Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, were masters of the red herring. We should bow down before their techniques. They first used the red herring during the 2000 primaries. Bush and Rove began a ‘whisper campaign‘ in South Carolina, through which they began a nasty little rumour that John McCain had fathered a black baby out of wedlock. More scary black people! McCain subsequently lost S.C., and eventually the primary nomination campaign.
Bush, Rove, and Cheney pulled off what is perhaps the greatest sleight of hand in political history: They convinced a whole nation that all brown people are the same. That’s right, they convinced us all that Saddam Hussein and Iraq were ultimately responsible for 9/11, despite the fact that they had exactly zero, zilch, nada to do with the attacks on the World Trade Center. You see, Bush, Cheney, and Rove knew that fighting in Afghanistan was going to be shitty, shitty work. There was no real face of the enemy, and Afghanistan hadn’t really even recovered from the beating the Soviets had issued during the ’80s. So they needed a reason to go into Iraq. What they need was some “proof” that would serve as a distraction.
Wanna know where republicans got their “proof” that there had been a relationship between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda? An informant named “Curveball“ who had embezzled a shit-ton of money from Saddam and had a history of making things up.
That’s it, you’re saying? We actually started a second war on the basis of some information from an embezzler who had a history of lying? Well, no. You see, both Saddam and Al-Qaeda are Muslim. And they’re all brown.
So we went to war, and in the process, Bush pulled off the greatest incident of misdirection ever. Hey, look, more scary brown people! Let’s fight them, too!
He also used the red herring against John Kerry during the 2004 campaign. He was able to cast John Kerry, an honest to goodness war hero, as a liar and a war dissident.
I’m going to move away from G.W.B., but I could literally write several posts on the uses of the red herring fallacy during the Bush presidency. But we don’t have time. Onward to…
2008. The GOP, sensing that using uppity women and godless sodomites as distractions for the upcoming presidential election might not work, went back to the tried and true formula: Scary Black People. Except this time, the scary black person was the actual candidate for President of the United States! AAHHHHHH!
First they said his Christian minister was anti-American. Then they said that Obama was secretly a Muslim. (first he’s a racist christian and then a militant muslim) Then they said he wasn’t born in the U.S. Then they said he was best friends with a terrorist. Then they said he was schooled in a radical Islamic madrassa. Then they called him “elitist,” which I think is a synonym for “uppity.”
And on. And on. And on. Scary Black Man. Obama has been a blessing for those who practice the art of misdirection.
And now they’re at it again. Scary muslims in NYC building a mosque. It’s all an illusion though. You want to know the real reason they’re pushing this thing? The midterms. They’re trying to get us scared again because they know that scared people won’t give a shit that the republicans haven’t done jack shit since January 2009. They’ve vetoed everything they could. They’ve refused to compromise on anything, and they’ve brought Congress to a standstill on issues that are usually procedural. But muslims are scary! Vote for the republicans or you could be killed by muslims!
If you really want to know the true character of the GOP, look no further than the GOP stalling of the 9/11 responders bill. The republicans vetoed yet another version of a bill that would provide health care to the first responders of 9/11. You know why? Because at ground zero, on the day of 9/11 and the hellish days that followed, there were some undocumented workers that helped with rescue operations. And now those people are sick, and the GOP, the party of the Christians, doesn’t want to pay for the health care of people who are here illegally.
That’s the true character of the current GOP: Hateful. Racist. Greedy and Petty.
So on November 2nd, remember that the GOP is trying to distract you with all kinds of bullshit and nonsense. Vote for any of the candidates besides the GOP candidates because otherwise, you could wake up on November 3rd with a bloodied and broken nose.