Monday, August 16, 2010

The Cordoba Initiative And The Tea Party Bund

The Cordoba Initiative, the multi-story Islamic community center and mosque located blocks away from Ground Zero, had recently received a big endorsement - a Hamas co-founder has weighed in on the matter.  This of course will surely raise some eyebrows on the right and be used as proof the center is being built in the name of terrorism.  You can't really control who endorses you and I am reminded back to the 2008 campaigns when John McCain decided to do some right-wing fear mongering and accused Hamas of backing Barack Obama, which was one big lie, but McCain had some unsavory endorsements of his own that he probably didn't want public - the Ku Klux Klan.  By using that kind of logic, one could claim that John McCain is racist, and if the 2008 campaigns isn't enough, you could also make the argument that the tea party organization is a racist movement because of the racist elements of some of the associated organizations.

Basically, the right's arguments are flawed - they assume every Muslim is a terrorist and that Christians (or victims of terrorism) deserve preferential treatment.  I was reading a Big Peace article by Jeff Perren today that made some ridiculous comparisons regarding the "Ground Zero mosque" - Perren actually compared the construction of the Islamic center to Tokyo Rose and the German American Bund.

Perren claims the government has the authority to prevent the construction of the building, based on the case Chandler v. United States, which involved a man who had committed treasonous acts against America while in Nazi Germany.  He then states then states that America would have been right to shut down the Tokyo Rose broadcasts if they could and that the German American Bund was not allowed to freely operate in 1942.

First, comparing the broadcasts of Japanese propaganda by English-speaking woman during World War II seems a bit different then constructing a mosque in Manhatten - I don't believe a community center is going to be spreading propaganda and identifying troop movements in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Secondly, referencing the German American Bund is ridiculous - it was a Nazi American organization that was highly critical of the Roosevelt administration, with the main goal of promoting a positive view of Nazi Germany.  They operated freely up until 1942 , when the House Committee on Un-American Activities stepped in (the same Committee was responsible for the blacklisting of Hollywood artists in the 1940s).  I had noticed some similarities between the German American Bund and right-wing activists like on Breitbart's sites and the various tea party rallies held nation wide.

As taken from the Wikipedia page for the German American Bund:
Arguably, the zenith of the Bund's history occurred on President's Day, February 20, 1939 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Some 20,000 people attended and heard Kuhn criticize President Franklin D. Roosevelt by repeatedly referring to him as “Frank D. Rosenfeld”, calling his New Deal the "Jew Deal", and stating his belief of Bolshevik-Jewish American leadership. Most shocking to American sensibilities was the outbreak of violence between protesters and Bund storm troopers.
Consider the play on FDR's name - it reminds me of the right's preference to refer to the president as Hussein Obama, or BHO.  Replace all mention of Jews with Muslims and you have the new right-wing narrative that the president is a communist Muslim seeking to replace the American way of life with socialism and Shariah law.

Newt Gingrich chimed in on the Nazi analogies comparing the mosque to protests of the Holocaust Museum:
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Monday compared the mosque planned to go up blocks away from Ground Zero in New York to Nazis protesting next the Holocaust Museum.

Gingrich highlighted the fact that New York Democratic Gov. David Paterson and numerous others have proposed alternative locations for the mosque in arguing that the leaders of the cultural center are “radical Islamists” who want to want to prove that “they can build a mosque next to a place where 3,000 Americans were killed by Islamists.”

“That's why they won't accept any other offer,” he said during an interviw on Fox News's "Fox & Friends."

Gingrich then declared that if the mosque is indeed being built as a symbol, which its leaders have repeatedly denied, New York authorities have every right to prevent it from being built.
I think Gingrich has got it backwards - the mosque protesters are the ones who are most like the Holocaust Museum protesters.

And not to be outdone, Rush Limbaugh likens the center to a Hindu temple being built next to Pearl Harbor.

Sadly, a majority of Americans don't like the idea of the Cordoba Initiative because the right-wing's propaganda is so effective - they have become experts on creating highly specialized and highly simplified messages to influence Americans.  They speak about their love of the constitution but then they promote the idea that the government should step in and deny a religion its freedom to exercise their faith and build a place of worship.  They evoke September 11th as a way to manipulate the masses and then attack anyone's patriotism should they take an opposing view, like the Obama standing up for the constitutional rights of the Muslim-Americans.  They will stop at nothing until they get what they want - a confederacy of Christian states.

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