To mark 9/11 this Saturday, I plan to gather together printouts of certain blog posts, articles, and interviews, and burn them on my outdoor barbecue grill – specifically within a charcoal chimney – before fixing some dinner and getting back to the important business of watching college football… assuming that praying and praying and praying on this provocative proposal doesn’t change my mind first.
As you may know, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney have now joined diverse conservative bloggers, as well as General David Petraeus, in criticizing, denouncing, or, anyway, seeking separation from the most obviously dangerous stupid-craziest of the looniest. I’m referring, of course, to the burn-the-Qur’an on 9/11 stunt we’ve mentioned before, and specifically to Gainesville conceptual artist Pastor Terry Jones – not to be confused with a different brain anaesthetist, though clearly an American Gumby if ever there was one. The merely moderately dangerous averagely loony loonies remain safe from the wrath of Sarah, Mitt, and the tens if not hundreds if not thousands of amateur anti-Imams who’ve been busy creating the atmosphere – of suspicion, hatred, prejudice, fear, and self-righteous anger – in which men like Pastor Gumby flourish.
I’ve very prayerfully determined that Sarah and Mitt’s statements don’t go anywhere near far enough.
I yesterday observed that Howard Portnoy had come up with a novel if niggling line of personal assault on the dreaded sponsor of the dreaded 9/11 Victory Mega-Mosque Mosque Mosque, but I neglected to mention that just the previous day Howard had joined our other former colleague J..E Dyer taking that same heroic stance that Mitt and Sarah have now taken. Today, J.E. has heroically expanded her criticism of the Qur’an-burning to include… President Obama, who, according to J.E., got things wrong in his interview with George Stephanopolous. J.E. helpfully writes out what a good president would have said, and as far as I can tell from her text, the main problem for President Dyer is that the three or so paragraphs President Dire got out at the end of the interview dwelt too much on the requests for a message to Pastor Jones, for an assessment of the practical dangers, and for reflection on the limited powers of the presidency. The President should, in J.E.’s view, have emphasized much more strongly that “provoking people… must always be a secondary concern”: We have to do what’s right in our own eyes regardless, and we must support our fellow Americans’ right to be provocative, uncompromisingly.
For shame, Dire. As for Dyer and all the right-thinking people who will agree with her, to my knowledge they’ve never considered that, if avoiding provocation – i.e., knuckling under to bullies, hysterics, and lunatics – is a bad rule, maybe it applies, uncompromisingly, to fellow Americans proposing community centers in Lower Manhattan, too.
Anyway, now that the not-as-openly-quite-as-far-gone have attacked the blatantly-all-the-way-gone, the former can get back to nit-picking the President and minimizing or outright denying the role and influence of bigots, nutjobs, and nutjob bigots among the “anti-mosque” forces. Allahpundit or David Gergen can show up to remind the anti-Islamics and other hysterics always to blame their own vindictive emotionalism and dark fantasies on the provocative Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. After that, it will be all-clear for going on the attack – perhaps amidst general mutual back-slapping if the Pastor gets the thumb-down from on high, via all that praying he says he’s doing on the tough decision to burn or not to burn. At the next opportunity, invented if necessary, the bloggers, pundits, and politicians will happily and defiantly join in again with the rest of the virtual lynch mob.
In short, the somewhat-more-restrained have all along been providing cover and encouragement to the somewhat-less-restrained. The anniversary of 9/11 is the right time for both groups, or at least their sinning ways, to be ritually consigned to Hellfire.
I will treat any criticisms of my proposal as highly secondary.
UPDATE: No, the announcement that the Park51 project will be moved in exchange for Pastor Gumby standing down does not affect my plans. I will be praying for Donald Trump to buy me a stainless steel grill with built-in charcoal chimney, however. That could change my mind.