Robert C. Koehler
"The holiest of all spots on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love."
The xenophobia may be mostly on the margins of American society, but it gets mainstream play.
Consider the holy war that
The words at the top of the column are from "A Course in Miracles."
My sense is that a huge percentage of Americans -- and most of the rest of the world -- would love such a monument as well, but it has no traction in Media World, which may or may not be serving an agenda larger than its own financial desperation. Patriotism in this world takes the shape of a large, gated community, huddled in fear of everything on the outside.
And now, as a number of writers have pointed out, there has been a paranoia shift over the past year or so, with the "enemy within" gaining increasing dominance in right-wing discourse: Muslims, illegal aliens, etc.
The sudden furor over the proposed Park51 community center in Lower Manhattan, after months in which nobody cared, fits neatly into this trend. As
So far this is just politics as usual, with the know-nothing crowd shamelessly conjuring an enemy out of thin air. The racists and race baiters have always been with us. Half a century ago, Large-Spirited America found its voice and courage and began standing up to them, and the civil rights and other movements of extraordinary social change began transforming the country's legal, cultural and political landscape. But that was then and this is now.
As Kumar notes, once the right-wing bandwagon of hate started to roll, "leading Democrats like
Large-Spirited America no longer has a serious voice in
The article, by
Here is the America that refuses to rally around a common enemy or live in denial over our sins of empire. I'd like to see Ground Zero honor the Iraqi and Afghan dead as well as our own, and grieve for all civilians murdered in the name of ideology. Most of all, I'd like to see a plaque announcing humanity's commitment that this will never happen again.
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(c) 2010 Robert C. Koehler