Friday, December 22, 2006

Bigotry In America Part 2
Related : Bigotry In America, You Bet.

The fact of the matter is that I can't even believe in the year 2006 we are even having a debate about religious choice and equality in the United States. The constitution is crystal clear about religious freedoms.

Recently there has been controversy over the fact that the African American newly elected Democratic Congressman from Minnesota who happens to be Muslim wants to take his oath on the Koran.

Now hold on there. Wait just one minute before you think you can go and spout off about how Muslims shouldn't be allowed to take their oath on the Koran... I know some Christians have a tendency to make judgements and statements before dusting off the constitution and reading the thing.

Since the constitution is long and boring to Republicans, let me simplify it :

In Article. VI. of the United States Constitution it is written that "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

Can you read that? It's that simple! You don't like it? Then YOU get out, because clearly it is YOUR ideals are unconstitutional and therefore unAmerican.

The people who have a problem with Keith Ellison are the problem, they are the force that threatens to undermine American ideals and society because they don't even understand American ideals or the guidelines set forth in the Constitution by the founding fathers, men who philosophised more in one day than these neoconservative critics have in a lifetime.

Keith Ellison's choice of religion is not the problem, nor is the fact that he would like to take his Oath on the Koran. The constitution protects the rights of all religions or lack thereof, of not only the people, but those who represent them.

In time and age in America I cannot believe we are even having this debate. It is very simple, and for those who don't understand they need to either read the Constitution or retract themselves from this debate that shouldn't even need to be debated.

In this time and age, here we are in Iraq, in the Middle East in general, and we are preaching about this thing called Democracy. We think we have this experimental Democracy thing down so pat that we can just be spreading it all around the world like it's New Year's cheer.

Here we are in Iraq saying "Sunni, Shia, Kurds, you need to get along, and treat each other with equality. You need to be more secular, and not judge people based on their religion."

MEANWHILE, here we are at home harassing this American Muslim man who was fairly elected about... his religion. Clearly this country is still composed of bigots who don't practice what they preach.

Not only is it unconstitutional, it's downright hypocritical, and it truly exposes Right for what it is : A xenophobic, unAmerican, unconstitutional bunch vision-less racist who only hold this country back from progression.

It's an ugly statement, but their vileness and hypocrisy is astoundingly backwards and surprisingly similar to the type of ideology we are struggling to defeat in the Middle East.

Keith Ellison and his Koran are not going to upset the fabric of reality or Americanism. In fact, it embraces it. Some people have a poor perception of America and believe that the constitution and equal rights only apply to certain people.

You cannot grant full rights to atheist, Agnostics, Quakers, Christians and Jews and refuse them to Muslims.

Specifically because it is unconstitutional, but especially because we are attempting to democratize the Middle East while telling the Muslims that other sects of Muslims or Christians and Jews all deserve equal rights and that you shouldn't treat people differently because of their religion.

While it is becoming painfully apparent that Muslims are not equal in America, even if they are American, educated and successful.

An article I found on CBS illustrates it rather well with the following

"the oath is a religious ritual, both in its origins and its use by the devout today. The oath invokes God as a witness to one's promise, as a means of making the promise more weighty on the oathtaker's conscience. "


"For the devout, taking an oath upon a religious book is a religious act. Requiring the performance of a religious act using the holy book of a particular religion is a religious test. If Congress were indeed to take the view that "If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book [the Bible], don't serve in Congress," it would be imposing an unconstitutional religious test."

After examining this situation I have fully realized for perhaps the first time how important a secular government is.

With constitutional dumb asses like Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode and bigoted crusaders like Dennis Prager who cannon handle themselves when someone of an "opposing" religion wishes to take an Oath on their own holy book, maybe a new approach should be taken.

If it's such a big deal to these people, they can't handle the slightest bit of diversity that they think they can punish Muslims, then maybe everyone should be collectivly punished and no one is allowed to use any holy book to take their oath by.

How do the religious ideologues like that? Take an affirmation on the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution and Bill Of Rights, that's what your there to uphold in the first place.

I don't believe such a resolution should be made, but the point is that if there cannot be a Koran then there cannot be a Bible, or a Torah or any other holy book present during the Oath.

In conclusion, Ellison's request is Constitutional, and his opponents are not in compliance with with that. It is the opponents who are threatening American ideals, not Keith Ellison.

Furthermore it is ludicrous to try to teach other nations about religious equality and tolerance when it is so apparently absent here.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

"Do-Over" Number 814 : Send More Troops
A solution for an overstretched military becomes stretching the military even more

The President has expressed his desire to sent 15,000 - 30,000 additional troops to Iraq, even though the Joint Chiefs of Staff oppose additional troops fearing the cost would far outweigh the benefits.

General John Abizaid, who replaced the rockskull Tommy Franks in Iraq has in recent weeks expressed his opposition to additional troops levels as well. Now Abizaid is to retire, and Abizaid's early departure could make it far easier for the White House to demand for a "surge" in troops.

The Democrats, who know they were elected because the American people demanded change in Iraq are showing little backbone in standing up against the President's desire to send more troops to Iraq. By change, I don't think we meant we wanted to dig our heels in even further...

Rumsfelds replacement, Robert Gates went to Baghdad, but refused to address wether or not the US should send additional troops, stating "all options are on the table,"

Meanwhile there are are ideological optimist who are so bent on something they can call "victory" and so determined to create a "legacy" for George W. Bush that they are unwilling to discuss the negative repercussions which could result from sending more troops to Iraq.

This is the sort of short sightedness that ushered in this new age of terrorism in Iraq.

Before, during and after the invasion, the Bush Administration and it's lackey's refused to hear any evidence or opinions regarding Iraq that were contrary to their own, therefore they were incredibly inept at controlling the situation once it inevitably spun out of control.

Our military is already stretched thin, an admission made by many now that we are entering year four in Iraq with little to no progress made.

There are real threats out there, countries with nuclear weapons, countries that want nuclear weapons and powers that are beginning to rival our own.

Could have, would have, should have, but didn't send more troops in the first place. It's a little late in the game to be calling for a "do-over". What would be done with these troops in the event of a so called "surge"?

Put them on street corners so angry Iraqi's, insurrectionist and terrorist can target them?

Another "shock and awe" to kill a few bad guys and a lot of civilians to get the Iraqi's even more fired up and give the terrorist even more recruiting powers?

What are you going to do with those troops other then send them off to die? The fairy tale is over, there is no direction, there is no mission.

Motion should not be confused with action! As Benjamin Franklin once said.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Time's "Person of the Year"

This years TIME magazine's "Person Of The Year" was an interesting choice, it was "You".

Why? "In 2006, the World Wide Web became a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter". The full article can be read at Time.Com.

The TIMEpiece also reads "It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes."

It concludes " But 2006 gave us some ideas. This is an opportunity to build a new kind of international understanding, not politician to politician, great man to great man, but citizen to citizen, person to person. It's a chance for people to look at a computer screen and really, genuinely wonder who's out there looking back at them. Go on. Tell us you're not just a little bit curious. "

TIME is keen to observe our growing community of blogging, information swapping, original creative content and overall true originality.

People are watching your videos on YouTube and looking at your profiles on MySpace and reading your blogs on Blogger.Com. Best of all, they are doing it from all over the world, and yes, that is pretty amazing when you think about it.

Although the nomination was surprising, it is quite fitting. User content has really driving the web to it's prominence and made it the much needed entertainment and enlightenment tool.

It was a novel nomination, obviously the media is catching onto what the rest of us are doing in our free time.

"I'm going to blog about my state of mind or the state of the nation or the steak-frites at the new bistro down the street? Who has that time and that energy and that passion?

The answer is, you do. And for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, TIME's Person of the Year for 2006 is you."

"Digital Democracy", I like that.

Read TIME Magazine's "Person of the Year" at Time.Com.