August 10, 2006

Jesus Was the Original Liberal

I came across this site while surfing, and today's post had a quote from a contributor named The Reckoning, as follows:
If we do have to surrender to the Muslims, it will be the hippie liberals who get slaughtered first. All the rest of us hate-mongering, gun totin' conservatives will be too busy defending our families while the hippies are being picked off one by one while they're riding their bikes and picking daisies in the pasture.
I felt compelled to respond, especially to another comment from this Reckoning person, which claimed that:
When you get right down to it, the liberal mindset isn't one that is based on reality. The liberal mindset is based on hopes and dreams. Some liberals become so immersed in their own dreams that they loose sight of reality and the world around them. Those types of liberals are often referred to as being "Progessive."
I tried to submit part of my response as a comment, but it didn't take, so I'm posting my entire response here.

I find it astonishing that Rec said, “the liberal mindset isn’t one that is based on reality,” when President Bush has made a point of calling news orgs like New York Times “the reality-based media,” meaning that he and his administration have admitted following the oh-so-sensible path of eschewing reality completely. Like thinking they could successfully overthrow Saddam Hussein and establish a new government without an adequate battle plan, and without taking the advice of seasoned military experts who said that sectarian violence would fill the power vacuum. Like Michael Chertoff insisting that there were no thirsty, starving refugees in the NOLA Superdome.

I don’t think that Ogre’s paragraph on the “liberal mindset” was remotely accurate, much less profound. Have any of you ever had a serious, in-depth conversation with someone whose views differ, or are you just going by what Bill O’Reilly says? I’m a liberal, and I don’t take a simplistic view of world politics. I certainly don’t believe that terrorists are basically “nice people” at all, and I don’t think that all people are good, and that all they need is an ice-cream cone and a hand out, and then everything will be hunky-dory. It’s a lot more complicated than that. Unfortunately, there are a lot of Islamists who are so full of hate that they’re beyond rehabilitation, and all we can do is be vigilant, and lock them up if they conspire against us. I think some of the religious hatred on their part is taught as a way to give purpose to empty, hopeless lives, but hatred and intolerance are not condoned in the Koran, and true Muslims aren’t hateful any more than true Christians. But if you were a Muslim who grew up desperately poor, but seeing American affluence on TV, or seeing the lush gardens of the Israeli settlers across the valley while you’re having to beg for water, you’d hate everyone who had what you didn’t--and their culture, too. They can’t have bikini-clad girlfriends or an iPod, so they take it out on those who do.

I do take personal responsibility for conserving, reusing, and recyling as much as possible. I live in a central neighborhood where I can walk instead of drive, but I’m aware that much of my disposable-drink-cup American lifestyle is inherently wasteful. Americans use an enormously disproportionate percentage of energy and resources, and even though our gas prices seem high, they are nothing compared to what people in most other countries pay. I was just in Costa Rica, a developing country where most people are poor, and gas there is over $4 a gallon.

Notwithstanding the fact that the environmental and health costs of fossil fuels aren’t factored into the price, we’re paying for cheap gas with blood of our fellow Americans—2,913 dead, and 20,000+ wounded so far in Iraq and Afghanistan. I mean, the Taliban and Saddam Hussein are evil, but is it all worth it just so we can drive our SUVs to Starbucks? And all the bloodshed in Iraq and now Lebanon is just serving to create another generation of Muslims who have a good reason to hate Americans and Israelis. If a bunch of Arabs stormed into your house, raped your sister, and killed her and your family, wouldn’t you tend to be mad as hell, and vow revenge, Christian or not? And now the Pakistanis, who are supposed to be our allies, are trying to kill us. Judging by the current state of affairs, I would say that the current “blast-‘em-all-to-hell” method isn’t working very well. Do you really think Jesus would suggest killing all Muslims as a way of ridding the world of terrorists? You posted a cartoon of an Arab boot crushing a church steeple, so I assume you remember His words in Matthew 5:43-45? Or in Luke 6:27-36: “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Now I don’t advocate basing American foreign policy on any one religion, and I’m not saying we should give up our country to the terrorists, but it’s incredible that you are really mocking people who follow Jesus’ teachings as a bunch of daisy-picking hippies. Tell me, who would Jesus bomb?

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