Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Secularism... if if if...

A friend called my attention to a great article in the Christian Science Monitor about the response of French Muslims to the the Iraqi Militants' kidnapping of french journalists, Kidnappings backfire on Iraq militants.

Basically, the gist is this: "A group calling itself the Islamic Army in Iraq threatened to kill two French journalists unless France agrees to scrap a controversial ban on wearing Islamic head scarves in schools."

I'd like to call attention to one particular paragraph:
The ban, which forbids all conspicious religious garb in the name of secularism, was passed earlier this year amid French concerns that Islamic militancy could change the character of the country. France has the largest Muslim population in Europe apart from Turkey.

My dream is that one day, a paragraph like this will be included in an article about the United States. Something, perhaps, like this:
The ban, which forbids all conspicious religious speech and activity in the name of secularism, was passed earlier this year amid American concerns that Evangelical Christian extremism could change the character of the country. The United States has the largest Evangelical Christian population in North America.

Wouldn't that just be a dream???

Monday, August 30, 2004

Long-Awaited update?

I've been using my livejournal for articles and such again lately, which I promised myself I wouldn't do. The articles and such are supposed to go here. But, quite frankly, Blogger annoys me senseless. My livejournal clients make it much easier to update there.

But alas, ladies and gentlemen, soon there will be a WHOLE NEW blog, and a proper writing portfolio to boot. Construction is finally underway. I'm very excited, and I owe Michael a big fat thank you for getting it set up for me, and hosting it on his server.

It's time for the Republican National Convention! I'm so excited. All the great speeches, homage paid to patriotism and Americanism, honesty, integrity... oh wait REPUBLICAN convention. My bad.

Conventions are what I like to call "Political Circle Jerks." The muzakified popular ballads, the balloon chutes, the stupid hats, the bad dancers, and, of course, the parties.

Let's hope that the Republicans don't decide to pull a Florida Recount maneuver and send staffers to pose as "liberal troublemakers" and set things on fire, thereby allowing the Right and the Media to associate firestarters and destructors of property with Liberals. I hope, I hope.

Mother Jones has a great article in today called Immoderate Republicans, about the right wingers who came out among the left wing protestors to show their support (a sort of PROprotest) for President Bush and the crew. This is the kind of person who scares me:
"Four more years! Four more years!" The chant works its way from cluster to cluster, shifting occasionally from English to Spanish. "¡Cuatro años más!" cries 32-year-old Kirsys Vasquez, the production manager for an interior designer and a self-described "Dominican for Bush." A lifelong Democrat, Vasquez voted for Al Gore four years ago -- and now, she says, "I hate myself" for that vote. The political conversion came while she was pregnant.

Urged by some coworkers to consider abortion, Vasquez viewed some graphic pro-life literature, which led her to decide it was immoral to terminate a pregnancy. The rest of her political beliefs followed suit, she says, realigning along the Republican axis -- and after Sept. 11, she became an ardent supporter of the invasion of Iraq. "If Al Gore was president, we’d have been bombed every week," she says. "The Democrats -- they’re not right to fight this war."

For fear of sounding like a total asshole, I will refrain from explaining exactly why this scares me other than to say that when people align along a platform because of some Enlightenment regarding one issue, they are being stupid. If Al Gore was president, we might have Osama bin Laden (instead of just assuming that we already have him and that he will be triumphantly produced from the bowels of Guantanamo in October), and we most CERTAINLY would not be engaged in conflict in Iraq. North Korea would not be calling our leader a "tyrant," and maybe, just maybe, the projected federal deficit would be a lot smaller.

But what if... what if... let's not digress into a cavalcade of what ifs...

(On the downside, I wouldn't have nearly as much fun tearing apart speeches and gaffes within them.)

Even if you think it's pointless, I implore you to read first, then vote. It's great to encourage everyone to vote, and I support that --- it's a first step. But in order to stave off apathy, people really need to find a REASON to vote, and that reason needs to be something positive within a candidate's platform. Listening to them on TV, well that's really exciting. Enjoy that image. But reading about them, reading what they've done, what they've said, etc etc.... it makes a huge difference, and makes it all seem less futile.

Of course, I am the kind of person who lives in a world of ideals built upon words. So what do I know anyway?