Thursday, October 7, 2010

Birthday Blog

OK, we clearly need to talk about my birthday – and Neil’s – but before we do, there’s something I need to get off my chest.

What the fuck is going on in politics?

I’m sorry, I thought we hit a new low when nine Republicans stood on stage in 2008, seeking their party’s nomination for President, and fully two-thirds of them claimed not to believe in evolution. Seriously – serious people vying for the most powerful leadership position in the world, disclaiming something every third-grader knows, simply to pander to an ignorant population of Republican base voters. Rather than use the moment for leadership, to remind people that they can believe in God, and religion, and science (Darwin did), 6 of the 9 decided, instead, chose the low road.

I never realized I’d look back on that day, nostalgically, with the rise of the Tea Party. Rememebr the Boston Tea Party? That quaint event you learned about in American History – way back in elementary school? How the colonists, outraged by the taxes and injustices wrought upon them by Merry Old England – where they had no representation in Parliament – threw tea into Boston Harbor as a form of protest?

Somehow I’m failing to see the parallel between colonial America and the would-be Senator from Kentucky, who’d like to dismantle the Civil Rights Act. Because the best way to celebrate our heritage of going to great lengths to protect against unfairness and injustice is to let private business discriminate against Blacks. Sounds reasonable to me.

Or the Senate candidate from Nevada, who stands shoulder-to-shoulder in the history books with patriots such as Nathan Hale and Patrick Henry, for her courageous stand to eliminate the Department of Education. Nothing says freedom like ignorance, poverty and an utter lack of opportunity.

I think my favorite, though, has to be the Senate candidate from Delaware, though, Christine O’Donnell. Here was a clear pick-up for the Republicans. Mike Castle – experienced, well-respected, accomplished – would have won by at least 5 points. Instead, they ended up with a nutjob, whose outspoken against masturbation (you just lost men, ages 18-80, and any woman whose ever ridden Space Mountain.) And she may be a witch.

You know how I know.

Because she has a commercial where she starts by saying, “I’m not a witch."

In the Nixonian tradition of “I am not a crook,” the Clintonian recitation of “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” we can now add, “I am not a witch” to the political canon of me-thinks-thou-doth-protest-too-much.

If it were just electoral politics, I could chalk it up to the silly season that approaches every other year, to fill the yawning gap between Labor Day and Thanksgiving with something other than Halloween candy and the fall premiere of tv shows, 90 per cent of which won’t exist by Christmas and which all seem to inexplicably include Jenny McCarthy or someone from Friends. But it’s not. It’s also current events – which brings us to: The Mosque At Ground Zero.

Don’t you love the way I wrote that? It sounds like a title for an old Hardy Boys mystery, or maybe a romance novel with some shirtless, swarthy guy on the cover ripping the gown of a lusty, busty maiden. The Mosque At Ground Zero.

Or maybe an attraction or concert venue. The Theater at Madison Square Garden. The Inn at Little Washington. The Mosque At Ground Zero.

But no, The Mosque At Ground Zero, was nothing nearly as fun. It was another ugly, racist, small-minded chapter in our cable-news-driven shout-o-rama.

Let’s set a few things straight.

The Mosque At Ground Zero, was not intended to be a mosque. It was a cultural center, on par with the Jewish Community Center on 76th and Amsterdam. Among the characteristics of this proto-house of worship are a swimming pool, ceramics classes, and a snack bar.

Nothing says God like nachos.

Additionally, the Not-A-Mosque-At-Ground-Zero was NOT AT GROUND ZERO. What is at Ground Zero is a hole in the ground with a future office building and museum under construction. The Not-A-Mosque was located several blocks away, two storefronts over from a “Gentlemen’s Club,” in a former Burlington Coat Factory. Are suddenly finding hallowed ground in places that once hawked 50%-off-underwear? And can we all agree that only in America could people be offended by expressions of free religion, but not the boobs-in-your-face bottle service happening 200 feet west?

I’d like a side order of tits with my self-righteousness.

And so, dear readers, if you’d like to give me a gift this birthday, let’s pledge to end the hyperbole. Can we please end the era of The Mosque At Ground Zero simply because it sounds more inflammatory than The Cultural Center Down the Block from a Strip Joint? Can we stop taking umbrage every time there’s an opportunity to twist the truth into a sound bite, just so poor dumb people in flat state will send a check to Rand Paul or Fox News, or some other entity that needs it a lot less than a steel-worker or nurse with an eighth grade education.

Oh, and whoever got me what I wanted for my last birthday – thank you. I know it came almost a year late, but a Senate candidate who’s an actual witch. Yay. The gift of fodder.

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