If you’re in despair over the carnival of bigotry that Murdoch is so expertly emceeing, it’s good to remember what happened to the previous panic. Back from 1996-2004 it was gays who threatened Our Way of Life and could only be resisted by sending lots of money to wingnuts and lots of Republicans to Washington. It worked; had it not been for Mayor Newsom’s decision to permit gay marriage in San Francisco, John Kerry might have carried Ohio and become President.
But it’s not working anymore; gay marriage is now about a 50-50 proposition, with the trend strongly in favor of decency. That’s part of the reason the paymasters on the right decided to gin up the grossly un-American and objectively pro-terrorist campaign against Cordoba House.
It’s sad that the sort of people stupid enough to fall for this kind of crap are stupid enough to fall for it over and over, and that members of groups who themselves were victims (Catholics and Mormons, for example) are often eager to join the next pogrom. But you can’t fool all of the people all of the time; even the African-American preachers who are willing to make common cause against gays with the spiritual descendants of the Klan don’t go so far as voting Republican. The anti-immigrant campaign that won the governorship of California for the Republicans in 1994 left behind it a solidly Democratic Latino community.
There’s a term for the political attitude that rejects each demonization campaign as it comes along, and slowly tries to expand the reach of the political community; it’s called “liberalism.” If you’re not a straight male chuch-going Protestant property owner of Anglo-Saxon descent, there was a time when your equal citizenship and American-ness was a contested question, with conservatives on one side and liberals on the other.
So dance with who brung ya.
And in the meantime, do not despair.
Footnote Â I’m prepared to retract the accusation of bigotry if someone can state the case for why building Cordoba House should be controversial without implying that Islam and Muslims are only conditionally entitled to the full privileges of other faiths and other Americans.