The other half of our 1st Amendment, our free speech, makes it easy for their religious politicos to cherry pick the worst offenses of our self-abuse of freedom and point at us and say "See what these fools do with their precious freedom?"
We do all their work for them, in regards to that anti-PR campaign. Instead of picking the mice droppings out of the granola and focusing on the granola, they pick the mice droppings out of the granola and focus on the fact that ... we have mice droppings in our granola. We DO have mice droppings in our granola-- they aren't making that up. And sometimes it isn't mouse droppings. Sometimes it is dog droppings as the credits roll in "Pink Flamingos," as in the name of free speech and art, a 300 lb transvestite named 'Divine' bends down on the sidewalk and celebrates American freedom.
Sometimes it seems like we're not picking mice droppings out of granola. Sometimes it seems like we're picking the peanuts out of the turds.
We know to change the channel-- when we can. But even we can't always do that, just like your example in the supermarket with your child, or just walking down a public street.
They have a point. It isn't a fair point, but it isn't a totally made up point, either; it is a cherry picked point. It is easy to paint the Great Satan as the Great Satan. It is a cliche in their political context, a given. They are taught it from birth; America serves the role of 'the rich' in their version of politico class war, much to the relief of their local modern-moderates who would otherwise bear the brunt of that always used politico shortcut to power.
But -we- do their PR work for them, with every abuse of our own freedom.
And this conflict -still- comes down to America being willing to defend its freedom from those who criticize it...aided by our own who abuse it.
Are we really willing to give up the entire 1st Amendment, just to no longer be seen as a threat to those Old Men in Robes in their local power struggles? Are we willing to give up free speech in order to make their PR campaign harder for them? I'm not. I doubt many in America want that. But what are we willing to do to prevail in this conflict, because it is intractable for as long as we claim to cherish both parts of our 1st Amendment. If not give up our freedom, then like always it must be defended. America is not fully behind this conflict in those terms, and yet they are exactly what is at stake. Because we don't fully recognize that as a united nation, this conflict rages at the pointy end of the stick but is muddled and incoherent at home.
The folks around here still ask questions like that, and discuss them respectfully. But this seems a quiet backwater; for whatever reason, questions like this don't seem to ever enter into the national debate on this issue, even though, in this latest incident, the door is wide open with regards to this silly video(have you seen it? It is truly pathetic...) But instead of framing the debate, the issue is shredded by campaign sensibilities, and it is all about manufacturing indignation at the other campaigns sloppy/inartful soundbites. This kills all serious public debate, it's just a pudding fight. That adds to the overall sense of resignation, sadness, that our process is severely broken and we are being led by politico fools.
(Edited by Fred Bartlett on 9/17, 9:29pm)