Monday, August 16, 2010

Fear to Anger, Anger to Hate, Hate Leads to the Dark Side


As an advocate for reason, clear headedness, and critical thinking I must warn you that this post is going to be a bit of a gripe.

The Dilemma
Social gathering networks… what are they good for? Mostly a headache and a big fat waste of time, if you ask me. Still, since I live away from home it’s one of the easiest ways to keep in contact with friends and family members back stateside. Yet sometimes a friend of a friend, or somebody who I thought was a friend, will write the most god-awful diatribe—spouting off at the mouth as if their opinion was god’s gift to mankind—and going on and on about politics or religion—without actually having a inkling of a clue about what they are talking about. Although I try and ignore such self conceitedness, every once in a while there is a real doozy of a comment that I can’t just turn a blind eye to—because it’s so damn ignorant that it bleeds offensiveness.

Just the other day I saw a post which horrified me. It was full of anger, rage, and all of it irrational to the core. Ramblings of a madwoman, and it made me sick to my stomach that there could be somebody so daft. I could scarcely believe how cruel and vindictive she was. It literally sounded as if a sociopath had written it. Her post amounted to little more than some tired out diatribe about how President Barack Obama supports the building of the Islamic Mosque near ground zero. She included a link to an article on just such a topic, which I thought she was responding to. Her blurb went on to talk about how the President is “pissing all over the U.S. Constitution,” that he’s a canard, and that anyone who supported him needed to, in her exact words, “…get the fuck off my friends list…”

So I clicked on the link which accompanied her rant and I read the article for myself (which you can read HERE). This article, of course, was in reference to one published by the Associated Press earlier (which you can read HERE). Although the first article was just segue into the second, to my surprise I found the latter to be a rather good discussion on the mosque debate. As it is, the article never mentions the President actually saying he supports the building of the Muslim mosque at that particular location, it does mention he questions the “wisdom” of such a decision.

President Obama has no authority in such matters as they lie entirely out of his jurisdiction, that at least the Constitution ensures, but he was cornered by the press, and so he made a public statement about the right of ALL Americans to practice religion freely, whether they are Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Jew, Christian, Mormon, or even Scientologist, etc. Meanwhile, reading the article we find that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg states about Obama’s White House speech that is was a “clarion of defense of the freedom of religion.”

Now feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but at least in response to the aforementioned article(s), there was no explicit endorsement for the building of any such religious structure by the President. President Obama didn’t come out and say, “I fully support the building of this Muslim mosque here…” again—that’s distinctly what he did not say. In fact, he questions the “wisdom” behind it—which hints as a subtle disapproval. Yet it’s clear to me that the President merely supports the right for Americans to believe what they will and practice their religion freely.

Florida governor Charlie Crist, a republican, stated about Obama’s comments that, “I think he’s right—I mean you know we’re a country that in my view stands for freedom of religion and respect for others,” and continued on to say, “I know there are sensitivities and I understand them. This is a place where you’re supposed to be able to practice your religion without the government telling you you can’t.” It just so happens that Muslims are simply practicing their religion, and subsequently will be building a place of worship (e.g. a mosque) near ground zero (Park Place Manhattan to be exact), and the President supports their right to practice their religion freely. That’s what I took from the article—without reading too much into the subtext of the debate.

A Headache Growing into a Migraine
Being an advocate for reason, and feeling pained at the level of credulity of the girl’s comments, but not wanting to start a comments war on Facebook, I wrote her a personal message asking if she had actually read the article in full—even though it was apparent that she had not. I wanted her to go back and read, or at least “re-read” it and then give me her opinion. So I sent her the link to the article and the one it was referring to as well, so she could have all the available information, and suggested, ever so politely, that instead of being divisive and telling people what to believe or else to, again in her words, “go fuck off…” that maybe, just maybe, she might want to write up a criticism expressing why it is she finds it so miserable an idea. What’s more, I added, if she was totally convincing she might get others to come over to her side.

Maybe I crossed a line… but I saw it drawn in the sand and I couldn’t resist the urge. Even so, I didn’t berate her opinion, I didn’t say she was wrong, I simply offered some wholesome advice, I feel, as it would help vindicate her position—but only if she wanted to. She could remain ignorant, for all anyone else cares, but I was hoping to at least have her stop telling everyone who reads her Facebook to “fuck off” simply for finding her disagreeable in the utmost sense of the term. In fact, I went out of my way not to criticize her or call her on her irrational, uninformed, idiocy. But low and behold, she told me to “fuck off” anyway. Classy lady, eh?

Full Blown Migraine
Certainly I too post links on my Facebook page from time to time which contain a political and/or religious content, but I leave it up to people to check them out for themselves. Typically I try and leave religious and political comments off… even as I will post YouTube videos of good religious debates and the like, again, I’m not telling people what to think—I leave that up to them.

When reading friend’s updates, while trying to catch up on what’s going on with everyone—you know—trying to stay in the loop, sometimes a personal opinion will get out there that’s just so backwards that it is undeniably offensive. I particularly found everything about her hate filled diatribe offensive, and not only that, I personally think she should have just kept her comments to herself. Nobody wants to read ‘If you don’t agree with me then fuck off’ plastered all over a message forum they check daily to catch up on what their family and friends are doing. Even as I tried to ignore it, I just couldn’t let it go… it got under my skin like a bad sunburn, and I had to scratch the itch or go insane trying to suppress it. I thought my sincere issue to re-consider the information was a fair one. Maybe she thought I had no right contending her opinion—but then why write on a public forum for everyone to see if you’re automatically going to preclude any other opinion but your own? On the other hand, if she genuinely believes that she is entitled the right to her ignorant opinion but everyone else should shut the hell up, well then, I’d be inclined to tell her to shut her pie hole—and precisely where to shove it.

Where this story takes a turn for the worst, however, is when I received her reply to my letter—a response which was hysterically irrational. Normally I’d just let bygones be bygones, but she got way too personal for my taste, and as such, was absolutely begging for a proper rebuttal. Instead of wasting my breath on her though, a person who is obviously unable to listen to reason, I thought I would make a public record of her verbal assault on me. First to expose her lies, but also, to defend my integrity when I wasn’t even talking about much of what she accuses me of. In fact, how I became the issue of the debate, and not the building of the mosque in New York, escapes me at the moment. It’s curious to say the least.

A Turn for the Worst: Her Unruly Reply
I know I probably shouldn’t have said anything in the first place, but come on! If someone is being this rude, spiteful, and disgusting in public, on a bus or on the street, in a restaurant perhaps, then somebody would at least feel compelled to say something, right? I mean, I hope somebody would say something. And because she was saying such appalling things in a public forum, for all-the-world-to-see, and nobody was questioning her profanity, prejudice, and hate filled words I thought I would at least challenge her contemptible position. Advocate for reason speaking… but I’ll let you decide what’s reasonable and what isn’t.

She begins her reply by stating, “Yes, I did read the article and he refers to the constitution in this [sic] as the reason the Muslims can build the mosque.” First off, the first article only interviews correspondents who quote the President. The only quote of the President’s is to be found in the Associated Press article which the first is reporting. In the AP article the President states that “Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.”

The President then goes on to remind the press that his comment wasn’t in regard to the “wisdom” of building a mosque near ground zero, which he questions, but explicitly states that, “I was commenting specifically on the right that people have that dates back to our founding… my intention was simply to let people know what I thought. Which was that in this country we treat everybody equally and in accordance with the law, regardless of race, regardless of religion.” It’s clear to me that the President is defending the principle of religious freedom—and other than using the word “mosque” in a sentence he does not endorse the building of any religious establishment. He simply allows for what is constitutionally allowed—which is all we can expect from a good President.

The fact that this girl actually thinks the President wants to build a mosque, and what’s more states that he said as much when he clearly did not, tips me off that not only did she not read the article, but she has conveniently lied about it (twice). Obviously she took the rhetorical bait hook line and sinker, and having bit into it, has developed some sort of preconceived bias about the President. I wouldn’t be surprised if she was one of those people who believe the President is a secret closet Muslim who is building a socialistic army so that he can overthrow the U.S. Government and reign as an Islamist overlord (this is seriously what some conservative Christian groups are saying—and it seems, at least to me, that her information is tinged with such a bias). Secondly, Obama is right! The U.S. constitution is the reason why Muslim’s religious freedom is protected—including building places of worship—cry freedom—queue the Star-spangle Banner—end of debate.

Mundane Ramblings of a Mediocre Mind
Regardless, she seems to miss the President’s point altogether, and goes on to state that President Obama “…has ignored everything about the constitution until it serves his purpose.” Although she doesn’t clarify what this might even mean. I can only guess that she is referring to the social healthcare reform. It seems that she thinks universal healthcare for all Americans is unconstitutional. However, since she doesn’t clarify what she is referring to, I could be entirely mistaken. She might have something else in mind but I honestly don’t see what it could possibly be. But in her jumbled up mind President Obama is just trampling all over our constitutional liberties left and right, and bending it to suit his diabolical purposes, whatever they may be. Your guess is as good as mine.

Directly after this complaint she peppers her statement with the follow up criticism that “We have in office a man who does not believe in the very principles that this country was built on.” Again I can’t pretend to know what she might possibly mean, since Obama explicitly upheld these principles by saying what he did, but taking a blind guess, I think we can bet she is referring to a “Christian nation.” Which would explain why she’s so perturbed by the President’s defense of religious freedom—it’s not her religious freedom he’s defending—it’s not Christianity—it’s everyone else’s rights to believe in whatever they want (and for some reason she takes this liberty for granted), at which point she lets her profane tongue rip, “Fuck him!” Yes, she said that about the President—who is upholding the very thing she denies herself. Just to be fair though, I don’t think she even knows what she’s on about at this point. I don’t think she is aware that in her worn out rant she is, essentially, calling for a ban of her own individual liberties. We’re talking the epitome of ignorance here, but that’s not all, the email gets better folks.

Sooo Many Contradictions: My Head is About to Explode!
About the mosque being built near ground zero she states that “It is a slap in the face to the people who lost their lives and to the families that lost loved ones to have a mosque near that area.” I’m not aware that she had any family members who went through that horrible experience, whereas I did. I could be wrong, but if so, her point is lost on me. Is it a slap in the face to have a Christian Church anywhere near a hospital knowing how they continue to kill abortion doctors? Is it a slap in the face of our civil liberties to have a Church anywhere near a free citizen since they put in motion bigoted laws to strip homosexuals of their unalienable rights? I’ll tell you what a slap in the face is… being so ignorant as to actually think two couples loving one another is… somehow… wrong. So she’s using an unfair double standard here… and the fact that she just doesn’t see it should cause us concern.

The Mosque is being built three blocks away, behind several rows of buildings. Manhattan is a small island, I’ve been there numerous times, visited my brother frequently when he lived there (both before and after 9/11), and for anyone who has been to the Big Apple you’ll know that everything is three blocks away from everything else. So my question would be, is it a slap in the face for Muslims to believe what they want and practice their faith accordingly the same as you? Granted, I’m not debating the quality of those beliefs or practices, many of which I find downright despicable, but when it comes to the question of our freedom and the separation of Church and State, wouldn’t you prefer such freedom to complete theocracy? Denying everyone’s freedom’s but your own is not a Democracy—it’s an oppressive fascist regime where you glorify yourself and to hell with all the rest. The fact that she doesn’t want anyone to call her on her anti-democratic opinions is proof of how corrupt her mind really is.

As for the President, who represents all American citizens, who stands up and protects their constitutional rights is a slap in the face… how? What she neglects to see is that the President is not the one building the mosque, but she accuses him of it none-the-less. Yet whether her agenda is to tear down the President, or else just push on us her ultra-conservative views, I cannot tell. Her ramblings are unclear. But in her opinion, building a mosque is insensitive and should not be done. In other words, little Miss Stalin feels that Muslims should not have a right to practice their faith freely—because it would hurt her pride as a take it all for granted American.

Following up this comment she quickly changes her tone, informing, “I have no problem with a mosque being built or Muslims or anyone else practicing their religion.” Wait just a darn minute! Didn’t she just say she had a problem with that? As I recall her exact words were, “It is a slap in the face to the people who lost their lives and to the families that lost loved ones to have a mosque near that area.” So how many blocks away does a mosque need to be before it becomes okay for Muslims to practice their faith? Four blocks, five blocks, upper Manhattan, New Jersey? Maybe she wants everyone who thinks different than her to all get out of her “Christian” nation? Obviously she does have a problem, and not just with a perverse sense of Zionism and a mosque being built or with Muslims practicing their religion either.

A Flurry of Ad Hominems
By this time I was laughing out loud as I read, because it was all just senseless outpourings of unintelligible gibberish, and it was painfully laughable. Quickly afterward, she launched into a soliloquy about how great America is and why she loves it, and then she dispensed with a series of uncalled for ad hominems, attacking me personally. Can't forget to assault the atheist just for good measure! Whether it was for challenging her absurdly distasteful comments or simply for catching her mid-lie and calling her on it, I don’t rightly know. Again, your guess is as good as mine.

Now normally, I don’t like to mix my religion and politics. That’s just a principle I abide by. And this blog was never meant to be saturated with rants about others, something I find petty, but if I’m viciously attacked by a neurotic lunatic, I think I at least have the right to defend myself. I do have a sense of integrity after all, and I'm not built out of steel and Novocaine. I can get offended. So although I typically would never deliberately expose someone’s weaknesses publicly, without good reason, when I get attacked for no reason whatsoever, then I understand quite clearly—the glove has been slapped in my face. The rules are plain as day—and the challenge shall be met.

Now it gets personal, because she makes it personal, first by putting words into my mouth, saying, “You won’t agree with any of what I am saying because you don’t think any [sic] is right but you. There is a reason I don’t talk with you and I don’t want to start now.” This is news to me, because I thought I knew everything I think, with what I do and don’t agree with, because I’m the one who thinks it. Apparently she has insights into my mind which could make a mind-reader envious. Brilliant display of intellectual prowess, we’re dealing with here. Additionally, considering that I’ve only talked to this person about three times about non-topic issues, it seems weird that she suddenly informs me that she has a reason for not talking to me. As far as I was concerned we just didn’t chit chat due to the fact that we are acquaintances and not buddy old chums. But she’s got her reasons, she does!

At any rate, she continued on talking (even as she just stated she wasn’t going to the sentence before), “If you don’t like what I have to say [sic] don’t read it. I really don’t think you have any room to talk since you haven’t lived in this country for how many years?” As if living in another country a few years causes you to stop being a native to the culture you were born and raised, and somehow voids your citizenship. Maybe she thinks I naturalized? Nah, that couldn’t be it, that would be a rational supposition. Her reasoning is the epitome of blinkered, un-thinking, idiocy. But apparently her opinion matters, but mine don’t, because I am currently living in a foreign country. Say what? However, I’d like to take the time to remind this crazy broad (and that’s putting it mildly) that I still pay taxes, and that I love my country more than she could ever comprehend. So she can check her attitude at the door, it doesn’t impress me much.

Next she goes on to say, “I am not ultra conservative, you know nothing about me so don’t pretend to act like you are doing me a favor by challenging me to think outside of the box.” Well consider me re-educated! Actually, I think here she is referring to my previous letter, which was merely asking her to re-read the article which she merely pretended to read. Whatever she means, ultra-conservativism is a sociopolitical term… if she doesn’t want to be labeled ultra-conservative then the first thing to do would be to stop spouting a laissez-faire ideology of untrammeled individualism (as per her political and religious comments). Simple as that. Although I’m sorry to say: if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and talks like a duck… then it’s probably a duck.

Adding Insult to Injury
Finally, she closes with a barrage of scathing insults, the stamp of a petty individual with unresolved issues, and spitefully adds, “You are a pompous, narcissistic asshole that I won’t cross the street to spit on if you were on fire. Plug that into your atheist formula, fuck off, never write me again and have a nice day.”

What could she possibly mean, I wonder?

Needless to say I laughed it off and then promptly emailed her back telling her how funny she was. Maybe she’ll go mental, which would actually be more sad than anything really. In truth, I really don’t need to be told what to think, say, or do—thank you very much. I’m a sensible adult. Key word being: sensible. I can make my own decisions and I don’t need anyone to hold my hand, and if she doesn’t want to talk to me, fine, but why spend three pages berating my country, disparaging me, and then goading me into giving a defensive rebuttal when she explicitly says she doesn’t want to hear from me again? Wouldn’t it have made more sense just for her to block me and dispense with the pleasantries? Maybe she thought by insulting me I would tuck my tail between my legs and whimper home? It’s sort of like a hysterical hyena barking up the wrong tree—thinking the lion wouldn’t turn around and defend his pride? Yet such a hyena is doomed to its own conceitedness. Moreover, I would like to point out, that she’s the one who brought up atheism—not I. In fact, I hadn’t mentioned anything about that. And since she’s the one who brought it up, she invited the Advocatus Atheist to speak his mind. Thanks for the invitation.

I predict she’ll probably block me for having replied to her at all… but big flippin’ loss. She acts like a school bully who says to another kid on the playground, “You’re a pompous, narcissistic, doody-head—I hate your guts for no apparent reason—so fuck off” to which the other kid replies “Nuht-uh!” I really could care less of what people like this think of me, but what is offensive, is that there are people who think like this at all… and more over… they think it’s perfectly fine. Well, it’s not. Nobody is entitled to their ignorance—that’s just defeatist. Her words were, of course meant to rile me up even more, in which case she probably would feel better about having defeated that goddamn atheist… well tough luck. The atheist turned out to be that lion… and he dared to turn around and face the laughing heyena nose to nose.

When people are overtly offensive, rude, divisive, petty, and hurtful—just because they can be—then I’m short on patience and I simply can’t just abide by it. I don’t care who she’s married to. Yes, the frightening thing is that she’s related through family. But using her logic, maybe this doesn’t count either because… I live in a different country? Oh well, I just had to get that off my chest. There’s really only so much inane ranting, asinine running off at the mouth, inept manners, rude conduct, vulgar language, unsympathetic, intolerant, madness a person can take before they get as mad as hell.

Now, if you’ve managed to read through this outburst, I’d like to get your responses. Should I have not said anything and simply bit my tongue? Should such impertinent behavior and discourteous attitudes simply be tolerated at the sake of social solidarity? Or was I within my right to contend such ill-mannered public displays? I’ve written professionally on proper Netiquette, so I feel I’m within the proper guidelines of public discourse to say what I did. Whether you agree or disagree, I’m certainly looking forward to hearing your insights.


Advocatus Atheist

Advocatus Atheist