Thursday, December 21, 2006
What If Keith Ellison Was A WHITE Muslim?
In the wake of yet another conservative Republican making a racist ass of himself over Keith Ellison, I was wondering: What if Keith Ellison was a WHITE Muslim? Would the Cons, locally and nationally, be shrieking anywhere near as loudly about him as they have been for the past nine months? Then I remembered that Patty Wetterling's ex-husband, Jerry Wetterling, is himself a white Muslim. That is to say, he's a white American who is a Baha'i. And since the Baha'i faith is a very recent offshoot of Shia Islam, that's close enough for most wingnuts. Now, while Patty herself isn't a Baha'i, one would expect, using the Cons' own techniques of guilt-by-extremely-tenuous-association as practiced on Keith Ellison ("he helped organize the Minnesota branch of the Million Man March, so he's anti-Semitic!"), to have seen loads and loads and loads of epistles from the Power Line boys, Michael "MDE" Brodkorb, Hugh Hewitt and the rest of the Cons on Patty Wetterling's Troubling Association With An Activist For A Muslim Group Which We've Decided Must Be Linked To Terrorism. (Yes, I know the Baha'is are a peaceful and tolerant outfit, but since when has reality ever got in the way of a right-wing bigot's rant?) So I scanned Google for "wetterling bahai" and found that nobody, outside of a lone pro-Bachmann blogger (whose post touching on the subject is here and repeated here) and some conservative yahoo in the comments thread of a local newspaper's blog, even attempted to link Patty Wetterling to Baha'ism, much less attack her over it. So I think we have our answer, folks. White ex-wife of white Muslim: Suffers almost no attacks on this count, even from the most prominent local conbloggers and hate-radio goons, people who have been shown in the past to be perfectly willing to make straw men out of even less connections. Black man who is a Muslim: Suffers attacks 24/7 from pretty much every conservative pundit, radio, TV and print, in existence. Now try to tell me that race isn't behind the attacks on Ellison. A further note: You have to have lived in Minnesota over the past year to understand the sheer and unusually high level of nastiness he endured and is still enduring over the past year. No other Minnesota Democratic candidate, except for maybe Dean Johnson, suffered attacks that were anywhere near this vicious. There's political hardball, and there's sheer effing batshit insanity. The sheer level of vitriol being directed at Ellison was frightening in many ways (though it was somewhat heartening to see the Republicans so determined to keep shooting themselves in the foot). We're talking about vitriol that is so vicious it's actually self-defeating; there's a difference between vitriol that's being faked for the rubes and genuinely-felt hatred, and Ellison's attackers were and are so full of hatred as to be off-putting. Really and truly. Stuff like this. And this. And this. And this. Think about it: If Ellison were as weak a candidate as the Republicans kept saying he was -- and they were saying so from the moment he won the DFL endorsement in May -- don't you think that they would have kept their mouths shut about him and sat back and waited for four measly months until AFTER the Democrats had nominated him in September? If I were a Republican, that's what I would have done. But instead, they just couldn't help themselves. His very existence just torqued them into transcendent ecstasies of hatred.
They basically believe that the saviour returned in the mid-nineteenth century and "unsealed the books," and as such the string of Judeao-Christian-Islam ends with them.
There are far more similarities than differences between Baha'ism and Shiite Islam, as the Baha'is themselves state. And in any event, these would be very fine distinctions to your average wingnut, who even after five-plus years of post-9/11 media education still can't really tell Sunni from Shia.
Yes, but (a) it's non-Christian and (b) it originated in the Middle East and (c) its followers may "distance" themselves from mainstream American culture. [My sister converted to Baha'i about 35 years ago, and my perceptions are based on her experiences.] So there's plenty of reason for Certain People to portray Baha'i as an enemy of Christianity and America. But they reserve their hatred for Islam in all its forms wherever it's found.
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