As the Republican led Government Shutdown continues, Tea Party members and Far-Right political operatives have found a way they think will embarrass the president, exploiting our nations veterans. While they do it with little shame, so far it has been ineffective at curbing blame. Since they can’t help but be the small-minded people they are, the photo-op they were looking for ended up being a racist statement against Obama that was an insult to Islam and its many followers that served in the US Military.
Veterans organized a protest AGAINST the Government Shutdown. A Shutdown that is killing the Republican Party in the polls. So instead of owning their own mess, they have tried everything from calling it “Obama’s Shutdown” to organizing their own rallies at the same time as a Veterans rally to hijack it. The Million Vet March was very upset about the tactics used by the Tea Party and blame them showing up on a local organizer:
“The political agenda put forth by a local organizer in Washington DC was not in alignment with our message. We feel disheartened that some would seek to hijack the narrative for political gain. The core principle is about all Americans honoring Veterans in a peaceful and apolitical manner.”
You would be upset too if some guy got up to speak and said this:
“I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come up with his hands out,”
— Larry Klayman
There are also reports of men waving Confederate flags. Which is a great way to honor soldiers of the United States Militry, aka, the UNION!
Funny, I can’t find any reference that Larry Klayman, the Tea Party Group FreedomWorks leader and teller of the racist joke, ever served in the US Military. He may have, I would hope if he spoke at a rally for veterans, though I haven’t found any evidence yet. Meanwhile Muslims fought along side General Washington in the American Revolution, fought in the Civil War for the Union and lay in military battlefield cemeteries all over the world in every major war the US fought in including Vietnam and Korea. Over 15,000 Arab-Americans fought in WWII alone and 3500 are currently serving in, many in Afghanistan. They even have their own Veterans organization, the MAVA and many of their contributions, even when decorated and filled with great personal sacrifice, are rarely remembered.
As is the experience with many non-Anglos in the service, the military is a place to prove your loyalty and serve with distinction. Like many other groups, the Japanese-Americans in WWII, as well as Italian-Americans in WWII and WWI, Germans in both conflicts as well, Native-Americans in too many wars to mention and of course, African-Americans who served in almost every single war since the Revolution, serving in wars may or may not point out the utter hypocrisy they faced when the fighting stopped. The case with Muslim-Americans is mostly a forgotten sacrifice up until 9-11 and nearly neglected since.
The Band of Brothers loyalty that is formed in wars is often complex and hard to define, though it grows out of being removed from the politics and other BS of war and faced with a simple reality: bullets don’t discriminate, bombs don’t discriminate and a great many of those behind the triggers don’t either. It’s kill or be killed. You see your fellow brothers, and more recently, sisters, in combat as the person you rely on. Many of them perish to the point where the survivors become jaded and anti-personal. Those that survive with them become the only people they can trust. At that point, religion or anything taught to you tends to turn to afterthought (though there are always exceptions where people become radicalized zealots or violent psychopaths).
My point is that when the bullets start flying, all that phony hate disappears as the survivor’s instinct takes over. Racism doesn’t matter, as long as you know how to fire your riffle, your mortar, your artillery cannon or just do your duty. Bullets can end your life just the same. It may be hell on Earth, but it is the one place where discrimination has been gradually phased out to great success (despite some of its prevalent conditions thanks to politicians of the time from Lincoln’s day to the present).
Then they come home to a nation that doesn’t understand what they’ve seen or comprehend what they’ve done, nor appreciate the real sacrifice they’ve made. These people will never be the same again. For some, they can simply never think about it. For others, it will haunt them for the rest of their lives. Even the most decorated soldier in American History, Audey Murphy, could not silence the ghosts of his past and spoke openly about it later (helping to give credibility to the still neglected horrors of PTSD among veterans). Imagine having to juggle that, along with having to go back to work and to face a society that seemed to want you less. If you face being called names or some of the extreme discrimination that has occurred in this country to minority vets, you may ask: what exactly were we fighting for in the first place? Just another problem to throw on the pile.
Not only all that, it’s insulting to ALL Muslim-Americans, who come from a very rich history, a large percentage born right here in the USA. When you single out a religion, it calls upon the time of fascism. It’s called scapegoating and many on the Right these days use it as a uniting force. Remember the anti-gay marriage laws, or how about the anti-Shiria Law propositions, because, yeah, that really could happen in the Deep South. Our Constitution prevents the next steps that fascism would take, though these idiots seem obsessed with trying to change that. I thought the Constitution was holy? Yet if you listen carefully, they are the ones talking about opening the floodgates of discrimination, theological rule and monarchism.
So when this guy insults the President by mocking him falsely for following a religion he thinks puts down the Commander in Chief (with his mean-spirited sense of humor), he is also putting down active duty members of the Armed Forces as well as veterans and the fallen who gave everything they could to defend the United States of America. They fought, many died, to defend political interests of the American President, to defend American style Democracy abroad that was sometimes doomed to failure. They fought to reunite the nation that was a House divided and they fought to make a nation in the first place! A nation that was free of British rule. A government that was by the people, for the people and would not discriminate against religion nor have anything close to a national religion.
Seems like we are still working on that last part.
You know, these Tea Baggers like Klayman may claim to love this country but they sure don’t understand what it’s about.
America is a land of diversity just as it was intended. We invite the bravest people of the world to come here and help make a better society. We ask many of these brave people to serve as well and they often do from the Irish to the Arabs. These are people looking for a better life, free from religious discrimination, free from tyranny and free from persecution. If that isn’t the story of the Pilgrims, I don’t know what is. Our society isn’t perfect, but with the help of the best and bravest in the world, we will continue to make this country greater, striving for that shining city on the hill I’ve yet to see.
People who come here are looking for the American Dream. Yet if we listen to the Tea Baggers, that Dream will only come to represent the Koch Brothers and other billionaires who see this place as their own personal playground. If we believe in the ideals of the Founding Father’s you need to listen less to the people who talk the most about them, and seem to know them the least.