Monday, March 14, 2005

Air of Superiority

From time to time when talking with co-workers or friends I am shocked and sometimes saddened by the attitude I hear regarding people they deem lowly. It could be that I make friends easy and am not afraid to strike up a conversation with someone who may be "outside" my elevation in life. I have been looked at with ridicule because I have handed money to beggars, even when I know it isn't really for bus fare. When I hear a co-worker refer to another person as defective and dismiss anything he or she might have to say I am sickened. I look at him and say to myself, "now that's the pot calling the kettle black." It's especially evident with people who grew up within a safe, sheltered existence. The only real diversity they ever faced was at the frat house during college when a foreign born student of wealth spoke with an accent while they put down everyone else. Perhaps the most shocking is when an avowed liberal - you know, those champions of the multicultural tolerance brigades - treat someone who they see as below them with scorn instead of pity whether or not they deserve either.

Sometimes these "low-lifes" are the most interesting and thoughtful people you would ever want to meet. Sure some of them are defective - who the hell isn't? One thing I do know is that they feel it when they are being put down - no matter how subtly. At one time or another it happens to all of us. We are bound to find ourselves in the company of people that would rather not be seen with us. Admit it, you know how it feels.

Now turn that on it's head: consider that it's the ones we deem lowly and backwards who look at us as less than human. This is how the average Muslim in Europe feels about you and me.

We may look at their lives in those godforsaken places on the other side of the world and feel so superior sitting in our suburban ramblers with a dusty Bible on the shelf and a mark on the wall where the crucifix used to hang. It's hard to imagine anyone from that backward, unenlightened part of the world setting our worth as humans on par with pigs and goats. So superior to lowly Christians and Jews they are. We are not to be "tolerated" but rather converted, subjugated or killed.

In Europe the Muslim immigrants don't even try to hide their outright scorn of the locals. In America it's a little different, but in their mosques and their Saudi funded schools they quietly teach same hate we see in the streets of Ramallah. Europe is going to wake up some day and realize that all their so-called tolerance and diversity has lost them their continent. Only the Dutch appear to be seeing the truth of Muslim intolerance. Why did it take the brutal death of Theo Van Gogh at the hands of a militant islamist before they finally got the wake up call? It is debatable whether the rest of Europe will ever step up to defend its own culture from the Muslim onslaught in the same way they resist American cultural exports. At least Mickey Mouse and David Hasslehoff don't strap on a bomb belt... Be not afraid, though, the Germans are facing the problem head on - they recently voted in a national Muslim holiday.

Obviously, there are those Muslims who don't feel this way about the rest of us, but they are afraid to speak out. These are the people we need to focus on. We will not win this crucial cultural war or the war on terror by voting in national Muslim holidays or by dropping bombs. President Bush knows this and after the dust settled in Iraq he began using the power of words in the hopeful quest to spread of democracy in the Muslim world. If we get even one of these nations, be it Iraq or Lebanon to break free of the culture of hate and intolerance and succeed as a partner with the rest of the free world then indeed the dominoes will fall.

My heart be tempered - just last week I saw Iraqis taking to the streets because Saturday was named as a weekend day. 'But that is the Sabbath for the Jews' they cried. 'We will not rest on the Jewish Sabbath'. There is such a long way to go. Pray to Jesus or to G-d or even to Allah if you wish for the end of this hatred and intolerance.

And, oh, just for me, be nice to the people who live on the other side of the tracks. You may need bus fare some day...