The Klansmen in the Tea Party, er, I mean the Constitutionalists in the Tea Party, are all up in arms again, this time because that dastardly Obama actually had the nerve to suggest that Muslims have the right to - gasp! - build a mosque near the site of the 9/11 attacks. Of course, this has nothing to do with racism and/or xenophobia (Of course!) and everything to do with sensitivity towards the victims of that tragic and terrible day. Also, because apparently Obama is actually a secret Communist Sheik from Bahrain or Syria or Mars or something.
I decided to sit down with my neighbor, Skeeter, who you might remember from his guest appearance on my article about Terror Babies, so we could calmly and rationally discuss this issue. I was only able to tape fragments of the discussion, mostly because Skeeter kept freaking out and insisting that my tape recorder was bugged by the Jews. When I asked him what Jews had to do with anything, he began ranting and raving about The Passion of the Christ. I settled him down with a box of wine (which he said made me look "like a Frenchman") and had to agree to hide my tape recorder, which caused the quality of the recording to be substandard. Still, I think it captured the meat of a good discussion:
Me: So, what, you think that a mosque is a bad idea?
Skeeter: What the hell's wrong with you, boy? Of course a mosque is a bad idea. You give them boys a mosque and it's just gonna reward them for what they did on 9/11. Never forget.
(Note: Skeeter then got up and disappeared to the trailer behind his house. I suspect he was doing meth again, but when he returned he had with him a leather jacket that was airbrushed with a crying bald eagle wearing a cowboy hat. He talked about the jacket for approximately two hours and then attempted to sing several Toby Keith songs before his energy began to wane and he sat back down.)
Me: But how is this any different than say, if somebody tried to build a church at the site of the Oklahoma City bombings even though Tim McVeigh was a Christian?
Skeeter: Lemme tell you somethin' - Tommy McVeigh was no terrorist. That boy was fightin' back.
Me: Against what?
Skeeter: Against that man, Janet Reno and Slick Willie 'cause they was robbin' him by takin' his taxes.
Me: Uh . . .
Skeeter: Yup. But anyhow, that's different.
Me: How is what he did different?
Skeeter: Them boys declared war on mah country! We can't reward them by givin' them no fancy palace or whatever the hell we're talkin' about.
Me: A mosque is a place of worship, like . . .
Skeeter: Don't you lecture me, boy. I know what a mosque is. It's a place where them sumbitches can get together and do their ooga-booga magic and worship the sun and moon and all that.
Me: Actually, they're a monotheistic religion, of the same family as both Christianity and Judaism, so . . .
Skeeter: You just call me a Jew?
Me: No, I was just trying to explain that the religions are actually very similar, and that . . .
Skeeter: The hell they are! I don't go to church every Sunday just to worship cats and dogs and do whatever them Mexicans do.
Me: We're talking about Muslims, not Mexicans, Skeeter.
Skeeter: Oh, right. Well, hell, they all the same, ain't they? I mean, they all brown, just like that so called President, Osama bin Obama. He ain't even American. He was born in Indonasia!
Me: So you're saying that they're wrong because they aren't white?
Skeeter: Look, liberal, you twistin' my words again. Jus' cause I can't read good don't mean I don't know that you done made me look a fool the last time you used me in one of them articles of yours. I ain't sayin' they're bad 'cause they ain't white. I'm sayin' they bad 'cause they . . . 'cause they . . . uh . . . 9/11 you sumbitches! Never forget!
Me: So you're saying that all Muslims should be judged based on the actions of what happened on 9/11? Well, what would you think if a group of radical Christians were responsible for a similar attack? Would you then think that you should be judged based on their actions because you're a Christian too? If that were to happen would it be okay to ban the building of churches?
Skeeter: Man, there you go again. No, 'cause churches are about God and Jesus and all that.
Me: A mosque is also about God.
Skeeter: No, it ain't. It's about that Allah feller.
Me: Allah and God are considered the same thing. Allah is just the Muslim's word for God.
Skeeter: You get the hell outta mah house, you sumbitch!
Me: Skeeter, we're in my living room.
(Note: At this point, Skeeter jumped up again and called me a "Mexican lover". He then raided my refrigerator, complained because I didn't have any of "that good ass wine" left, stole a Heineken, made fun of me for drinking "Commie beer" and then left. I later received a call from his probation officer who explained to me that Skeeter called him, inconsolable, ranting and raving about how I said that Jesus was a Muslim and a Mexican. I told him that I said no such thing and he apologized and hung up. Ten minutes later, I got a call from Skeeter's wife. She explained that they aren't racist people, they just think that Obama wants to build a mosque because he hates white people and therefore Obama is a racist. I told her that she was an idiot and then Skeeter threatened to call Glenn Beck on me and report me for being a (at this point Skeeter used a long string of expletives and racial epithets that I don't feel comfortable reprinting.) He then hung up the phone on me and the next morning I awoke to find a burning cross on my lawn.)
Truly, Barack Obama's support of a mosque being built near the site of Ground Zero has inflamed the passions of the entire nation. I'm just glad that we can all discuss these issues rationally, like Skeeter and I managed to do. These are strange and terrible times, after all, and, well, people need to stop acting like a bunch of damn idiots.