A Forum for Opinions on News, Politics, and Life
August 19th, 2010
By Dan Miller
Reading the United States Constitution would reveal no use of the words “idiotic,” “stupid” or even “obdurate” and there are no laws of which I am aware prohibiting per se all conduct which a reasonable person – such as me – would consider in any of those categories. Frying bacon in the nude even in the privacy of one’s kitchen is a stupid thing to do; grease splatters and can hurt. Isn’t it worth a bit of discomfort to celebrate our Constitutional rights? Eating McDonald’s double whopper cheeseburgers five times a day for years would, I think, be stupid. Even First Lady Obama seems to agree so I must be right (or wrong, for the same reason). Candidly, I think eating even one just occasionally is not a great idea, but that’s just me. Go eat a dozen for the Constitution, like ’em or not. It’s our right!
Sometimes, we lose sight of the differences between unconstitutional, unlawful and stupid. There are lots of folks who think that building a mega mosque adjacent to Ground Zero (no reference to President Obama intended, of course) would be stupid, particularly if the objective is to promote freedom of religion and tolerance in the United States. Obdurate? That too. I don’t accept for a moment the thesis that promotion of freedom of religion and tolerance (ubiquitous, of course, in Islamic countries) have anything to do with the proposed construction, but let’s assume for the sake of argument that that’s why it is being insisted upon.
Those who view it as stupid (and I do, along with some Muslims), and prize freedom of speech (as I also do) can object. Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, said:
This is not a humble Islamic statement. A mosque such as this is actually a political structure that casts a shadow over a cemetery. [The Mosque] is going to be used around the world, especially in Islamic media. From the ashes of this destruction comes the flourishing of Islam and I think that is just the wrong message. It is not good for America or for Muslims…We are Americans who happen to be Muslims, not Muslims who happen to be Americans.
From sunup to sundown Muslims are fasting and working on putting our needs tertiary to our God and our country, not what we need. They are abandoning these principles and saying, ‘Well, this is what we need and we are victims if you don’t let us do this. And we can do it, so we are going to.’ I think that is un-Islamic.
Those who think freedom of religion and tolerance should be promoted by building the mosque there doubtless support opposition to it on an analogous basis. Right? Sure they do. I guess.
An analogy can be made to burning the United States Flag to protest United States policies viewed by the burners as perverse. We have learned from the Supreme Court that doing so is a constitutional right; it’s freedom of speech in action. As a young Boy Scout centuries ago, I learned that the only suitable way to dispose of a tattered and worn United States Flag is to burn it, in a respectful manner. It would be stupid and maybe even unlawful to do that in a fireworks stand. If some idiot wants to burn a flag (for whatever reason) next to his own remote collection of fireworks, that’s his problem and not mine. Would burning a United States Flag to protest the inhumane treatment of naugas when they are slaughtered for their precious hides be stupid? I think so. Would it make the people who like their Naugahyde® covered sofas so ashamed of their dastardly ways that they would cease using them? Seems rather unlikely. It might get a bit of attention for a few “Save the Nauga” advocates and give them some self respect, but they probably have very little and need some.
In these days of world peace, prosperity, full employment and resultant boredom, we all need wholesome and meaningful recreation. Can’t be bothered with a vacation in sunny Spain or Martha’s Vineyard? Doing something lawful and totally stupid to promote the United States Constitution could be lots of fun. Here are some suggestions:
That’s just a start; the possibilities are endless. Be creative! Do something. But, as Uncle Jay says, “only appropriate behavior.”
(This article was also posted at Dan Miller’s Blog.)
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