Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?
A buck won't buy you what it used to. I remember the good old days in Texas where a mere American dollar could get you a gallon of gasoline or four loaves of the hardest generic white bread ever produced.
Armed with only a couple bucks in your wallet you knew you could still jump in the old gas guzzler, travel to the nearest Piggly Wiggly, and come home laden with two loaves and ten boxes of macaroni and cheese. (That the textures of the bread and the packaging of the mac & cheese were roughly equivalent was of little matter to a country boy trying to cut out a life for himself in the big city.)
Alas, the 99 cent gallon of gas, the 25 cent loaf, and the 20 cent mixed box of pasta and powdered simulated cheese food are now but historical markers of poor nourishment and higher efficiency transportation.
But Americans should be pleased to know that these days in Dearborn, Michigan, the cornerstone of world currency is making a tremendous comeback. Despite inflation, despite world unrest, and despite advancing statism, a single greenback can still buy you an inalienable and self-evident natural right. Ah...freedom!
One shivers at the thought of what ten bucks might garner.
We discovered this thrilling benchmark for eight bits last week when Pastor Terry Jones of Florida traveled to Michigan to protest against both Sharia Law and radical Islam at the doorstep of one of Michigan's oldest and largest mosques. While he professed to have come in peace, his pilgrimage was seen in a more sinister light by Dearborn's mayor, Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy, and many local religious leaders who proclaimed that Jones primary mission was to cause violence.
Tolerance used to be a wonderful thing. In the old days, back, say, when you could pick up five eight oz. yogurts for a buck, tolerance meant that mature Americans could and would allow differing Americans to live, speak, worship, and dress as they saw fit. In the seventies and eighties it must have been hard for some rednecks to pass by a black church without launching a firebomb, but somehow America, with a population of over 200,000,000, with a few exceptions, managed.
But somewhere along the line, tolerance stopped meaning tolerance. Now, tolerance has come to mean that our benevolent caretakers (sometimes occupying the offices of mayor or prosecutor) may run interference between varying groups to enforce an atmosphere devoid of potentially offending speech. While tolerance used to demand the active attention of those who might hear words or observe lifestyles that they disagreed with, now it means that those in power have the ability, indeed the charge, to preemptively filter out any speech that they find offensive.
Pastor Terry Jones was not deemed to have said something violent or damaging on the steps of a Dearborn mosque. We know this because Jones was not even allowed to speak. Prior to his intended peaceful protest, he was hauled into court so that a jury could decide for him if he had intended to create violence all personal protestations aside.
He was found guilty by the jury and asked to post a $1 bond by the judge. (A trifle compared to the $100,000 "peace bond" originally asked for by Prosecutor Kym Worthy.)
There have been other juries that have found other defendants guilty for inciting violence. But this is an odd twist, for in those other instances it was the defendant who incited his own followers to violence by fanning the flames. In this case, the speaker is being held hostage by those on the other side of the issue who all but threaten violence if the guilty is allowed to speak.
What chilling effect does this have on free speech? It is the equivalent of any one of us forming a mob that threatens to riot if we hear anything (directly or rumored) or see anything (directly or rumored) that we simply refuse to tolerate. A gay couple seems interested in buying a house down the street...saddle up!
What the constipated American justice system fears is that the ugliness of our expression might in some way result in the taking of lives in this country or overseas, and that it might further damage our relationships with Muslim countries and masses around the world.
In a woefully candid bit of language used in a manner to emphasize rather than offend, I proclaim that I don't give a shit.
Generically speaking, Muslims are not interlopers in this country. Being an American can mean to wholeheartedly bring to the American table what talents you have, and the rest of us Americans--English, Spanish, Italian, Irish, Finn, Swede, Pole, African, Methodist, Episcopal, Mennonite, Baptist (well, maybe not the Baptists)--will allow you to assimilate and celebrate your inclusion. Together, in an atmosphere of freedom, we can change the world.
And yet, this inclusion cuts both ways. While existing Americans will overwhelmingly welcome legal newcomers to the playground, those who are new to the playground must accept certain qualities of this culture that are often misunderstood among immigrants. Notable among these qualities is a tolerant spirit in the traditional sense, and an acceptance of inalienable God-given rights as they were originally recognized by our Founding Fathers.
Here we have a sizable constituency that demands others sacrifice their inalienable rights under threat of violence so that they will not have to hear something offensive, and we have government officials willing to squelch our self-evident rights in order to appease those fleeing the discomfort of offense.
In my opinion the latter group is more despicable than the former.
Our God-given rights are invaluable. As such, they cannot legitimately have a price tag attached to them. That the good people of Wayne County believe that eight bits is a reasonable price for such an offering should glaringly display to all of us just how steep a decline our country is in.
Eight Bits | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden)
Eight Bits | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden)
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