I just responded to Coach on the Edge’s lovely poetic memorial to September 11th. What I wanted to say but didn’t because it would have completely undermined the very purpose of saying it was, it’s nice to see that someone’s remembrance hasn’t been sidelined by the hateful and poisonous threat of Pastor Terry Jones to hold a Qur’an-burning bonfire tomorrow.
Someone close to me expressed the opinion that this man, with his congregation of a mere fifty souls, should be taken about as seriously as people who claim Elvis isn’t dead, or that Kennedy was shot by aliens. The tragedy, he believed, is the overwhelming intensity of the media attention getting paid to this person, when surely the only appropriate response is to let Jones’s shouts die like sound in a vacuum. It is this media attention that is the danger, in his opinion; this is what’s fueling the international protests, some of which have now turned violent. He doesn’t deserve the consideration of world leaders. The fact that Obama et al. have even had to respond to this little man and his bucket of venom glorifies something that should have been buried under an avalanche of real news.
I wish I could live in a world where people could look at the hatred of one small man and his tiny group of followers and say, these people are not a threat to me nor my way of life. I wish I could say to myself, they are burning Qur’an, but other Qur’ans exist; they have not destroyed a single thought, simply exposed their own prejudice, fear, and aberrant intolerance. But that is not where we live. I also wish that the minority of the international protests that have decided on the flag burning and “Death to America” chants and signs would instead recognize that within America there is a complete, total, bipartisan, national denunciation of Jones’s plan. That we could stand together in protest, instead of once again finding ourselves in the fractious position of dividing into “them” and “us.”