January 25, 2015

I'm sure Chuck Todd thought he was doing Denis McDonough a favor by giving him an opportunity for an official response to the ongoing right wing bitchmeme about 'radical Islam', but really, interview questions like these are lazy and unhelpful to anyone.

Beginning with Yemen, Todd wondered aloud why it feels so much more dangerous today than it did 15 years ago. I'm not sure what planet he lived on then, but if we fly back in our time machine to the year 2000, the world was a pretty dangerous place already.

Just one year earlier, Serbia was being bombed by US forces, while Slobodan Milosevic's reign of terror included ethnic cleansing and mass murder. Meanwhile, over in Afghanistan, Al Qaeda was growing stronger and more militant in Afghanistan and Pakistan as fundamentalist clerics in those countries consolidated their power and control over their inhabitants.

The only difference between then and now? We had not yet invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, bringing more misery to their countries than they already had.

After quoting a particularly odious Thomas Friedman column from earlier this week where he accused the White House of being disingenuous about the dangers in the Middle East, Todd batted his baby blues and asked White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough why they won't call it radical Islam.

Hello, Fox News talking points?

Here's a thought experiment for Chuck Todd and the rest of the idiots who think calling something a name is really how we fight violence around the globe. Let's pretend for a minute that there were some self-proclaimed Christians in the United States who decided they had the right to dictate lifestyles to every other person in the country because they believe they have dominion over everything from government to culture.

Let's further pretend that these so-called 'Radical Christians' had amassed a fortune from enterprises like oil and gas, craft supplies, hotels, and venture funding and so they began to replace politicians who represented the will of the people with the will of their own.

Take it one step further and say that they had so much money they were able to establish a shadow government with lots of official-appearing institutions that began to unravel the small safety nets keeping a majority of the people from being utterly miserable while sending their opportunities for work overseas. A needy populace is a dependent populace for any scrap they get, after all.

Now imagine the leaders of countries like China and India declaring war on 'Radical Christians', painting every Christian anywhere on the planet as being exactly like the radicals who had overthrown America's duly elected government in favor of a few oligarchs who believe they had the right to dominion over all the people.

Even though the world is full of Christians who are actually trying to live a life worthy of their belief in Jesus -- a peaceful, generous life -- Christianity is perverted by this one single label (and group of self-aggrandizing power monsters) into something that's ugly, controlling and evil. Into a belief system that brings death and misery on millions.

The same thought experiment can be applied to Judaism, Hinduism, or any other major religion, because it's not the religion. It's the fundamentalist, controlling, violent and evil acts carried out by self-interested people who use religion as a way to control entire populations.

So how about we quit focusing on what we call it and start paying attention to why it's happening. If people are content, they don't become radical. But when oligarchs and dictators run the show and people live in want while their leaders enjoy the best things money can buy, resentment and anger stirs.

What Chuck Todd should be paying attention to is the radicalism happening right here in this country, and it's not happening in the name of Islam, nor would I presume to call it anything close to Christian.

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