Friday, September 10, 2010

Perfectly Stated, Thank You

The reason why Andrew Sullivan is my favorite political writer is because on an almost-daily basis, some words he writes will decoct my thoughts into cohesive conclusions in ways I could not without hours of contemplation.

In other words, to put it succinctly, reading Andrew Sullivan allows me to think what I knew I wanted to think, with only a few minutes of my time.

Today he accomplished exactly that on a grand scale:
We live in an era of religious fundamentalism and fanaticism, exploited, used and manipulated by politicians, for their own purposes, and used by the media for its own. This has always been a dangerous and toxic combination, inimical to liberal society, dangerous to secular democratic politics, and today, something that can also lead to global warfare and destruction on an unimaginable scale. This blog has long warned of its dangers and consequences — and yet the role of religious fanaticism in politics only seems to grow, thanks to cynical Republicans and weak-kneed Democrats.

The new media, moreover, makes it especially combustible and unstoppable, whatever the mainstream media decides to cover or not cover. Does anyone think it will matter if the AP does not cover the now "suspended" but possible [Koran] burnings? Anyone with a cell-phone camera can send these images within seconds across the globe. Any bigot can incite mass violence in a culture already primed for it. And so there is something almost inevitable about the atrocity in front of us. And sure, enough, Fred Phelps is now threatening to burn Korans this weekend if Terry Jones does not.

My point, I suppose, is that this kind of cycle in this kind of environment is something that once started, no one can stop. It is a function of fringe Christian fundamentalism finally engaging fringe Islamist fundamentalism in a war of increasing terror and intolerance in a seamless global media world. It is the responsibility of all of us of actual faith rather than fanaticism to stand up and oppose this before it engulfs us all.

But you reap what you sow. You turn a benign Muslim community center into a "stab in the heart" of Americans (in Sarah Palin's words) and someone soon will up the ante. Which is why this summer has felt so ominous to me; and the forces itching for full-scale religious warfare more powerful and more unstoppable than any of the restraints in between — from the West Bank to Kandahar and Gainesville and Wasilla. One can hope and pray that this flare-up will be a warning prevented in time for the culture to take a deep breath and understand the consequences of religious fundamentalism openly embraced in the public square. But hope is scarce in this environment.


Anonymous said...

the guy who wrote this is not very concise in getting his point across.the first sentence has 4 commas in it and ends with a verb.the rest is convoluted not only in its message but in its sentence structure as well.the man is not a sharp thinker.his writing skills are as meager as his message is nonsensical.the convoluted thinking leading up to paragraph three gets even more convoluted by his self doubt of what he realizes could be a non-existent offset this his apparent/meager attempt at an impending apocalypse leaves one with the impression that he does not even believe it himself.
the only grand scale here is the authors mental masturbatory vernacular.OMG,I am TERRIFIED now!

Jungle Jil said...

I love how this grammar critique is written with nary a comma nor period. I suppose that was your attempt at irony.

Let's see: Andrew Sullivan got his Bachelor from Oxford in English, his Masters at the JFK School of Government, and his PhD from Harvard, and then was Editor in Chief of The New Republic magazine.

I'm willing to bet that his sentence structure is a-OK.

(Of course, I will admit that such gongorism as Andrew's can stumble the simpler-minded among us, but then... there you are.)

As for the rest of what you wrote: I was too bored to finish it. Sorry.