National Brotherhood Week was one of those touchy-feely ideas from the 1960s satirized brilliantly by comedian songster Tom Lehrer. And, like almost all of the Ivy League math professor's oeuvre, the song remains relevant today as the ruling elite avoids the truth about Islam in the Western world. I can still belt out a half-dozen Lehrer ditties, including "Vatican Rag" -- commemorating Vatican 2, when the Roman Catholic Church allowed the vernacular to replace Latin in services; "Who's Next," about the proliferation of nuclear weapons; "Werner von Braun," reminding us that in the rocket programs of the era, "one of the fingers on the button will be German"; "So Long Mom I'm Off To Drop The Bomb"; and "New Math," perhaps Lehrer's best known work.
Lehrer preceded Monty Python by a few years, and both never shirked from irreverent confrontations with the absurd, maudlin veneer of political correctness that has now become institutionalized in the West, smothering free expression with laws and regulations and censure. Honesty is now taboo, enforced in the 21st century with a new and far more menacing dimension: fear of retribution by Islamic mullahs and splinter terrorist groups.
The grand Pooh-Bah of contemporary failure to state the issues clearly is Barack Obama. And the most pressing one he refuses to confront honestly is the plan to build a thirteen-story Islamic center and mosque within shrapnel distance from the hole in the ground that contained the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The attacks on 9-11-2001 by Muslim jihadists represent the most devastating assault on American soil since the Japanese sneak attack on the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard on December 7, 1941. Yet Obama and a chorus of PC equivocators support the establishment of a building by our enemies that humiliates Americans and defiles the memory of the victims of the monstrous events of that fateful day.
If the PC shoe were on the other foot in this debate, with the PC against the mosque, they would trot out the term "inappropriate," the codeword they wield to vilify behavior that engenders their disapproval. But no one has stated that building the mosque is simply that. Nor has the mainstream media. Only a few in public office have, the rest keeping silent for fear of retaliation by jihadists. In Europe, as we learned, daring to speak against Islam is dangerous, as exemplified by the cartoon riots and the assassination of politician Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam.
Media and politicians are hiding behind the skirts of the kinder, gentler mode of doublespeak so common today, when actually they have been blackmailed by fear of reprisal for speaking out against the mosque. The same goes for every confrontation with Islam: everyone runs for cover rather than face honestly what has become one of the the most serious social conflicts in living memory amongst the peoples of the world. Add in the low self-esteem of Americans (and Europeans) after forty years of multicultural outrage from radical scholars against our own culture for being racist, chauvinist, homophobic, and imperialistic, and it is clear that the ruling elite will not stand up and fight.
One brave citizen is expressing the true feelings of most Americans: Renee Elmers, 2nd District candidate for Congress in North Carolina. Her campaign ad against the New York City mosque lays it out with no equivocation, which captured the attention of CNN's Anderson Cooper, the poster boy for elitist opinion. Cooper and Elmers mixed it up on air, producing an odd mixture of left-wing selective history from Cooper and Catholic Christian certitudes from the candidate.
But in this isolated slice of political confrontation, the vastness of the chasm between the government/media/university view of the mosque and the true feelings of American citizens was dramatized clearly.
This gap grows wider as the ephemeral fear of violating sensitivities rules the political and cultural debate -- and the real fear of violent retribution actually facilitates the inroads of Islam into Western culture. A change in Congress and state legislatures in November should be a step in the right direction and send some of the Islamic appeasers and politically correct charlatans home. But we really need a new Tom Lehrer to remind us that we are even bigger fools now than we were in his day.
Bernie Reeves is editor and publisher of Raleigh Metro Magazine.