Moderates are important, they are the often the pragmatic ones who make the right choices even if it breaks ideology or comes at a cost. As Jon Stewart said, they're often not paid attention to by the media or politicians, because "moderates never take to the streets, shouting 'Be Reasonable!'"
Ignoring them, sidelining them, de-legitimizing them is how extremists of any sort get their way. When you ignore the moderates, you empower the hawks. The hawks give the opposing side justification to steamroll everyone to carry out your plans.
Let's explain this point with 3 examples from history, before we look at the current Israel-Palestine conflict on the news
In November 2011 a Tampa, FL high school invited a Muslim lecturer to speak about Islamic history and tradition to college-level Advanced Placement students.
When anti-Muslim extremists David Caton and Terry Kemple found out, for months they brought dozens of Islamophobes to school board meetings to angrily denounce the idea. None of them had any connection to the school, used the venue to spread lies, fear, and hatred against Islam & Muslims at the meetings.
When asked by the media, they claimed their problem was not with Islam just the choice of speaker. However, their statements show otherwise...
In February, the Islamic Circle of North America held an annual fundraiser event in Loma Linda, California. ICNA's fundraiser was for a series of food pantries, a battered woman's shelter, and for disaster relief overseas. What most people weren't expecting was for the event to be protested by hatemongers that made a regular Tea Party rally look sane in comparison.
Mike Huckabee has generally cultivated a "nice guy" image. He's a conservative but when he ran for President he made sure to portray himself as a different kind of leader, one who is conservative but "is not angry about it." It's been paying off; The Daily Show frequently has him on, as does Colbert and Conan, and he generally charms the audience. However, I'm starting to see it more and more as a facade, given his anti-gay and anti-Muslim comments of late. He recently got into a bit of hot water when he made some nasty comments on Islam during his Fox and Friends appearance .
This hasn't been picked up by the MSM but I think it's quite telling politically. Muhammad Ali Hasan, the founder of 'Muslims for Bush' and the biggest Republican organizer among American Muslims has had enough after this past election cycle's openly anti-Muslim bigotry, and has changed parties after meeting with Nancy Pelosi.
American Muslims, we have a potentially serious problem.
Eid-ul-Fitr, the Muslim holiday commemorating the end of Ramadan and the end of fasting, is going to fall on September 10 or 11 this year (depending on the sighting of the moon). To Muslims, it's a big deal like Christmas; family comes together and celebrates and exchanges gifts. Many American Muslim groups are already worried that if Eid falls on 9/11 or near it, many people will see Muslims celebrating on the same day that many Americans are mourning or commemorating 9/11. Given the sudden thickening of the anti-Muslim climate this year, this could be extremely bad.
CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said, "The issue I can sense brewing on hate sites on the Internet is, `These Muslims are celebrating on September 11.'" Hate crimes against Muslims or property is possible if not likely, Islamophobic bigots will try to make a shrill fuss about Muslims being so happy on 9/11, and likely showing photos of Muslims at Six Flags and setting off fireworks in backyards.
I was at work when I noticed the Austin terror attack on the news. Andrew Joseph Stack III apparently snapped after being burdened with tax debt, burned down his family's house (they escaped), and piloted his private 4-seat propeller plane into the Austin IRS building, where 200 employees worked. So far the death toll is 2, not including him. He wrote a lengthy suicide note online, railing at a bunch of things and saying 'violence is the only solution.'
On Monday there was an article on Forbes.com called "Going Muslim." Rather than the colloquial American phrase “Going Postal,” in which a worker guns down his coworkers in a fit of rage, the professor decides to coin a new phrase “Going Muslim.” Pretty offensive. Obviously this is based on the tragedy of the violence at Fort Hood last week, but the author singles out and labels Muslims in a way that’s unacceptable by this insulting phrase. Can you imagine the outcry and offensiveness if someone labeled a Bernie Madoff-style crime “Going Jew?”
Well, 19 months to the Presidential elections. It got me to wondering which Candidates of each party to favor. I wondered who would make the best Republican candidate for president. Turns out the pickings are slim; despite my sympathy for certain conservative causes, it's like the GOP is trying to make me hate them. John McCain is pro-war, Giuliani is pro-War on Terror and pro-choice, Mitt Romney seems too waffling and mendacious. Who else is there? Well, the Colbert Report on Monday featured Mike Huckabee, who I always thought was a likeable Republican. Finally, I thought, someone I can get behind.
Well, not so much. I went to his campaign website, and when you click on the Issues, you get this:
I believe that we are currently engaged in a world war. Radical Islamic fascists have declared war on our country and our way of life. They have sworn to annihilate each of us who believe in a free society all in the name of an impersonal god. This war is not a conventional war and these terrorists are not a conventional enemy.
Well, just take my Primary ballot and shred it. Sorry Mike, you're no longer in my list. Thanks for playing, there's the door.
Jeanine Pirro, Republican candidate for Attorney General, was forced to reveal that she's under investigation from the FBI for wiretapping her husband. She also asked former NYPD commissioner Bernard Kerik to help her.
Like many other GOP politicians, she defended it, saying it was legal, and her personal family business. New York Newsday ran a headline "Wind Knocked from Supporters' Sails."
Tell me, if she is willing to spy on people she loves, how should we New Yorker strangers feel?
DKos has been facing quite an internal battle all weekend about those Danish cartoons that insulted Muslims. Not on the front page, but on a few comments pages. Some bloggers understood the issues surrounding and underlying the controversy, and some did not. I was amazed to see how many people still harbor stereotypes against Islam and Muslims, like the mistaken belief that Muslims don't condemn terrorism or address their own shortcomings.
Well, I'm not going to let other people put words in my mouth. As a Muslim, I'll tell you what I believe and hear Islam teaches us on this matter.