You know, it seems like every time I write a letter I have to begin by apologizing for not having written in so long, and that's the case again today.
We only get a few days of real summer up here every year, and I was out having fun at golf tournaments and doing a bit of climbing around the local hills—and you know, I do love doing a bit of nothing at all from time to time—but while I was away, things have gotten even crazier than usual around here...and I'm sorry to say, you've been on the pointy end of the crazy stick, which is something that never should have happened.
Things have been so nutty that you're probably thinking America has something against Islam—in fact, you might be wondering if we have something against our own Constitution.
Well, we don't, most of us, and I'll take a few minutes today to help y'all understand just what is going on in this country.
So you're going to be hearing a lot about this disturbed guy in Florida who thinks that he can save the world by burning Qu'rans on September 11th—and you're going to be asking yourselves: "Why would America allow anyone to do that?"
Well, the answer's kind of paradoxical, and it has everything to do with the same Constitution that protects freedom of religion in the first place.
You see, it also protects the concept of freedom of speech...which, in itself, probably requires a bit of an explanation.
Freedom of speech, as you can imagine, isn't absolutely free (for example, there is the famous "yelling fire in a crowded room" example), but to a far greater extent than you might think, we really are able to say things that would shock most of you not living here.
At the moment, just to illustrate the point, we have all kinds of people suggesting the President is taking the country in the wrong direction, or a secret Muslim (as if that were somehow bad)...or even that he's some sort of weird mixture of Stalin and Hitler and Satan Himself who was born in Kenya...and every one of them is free to stand on any street corner and hold a sign proclaiming exactly that, just as much as they want.
Matter of fact, those are the same people that are mad at you, Islam, for the moment, even if they know nothing about Islam...and that brings me right to the next thing I need to tell you.
The only reason a lot of Americans are mad at you, Islam...is because there's an election on, and the only way Republicans can win elections is to try to scare Americans into thinking that the United States will instantly collapse from whatever useful threat they think up—unless enough of us vote Republican.
Now in normal times, Islam, Republicans would be trying to scare us about gay people trying to eat our babies, or something equally stupid, but that hasn't been working as well as it used to lately—and what they would really like to say this election cycle, they can't ("Those Jesus-hating liberals elected a nigger and now they're gonna impregnate your daughters and gay marry your sons!")...and that leaves you, Islam, as the next most desirable overt target for Republican fear-spreading professionals.
(You and, of course, those "illegal aliens" who are busily beheading people in the Arizona desert every night.)
Now there is no doubt that a portion of our population is entirely ready to jump on this bandwagon with no encouragement at all, and that's where we get the fools who think having a Qur'an BBQ party somehow makes some kind of sense.
My guess is that about 20% of us are that stupid—and based on our current population, that means about 60,000,000 fools are bumping and stumbling their way across the American landscape on any given day, struggling, as Aimee Mann says, "with the undertaking of simple thought".
Apparently because it's just hanging there, many of them sort of slide down and congregate in Florida, and sure enough, a few of them did gather together in that particular State to form into the human blood clot that planned this little 9/11 protest, and that's how we got to where we are today.
Now I'm sorry that we can't just bring this to a stop, but we do allow idiots to say their piece in this country, whether it's a good idea or not...so they do, even if the Government and The Not Blindingly Stupid Among The Population don't like it...and all I can really tell you by way of consolation is that as soon as Election Day is past, much of this will come to an end—unless it works so well that Republicans keep it up for a few more election cycles, until it fails to work any more.
Anyway, Islam, try not to let it upset you too much, try to keep in mind that this is really about American electoral politics and the desperate need to create fear (which is all the Republicans have left)...and most importantly, try to keep in mind that if good old-fashioned American racial segregation was back in style then no one would even be talking about you—instead, the same people that are on your back today would all be doing their best Dr. Laura impressions 60 or 70 times a day, and they'd go right back to assuming Muslims and Hindus and Sikhs are all the same people, just like they did in happier times.
So that's what's been up around here, and I hope to hear from you soon as well—and of course, if you're in the neighborhood sometime, drop me a note and we'll go grab a coffee and laugh as the fools walk by.