Dear Rest of the World,
I’ll keep this one short. In your blogs and editorials please remember that the wingnut Pastor of Hate with the Monty Python name has a tiny trailer-park church that no one had heard of till a couple of weeks ago. He still has a tiny church, though no doubt countless angry rubes have been filling its coffers since he became famous on the internets for threatening to burn a bunch of books that promote the idea that someone else’s imaginary best friend is better than his imaginary best friend.
This guy isn’t even Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell. He represents at most a few dozen people or did until the media made him a sensation and the state department started to fret about his antics becoming a recruiting poster for jihad. As if the jihadees couldn’t make enough hay out of the continuing presence of American troops in Iraq, the US support for a corrupt unpopular government in Afghanistan, the stealth bombings in Pakistan, the continued support for the blockade in Gaza, etc.
The pastor does not represent America. He has never been elected to any office. He is a grifter whose past includes a criminal conviction for insider trading and who like many has found a great way to combine fear and God to create a nice little revenue stream.
Even the usual suspects on the right — Rush Limbaugh, Alan Keyes, Sarah Palin have denounced him though of course their followers haven’t. That was inevitable. An old story of demagogues firing up the crowd only to have the crowd turn on them, though in Sarah’s case I suspect her condemnation of the burning was pro forma, a way of saying to whatever sane people are left in the Republican party, “See, I can act like a grown-up,” while still winking to her followers and sending them the secret message, “I have to say this, but we all know my true feelings.”
We can’t stop someone from burning books even when the act is clearly meant as a provocation because our laws supporting free speech and expression are very clear about that. That doesn’t mean his actions are somehow indicative of the pulse of the country or anywhere near the sentiments of a majority of its inhabitants. When “America” went to the polls two years ago we rejected McCain and Palin in favor of something else. Obama represents us, not Pastor Mustache or the ex-governor of Alaska.
PS This week’s recommended reading for any of you still trying to understand us is from the op ed pages of a newspaper not owned by Rupert Murdoch.