It’s spring! Finally!
And if a recent jaunt around the Internet is to be believed, America seems to be growing more bigots than tulips this year.
In Virginia, supporters of “religious freedom” have prevented a group of local Muslims from building a mosque, demonstrating once again that “religious freedom” bills should be labeled “Christian privilege” bills, since they sure aren’t about extending religious liberty to anyone else.
Speaking of Muslims, a student at UC Berkeley who was returning from an academic conference had the bad judgment to call his uncle on his cellphone while he was in his seat waiting for the plane to load. His uncle lives in Iraq, so he spoke to him in Arabic. This evidently was all the evidence of terrorism required by Southwest Air, which removed him from the plane and called police to interrogate him.
Then there’s Mississippi.
I’m not sure who these good “Christians” are gunning for, but according to news reports, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has signed into law something called the Church Protection Act. It allows churches to empower designated members of their congregation as part of a security team with a “shoot to kill” authority equivalent to a police officer but with less government oversight. Who Would Jesus Shoot? (What could possibly go wrong…??)
And of course, in Mississippi, North Carolina and elsewhere, there is the (to me, at least) inexplicable paranoia about bathroom use. Evidently, males are more susceptible to this condition–at least, according to a recent article in Slate:
For many men, taking a piss at the office is apparently a “nightmarish” experience. That’s one of the many fascinating things we learn in Julie Beck’s engrossing essay on the psychological minefield that is the public bathroom, published today in the Atlantic. We all know people who do their best to avoid defecating outside the privacy of home, but the fears and fantasies that Beck explores in her piece are almost Sadeian in detail—paranoia about seeing and being seen, elaborate attempts to construct sonic shields, and most of all, a deep sense that the perils of humiliation and social opprobrium waiting on the other side of the restroom door may very well outweigh the relief of relieving oneself.
If there is one thread connecting these depressingly regular eruptions of insanity, it would seem to be fear–fear of “the other”–fear of people who are perceived as different from “normal” (i.e., from “me.”) People who speak a different language, pray to a different god, love differently, pee differently…
For people who see difference as threatening and dangerous, the world must be a really scary (and uninteresting) place. I’d feel sorry for them, but the incredible stupidity of it all makes sympathy awfully hard to summon up.
I’m going to go water my tulips…..