A couple of things, working together, got me thinking today. Yeah, I know, it must be a mistake. Still, It seemed like fodder for a blog, so here goes.
Part One: Bill O'Reilly went on the program The View, and whatever else it was he talked about, I saw the clip where he talks about the Mosque that is proposed to be built near where the Twin Towers went down. His point was that the mosque should not be there because Muslims killed us. Two of the women who are on the view, Joy Behar and Whoopie Goldberg both objected to his wording, saying essentially that it wasn't ALL Muslims, but extremist Muslims that did that terrible crime. Bill O'Reilly got loud, and the two women walked off the set.
Part Two: This morning, as I got in my car, to drive to work, the radio personalities on the morning show that I listen to were evidently referencing that program, and those events, and had said something like, regular Americans agree with Bill O'Reilly. I didn't hear what they actually said, so I am not pretending to quote them. They had a caller who asked them who they meant by "regular" Americans. They responded politely, and then the debate started on exactly what a "regular" American was, and if that term was offensive. Evidently there was indeed some debate on that issue, but I felt like that debate sidetracked the heart of the issue. THAT was what got me started thinking.
It seems to hinge on the idea of "regular." Who is a "regular" American? Certainly I feel that I fall in that category. My family exists within the median income of our area. We attended public schools, and my daughter attends one now. I was born in America, and can trace my roots back to American colonial times. Still, my ancestors - at least some of them - were immigrants. Perhaps I'm smarter than average, and with a Master's Degree more educated than many. Does that take me out of the "regular" pool?
Setting aside the issue of whether a mosque should be built near ground zero, let's consider a few things. Regular Muslims did not attack us on 911. Extremists did. Extremist Christians can be just as violent and murderous, as Timothy McVeigh proved in Oklahoma. Bill O'Reilly is, to my mind, an extremist. His views are designed to cause drama and contention, and that's what he gets paid for. Without the controversy, he wouldn't stay in the spotlight long. Sure, there are "regular" Americans who believe what he says, and agree with some if not all of his views. If agreeing with Bill O'Reilly is what it takes to be a "regular" American, however, you can count me out. How big a step is it from agreeing with an extremist to actually being one? I don't know.
Of course, there are those who would consider my political views extreme, if only because they don't mirror their own. So. What is a "regular" American? I'm not really sure. I'm not sure the radio personalities came to any conclusion this morning either. I had to turn the radio off, and go into work. To my mind, Joy, Whoopie, and the morning caller all had the same basic idea. Don't blame everyone for what extremists are willing to do. So many definitions of "regular" and no context to compare it to. What are discriminating minds to do?