Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
May 24, 2017 Disclaimer: Please read.

Statements and opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors, not Truthdig. Truthdig takes no responsibility for such statements or opinions.

Czeslaw Milosz: A Life

Truthdig Bazaar more items

Email this item Print this item

Right-Wing Wusses

Posted on Aug 23, 2010

By Eugene Robinson

When did the loudmouths of the American right become such a bunch of fraidy-cats and professional victims? Or is it all just an act?

The hysteria over plans for an innocuous Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan—two blocks from Ground Zero, amid an urban hodgepodge of office buildings, eateries and strip clubs—is wildly out of proportion. It would be laughable if it didn’t threaten to do great harm to the global campaign against Islamic terrorism.

It is by now firmly established that the project, dubbed Park51, is promoted by a peacenik Muslim cleric whose sermons often sound a bit like the musings of New Age guru Deepak Chopra. It is also undisputed fact that the imam in question, Feisal Abdul Rauf, is such a moderate that the U.S. government regularly sends him as an emissary to Muslim countries to preach peace, coexistence and dialogue.

Yet right-wing commentators and politicians have twisted themselves in knots to portray the Park51 project as some kind of grievous assault—and “the American people” as victims. Victims of what? Rauf’s sinister plot to despoil the city with a fitness center, a swimming pool and—shudder—a space for the performing arts?

The whole “controversy” is ridiculous. Yet conservatives who should know better are doing their best to exploit widespread ignorance about Islam by transforming it into fear and anger. They imply, but don’t come right out and say, that it was Islam itself that attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, rather than an extremist fringe that espouses what the vast majority of the world’s Muslims consider a perversion of the faith. They paint Park51 as a “victory dance” over the hallowed ground where thousands of Americans died—never mind that there wouldn’t even be a sight line between the building and Ground Zero—and suggest that the project, even though it would be run by an imam who’s practically a flower child, could somehow serve as a recruiting center for terrorists.


Square, Site wide
Message to anyone who will listen: You’re a victim. Be very afraid.

In the process, this anti-mosque pitchfork brigade is surely recruiting terrorists left and right. As Ahmad Moussalli, a professor at the American University of Beirut, told the Los Angeles Times: “Rejecting this has become like rejecting Islam itself.” All the Islamophobic rhetoric tends to reinforce the jihadists’ main argument, which is that the United States and the West seek to destroy the faith held dear by more than 1 billion souls.

The thing is, though, that the manufactured brouhaha over the Park51 project is part of a larger pattern in which the far right embraces victimhood and stokes fear. The faction that likes to portray itself as a bunch of John Waynes and “mama grizzlies,” it turns out, spends an awful lot of time cowering in the corner and complaining about how beastly everyone else is being.

Witness the frequent eruptions over instances of reverse racism—real or imagined. The Shirley Sherrod affair was the most recent example of how eagerly the far right wants to sell the false narrative that African-Americans, once they achieve positions of authority, will use their newly acquired power to punish whites for historical discrimination. The facts of the Sherrod case, as they finally emerged, argue persuasively against this fictional tale of longed-for revenge. But it will be back.

And look at the hysteria over illegal immigration. Facts don’t matter—for example, that the flow of undocumented migrants has decreased, or that border enforcement under President Barack Obama is much tougher than under George W. Bush, or that illegal immigrants are not responsible for any kind of crime wave. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, has gone so far as to sound the alarm about alleged “terror babies.” The idea is that undocumented pregnant women would cross the border so that their children could have U.S. citizenship, then take the babies away to be raised as terrorists—who would be able to come back in 20 years or so, with legitimate U.S. passports, and presumably wreak untold havoc. No, I did not make that up.

Is the far right really afraid of its own shadow? Do these people really have so little faith in our nation’s strength, resilience and values? I hope this is all just cynical political calculation, because there are genuine threats and challenges out there. We’ll be better off meeting them with a spine, not a whine.
Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is eugenerobinson(at)
© 2010, Washington Post Writers Group

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Join the conversation

Load Comments

By izquierda, August 25, 2010 at 6:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Eugene sir, you are well worth the read. I couldn’t agree more & I personally say this all the time & ask my right-wing friends why all of a sudden they fear everything beyond South Carolina & Arizona. Talk about bankrupt. The one & only idea that these chumps have is not even their own. Just something like, I was told just today how scary Acorns are & Vans & Kenyans & Whole religions, I never knew.
Face your Fears, should be their bumper sticker.

Eugene, our fight is not with these chicken-hawks, it is with ourselves. We must keep involved & motivated & work to elect great representation & to weed out the sap suckers as we go. Whatever the world looks like that these impish weaklings fore-see, I don’t want to go back to it.

Keep up the good fight!!

Report this

By oleeb, August 25, 2010 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment

Yes, Mr. Robinson, right wingers are (and always have been wusses)who cry constantly about being victimized while not putting on bellicose, bullying displays designed to convince others they are not the pussies they are.  This is precisely why the even more cowardly and pussified Democrats are so maddening!  All they have to do is stand up and fight these assholes and they’ll win.  Instead, their wusses are scaring the pants off of our cowardly, craven, terrified Democrats who don’t have the courage to defend themselves let alone their positions on any issues.  It is incredible to think of how easy it would be to kick the Republican right’s ass if only we had leaders willing to fight them.  Instead what we’re stuck with is a White House and a Congress full of Democrats cut from the very same cloth as the most legendary wuss in American military history: Gen. George McClellan who wouldn’t even fight when he had an army 5 times the size of the opposition.  Why?  Because he was such a coward that he consistently overestimated the strength of the confederates and so ran away from every fight he came close to but more often stayed so far from any battlefield that the traitors could freely run amok with little to no opposition throughout the south.  Sound familiar?  President Barack McClellan and his clones in Congress, all too terrified to stand up and fight, would rather cede the field to the enemy guaranteeing defeat than to even attempt to fight.  How fucking pathetic can you get?  Really.

Report this

By Gerald Sutliff, August 25, 2010 at 9:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

These Islamic phobic folks mostly forget that most, if not all, the Nazi soldiers we fought during WWII were Christians doing their government’s bidding. 
Gerald Sutliff

Report this

By ofersince72, August 24, 2010 at 8:24 pm Link to this comment

I have know idea what happened,  but the stuff that

I am smoking isn’t good enough to make me believe six

angry men with box cutters defied U.S. aerospace.

Report this

By rollzone, August 24, 2010 at 8:11 pm Link to this comment

hello again. c’mon ofersince72, like there are
conditions to loans that large. get real. next you will
be stating our Air Force struck the Pentagon with a
missile to take out a mole whom had gotten too big, and
the Towers were thrown into the mix because the holder
of the paper kept complaining about low occupancy
return on the investment, and he demanded an insurance
settlement. and we cooked the whole agenda and built on
it as it took a life of its own. get real, and mail me
some of what you are smoking.

Report this
RayLan's avatar

By RayLan, August 24, 2010 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

Good point. The right have finally embaced the feminized politics of sensitivity and emotional offense. Oh dear! The KKK are so hurt by the existence of blacka -so they shouldn’t be allowed to mingle freely. Stupid…

Report this

By ofersince72, August 24, 2010 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment

What is certain,  is that the financeers,

the bankers, and international investors have controlled

our government forever.  And that our whole history as

taught from grade school through university is a complete

fabrication of how our nation was formed.

That goes for the “GOOD WARS” WWI, and WWII also.

Report this

By ofersince72, August 24, 2010 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment

I would probably be hitting the nail on the head

if I were to say that the whole ILLUMINATI conspiracy

theory was put out by our own govt (CIA) as a diversion

of how we exactly got to where we are today, letting a

lot of lawmakers of the last forty years off the hook.

Report this

By ofersince72, August 24, 2010 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment

They just want to keep it a

B A L L   O F   C O N F U S I O N

and they are doing a damn good job of it.

Now we are still   mosquedebating,

then , back to the immigrant slave Mexican thing
then,  back to Repubs are all racists thingy.
or whatever non-issue they decide next, never
hitting on core problems.

Report this

By ofersince72, August 24, 2010 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment

No Inherit_The_Wind,

I don’t need to go for all the Illuminati Crap to know

what butchers our lawmakers are…I don’t read any of

that crap, ,  have followed this fairy tale

close enough for forty years on my own.

In fact,  there is probably a conspiracy theory inside the
the conspiracy…That is, the Govt. (CIA) putting out
such absurd theories that any conspiracy might sound

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, August 24, 2010 at 6:23 pm Link to this comment

ofersince72, August 24 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment

Inherit_The_Wind wrote

“Why is it so hard to believe that the ones who hate us
and call us “The Great Satan” tried to hurt us.”


Ya mean like Marvin Bush quit being head of WTC Security on Sept 10, 2001?  ‘cept it didn’t happen.  He was NEVER head of security for the WTC and he quit the security company in June of 2000, before his brother was even elected.

Those aren’t facts, over, those are fantasies.

You conspiracy noggins always abandon the fundamental idea called Occam’s Razor.  It’s easier for YOU to believe that Israelis attacked their BEST ally, with the help of the US President, just to get a war with Iraq…

Because that’s SO much easier to believe than a group of Muslim terrorists made this the BIGGEST strike of their many strikes against us?

Join the tea-baggers with such fantasies.  They don’t have a grip on reality either.

Report this

By ofersince72, August 24, 2010 at 5:25 pm Link to this comment

Inherit_The_Wind wrote

“Why is it so hard to believe that the ones who hate us
and call us “The Great Satan” tried to hurt us.”


Report this

By Tex Shelters, August 24, 2010 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Right again Mr. Robinson.

I had a student in Arizona tell me today that he thought we shouldn’t let the Muslim terrorists open a Mosque near the place “they killed” people.

I tried to educate him about the differences between terrorists and Muslims but did not have the time. It’s a sad day when we paint a gesture to the city of New York as a terrorist threat.

Even Howard Dean is apologizing for the protesters saying they need to have a voice.

Others have said that we need to let people with reasonable objections to the center be heard. I agree. When I hear a reasonable objection, I will listen.

Tex Shelters

Report this

By felicity, August 24, 2010 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

Years ago when, joined by hundreds of other people, I
was standing on a sidewalk protesting against the
impending invasion of Iraq, a passing motorist
screamed at me (us) “Go back to Russia” (yep, they’re
still saying that) I invited the motorist to park his
car and come talk to us adding that a dialogue
between apparently opposing opinions might be useful.

You’d have thought the guy was a participant in a
drag-race he took off so fast.  A wuss, a chicken, a
fraidy-cat, a weak-kneed wimp - you bet. (If I were a
big burly guy maybe his fear was warranted but I’m a
slight little female who couldn’t fight her way out
of a paper bag.)

Report this
Peetawonkus's avatar

By Peetawonkus, August 24, 2010 at 8:36 am Link to this comment

For people so utterly belligerent, Republicans paint themselves as victims: white Christians besieged on all sides. John C. Calhoun, architect of the Confederacy and “the Karl Marx of the Ruling Class” articulated the principle of continuous warfare. This is how you create a subservient population and bind them to a national will—of course run by wealthy elites. To have continuous warfare you need a continuous enemy. The Republicans, lacking any kind of social vision for the country, only have one thing to sell: fear. But they have a great marketing department.

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, August 24, 2010 at 8:04 am Link to this comment


You gotta stop reading those conspiracy websites.  They’ll fill your head with fiction faster than a religious cult!

Marvin Bush didn’t resign from Securacom on 9/10/01, but left in June 2000.  Securacom had, at most, a minor role in WTC security.

Wirt Walker is described in the con-webs as Bush’s “cousin”, but there’s no evidence he was even related.

EVERY “hard fact” I’ve ever seen from the con-webs on 9/11 has evaporated under close examination. 

Why is it so hard to believe that people who hate us and call us “The Great Satan” tried to hurt us?

Report this
Paul_GA's avatar

By Paul_GA, August 24, 2010 at 7:25 am Link to this comment

It would be laughable if it didn’t threaten to do great harm to the global campaign against Islamic terrorism.

Mr. Robinson, this is a war that can’t be won. Period. If this country continues to waste time, money and lives trying to fight it ... Heaven knows what will become of us.

Report this

By purplewolf, August 24, 2010 at 7:22 am Link to this comment

The right is so far right that they are wrong.

Gerard: Well said.

ThaddeusStevens: Exactly. Bu(ll)SH(it)jr, finally admitted he told over 935 lies to get us into the war in Iraq. His brother Marvin was head of security for the WTC and resigned Sunday night Sept. 10, 2001 about 12 hours before the Rep. attack on those very same towers.Again why did Bush’s brother have all the bomb sniffing dogs removed from the WTC buildings a few weeks before the attack. Because they know it was coming. Why did Dicko Cheney make our interceptor pilots stand down for over ten minutes until the Pentagon was hit by that missile and not a plane as they claim. I want to know where all the wreckage was if a plane had really hit the Pentagon, it should have been all over the grounds and surrounding area and it wasn’t. How about building #5, I believe, that came down in it’s own footprint hours after the morning attack on the other side of the WTC complex no where near the other buildings and it was not hit with anything either, also just as implosions do and not explosions. This was planned as a way to take more of our rights away by the GOP and their cronies. Ask yourself why the Bush boys kept interfering with the investigations and why they had already filled numerous trucks with WTC rubble the very same night it was attacked? Inquiring minds based in reality want answers-the truth and not lies and fear as is the main course from the right-wrongers.

Report this
G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, August 24, 2010 at 6:34 am Link to this comment

So, who’s more of a Wuss? The Wuss or the Wuss that is afraid to stand up to the Wuss?

Seems like the Democrats, have spent way too much time cowering to the right wing wussess?

Maybe that’s why their worried about this fall. If they hadn’t given into their fears, maybe they wouldn’t be in this position now.

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, August 24, 2010 at 5:03 am Link to this comment

Message to anyone who will listen: You’re a victim. Be very afraid.

Gene: C’mon, this has been the mantra of EVERY dictatorship’s rise to power. And you forgot the second half: “And only we Republicans can protect you!”

It’s not for nothing that the term “chicken hawks” was coined to describe the loud Right and most of Bush’s strident admin, led by 5-Deferments Chicken Hawk Cheney.

Report this
ThaddeusStevens's avatar

By ThaddeusStevens, August 24, 2010 at 4:42 am Link to this comment

“They imply, but don’t come right out and say, that it was Islam itself that attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, rather than an extremist fringe that espouses what the vast majority of the world’s Muslims consider a perversion of the faith.”

How stupid can Americans be to believe the lies of the Bush Administration; it was they who perpetrated the fairy tale that a group of Islamic extremists perpetrated the bombings of September 11, 2001. Remember, Tony Blair said he’d seen the proof?

Hah! Bush’s man Tony says his man is telling the truth?
How stupid is that line?

If anyone can dig up proof, other than some phony pictures of some guys standing in airports, that a group of Islamic extremists, perpetrated the destruction of the World Trade Center; if anyone can show why I should believe anything George Bush Jr. has to say; if anyone can think for themselves . . . . .

Report this
BarbieQue's avatar

By BarbieQue, August 24, 2010 at 3:34 am Link to this comment

“Or is it all just an act?”
“The whole “controversy” is ridiculous”

Once in awhile the pundits speak the truth, even if they don’t intend to.

“the manufactured brouhaha over the Park51 project is part of a larger pattern in which the far right embraces victimhood and stokes fear.”

Ummm…Seems this “issue” has been talked to death by both “parties”.

Hopefully something (ANYTHING) important happens this week so our navel gazing national “media” will talk about something (ANYTHING) else, something that has to do with the crisis that the present economy has caused for people (Does Anyone In Washington Remember Them?). Like Jobs or the >$2,000 PER SECOND this Empire is blowing on the occupations.

Divide and Conquer. Over and over. Republicans and Democrats. Good cop and Bad cop.

Well here’s an answer: Vote Out All Incumbents in 2010! It’s Multi-Partisan (Everyone including the ~50% who don’t usually vote) and peaceful. And it could work. If you think Washington DC needs to listen to YOU you can make a difference. Even if you haven’t voted for awhile. Or if you’ve stopped like many out of frustration. (not much there now but a beginning, please help it grow. We have only 2 months!).

Lets show DC that they work for us. We have the power, we’re just not supposed to use it.

Imagine, just for a second, a Wednesday after a Tuesday in November where every single incumbent was selected for an extended vacation. (they won’t have to worry about their health insurance!) Even Lincoln and Washington would hear the gasps from the (once) elite!

A November to Remember!

Report this

By bogi666, August 24, 2010 at 2:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For courage the women of Code Pink are the poster child and all the right wing wacko’s who sit around foundling their gun and bragging about how brave they are while afraid to read a book cowing inside their houses with each other all massaging their big guns.

Report this

By ofersince72, August 24, 2010 at 12:23 am Link to this comment

“With a Spine and not a Whine”.........

Get one Eugene ! ! ! !

posters should read
A CounterPunch special report. annemcclintock
Slow Violence In The Gulf,  and BP Coverups

Report this

By gerard, August 23, 2010 at 11:26 pm Link to this comment

We are fighting two wars because of 9/ll which one Arab from Saudi Arabia said was the doing of a small group of Islamic extremists under his leadership. He has claimed “holy war” against “the west” and we have responded with a “holy war” against Islam == more or less—and with a thousand times his fire-power.
  We know intellectually that radical Islam does not represent moderate Islam, but as people don’t like to sacrifice their children for vague goals that require complicated explanations, many people prefer to believe that all Islam is radical and that untold numbers of Muslims must be “killed before they kill us.”
  Having made deals for Iraqi oil, we have now
“finished with” the “right” war on Iraq, where it appears Al Qaeda had little or no connection, and we are “finishing up” the “right” war in Afghanistan, trying to eliminate the local influence of a group of radical Islamic warlords called The Taliban, with which Al Qaeda has little or no connection and which had no connection with 9/ll. 
  Meantime, Al Qaeda has moved on into other more fertile poverty-stricken regions being exploited by western business interests for their natural resources. Afghanistan’s natural resources are now in line for “development.”
  All this is a little too complicated for average isolationist American citizens. They are confused, frightened.  Their ignorance makes them strong, and unconscionable media moguls are playing with their ignorance and making money out of their fears.
  Not to worry.  It’s called “Freedom to Fear”
and there are people who would like to see an Amendment to the Costitution:  “Congress shall make no law limiting the freedom to Fear.  It is a powerful tool in ‘the battle for men’s minds’—and women too, especially if we can keep them barefoot, pregnant and at home where they belong.” Or some such mantra which passes in more than a few places for “Christian values.”

Report this

By rollzone, August 23, 2010 at 10:09 pm Link to this comment

hello. i am ignorant of the whole conflict. Osama
claimed to have destroyed the twin towers to get the
United States out of his Holy Land. we concocted
every conceivable deceit to prevent a Holy War. now
the proximity supposedly insults the memory of our
deceased. the fear and anger fabrications are more
deceit. one new mosque does not a Holy War make, and
it only takes one Battle at the Little Bighorn, one
Pearl Harbor, one Alamo to rain hell down on our
opponents- and nobody is that stupid. so is this
misdirection for “Cap and Trade”, or immigration
“reform”, on Saturday in Congress at 2AM?

Report this
Right Top, Site wide - Care2
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide

Like Truthdig on Facebook