Words Have Power

I'm downright intrigued by the new effort to paint the filibustering of judges as a broadside against Christians everywhere. Fascinating, fascinating stuff. Part of it, of course, is Bill Frist's understanding that his presidential hopes rely wholly on his reputation as a Christian crusader, a term I use carefully. Because that's what keep pinging my radar on all this -- more and more, you're seeing the Christian Right adopt a policy of confrontation and, indeed, aggression against the non-religious elements of American life. Culture, politics, even community -- the clash of civilization does seem to be in the offing, but it's not with the Islamists a world away, it's a homegrown conflict for the direction of the country.

That was always the flaw in the Clash of Civilizations concept. The war between Shari'a and modernity was taking place in Islam's backyard, it was no worldwide conflict threatening to wash up on America's shores. No matter how many gaskets Hitchens blew on route to his repetitive conclusion -- they hate our way of life! -- Islamists never wanted to change our way of life, they wanted to define their own. Now, I believe we should be proactive in stopping them from imposing their vision on the Middle East (though being proactive means much more than cocking guns), but the scores of battle-ready pundits demanding we fortify our cities against Koranic influence were prima facie ridiculous.

Not so in the apparent confrontation between Colorado Springs and San Francisco -- and that's the right's rhetoric, the rhetoric of real America vs. coastal elitists, not mine. Where the Islamists posed a threat to our ability to continue living life but could never pervert the way we went about it, the opposite is true here. Now, let's be clear, I'm not accusing anyone of a crusade, nor predicting armed uprisings. This isn't a civil war. But it's an ideological struggle that's turning uglier by the day.