It Can't Happen
I turned on CNN the other day and in between "coverage"
of whatever is the latest Clinton "scandal", I saw some archival
footage of the majestic Buddha statues carved into the mountainside
in Afghanistan as well as smaller pieces in a museum in Kabul.
Then I heard the anchors say that the Taliban Militia is destroying
them because they are Anti-Islamic. Even though Buddha said,
"All bodies are composed so that they will one day decompose,"
it saddened me to see such works of beauty and power (one
of them at 175 feet tall is believed to be the largest Buddha
in the world) to be destroyed for such a poor excuse as religion.
Then I wondered could an iconoclasm like that ever happen
here? Granted the religious histories of the United States
and Afghanistan are completely different. Afghanistan was
inhabited by Zoroastrians, then Buddhists as that religion
was spread to Central Asia before finally becoming Muslim,
whereas the United States was inhabited by Native Americans
practicing hundreds of diverse religions before a largely
Christian population came.
But the question remains; what is there to stop our own fundamentalist
Ulema of the Religious Right and Attorney General John Ashcroft
from trying to rid the land of such Pagan monuments by bulldozing
Serpent Mound, Ohio or the shooting the petroglyphs off the
walls at Newspaper Rock, Utah in the same way the Taliban
is knocking down the Buddhas with mortar fire? Or even worse,
is the possibility that Shrub himself orders their destruction
on the possibility that oil is found under either, the same
way he is planning on drilling ANWR.
Now you may take comfort and say, that will never happen
here in America. Maybe you are right, it could not happen
here. Until recently we said that elections could not be stolen
here either. However, we may be more alike then many would
like to believe, not including the small ways like the Taliban
and Ashcroft's shared disdain for dancing.
We are both under governments that forced their way to power
and are seeking to destroy any opposition. Both hide behind
a council, whether it is an ulema or a Supreme Court. Both
are trying to return women to the veil, one literally and
the other metaphorically. And now we are both set on destroying
our own historical/national heritage albeit with either mortars
or oil drills. And worst of all we have both been shamed in
the eyes of the world, even Iran has criticized Afghanistan
for destroying part of it's history and others have said that
the Taliban has shamed Islam itself.
As for us, one need only ask any European about Election
2000. While Ashcroft will not have the bulldozers at Serpent
Mound tomorrow, a few months down the road, there could be
a law passed by the Republican Congress, an executive order
by the Resident (who dislikes reading, and probably fails
to understand the historical significance of these places),
or another ruling from the Supreme Court Five calling for
the destruction of these monuments.
We say it cannot happen here, as if America is somehow immune.
But really, what is there to stop it?