Democratic Underground

It Can't Happen Here
March 9, 2001
by Astarho

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?


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