Special days historically fall prey to those who use them for their own gain. Like when god decided to send Jesus to earth on Christmas and then have him die on Easter. Seriously, you’re god and that’s the best you could do?
It’s no different now. From simple and relatively justified things like MLB putting players in pink for Breast Cancer awareness or having everyone wear number 42 to commemorate Jackie Robinson to things that don’t quite feel right like Glenn Beck marching on the National Mall and claiming the mantle of MLK on the anniversary of the “I have a Dream” speech, these days give both demagogues and dissenters context for their issues.
Sadly, most of the time it’s the demagogues who get the coverage. I have spent a bit of time in Muslim countries and most of the people I have met are nice people who want to make a living and provide for their families. Yes, they’re serious about their religion but they don’t use it as an excuse for violence.
So what’s the point in getting them riled up by staging a Quran burning? I know the event has been canceled and I know that the pastor of a small church in Florida does not deserve as much coverage as he has been given. But when David Petraeus, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama and the Southern Baptist convention all agree that what you’re doing is a bad idea, maybe it’s time to stop and rethink.
As odious as the planned act may be, even worse is the day on which it falls. Sometimes a Saturday
is more than just a Saturday. Like when it’s September 11th. Using a day like today that should be reserved for contemplation and mourning as a vehicle for the same kind of bilious beliefs that fueled the hijackers nine years ago means we all lose.
I preferred it when September 11th had no meaning, when it wasn’t a special day. But that is no longer possible. So maybe it’s time that people stop grandstanding and allow this day to have one simple message. Hate kills. That goes for Terry Jones, Glenn Beck and Michael Moore just as much as it does for Bin Laden.