Southern Crackpots

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Claims boycotts are ‘Sharia Law’

This one is a bit hard to summarize, but the short version: The Florida Tea Party would like you to know it is very, very tolerant, it’s just that the Muslims are using Sharia against them and hate the First Amendment and stuff. That’s why they invited the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to their upcoming convention. It’s also why they apparently near-simultaneously demanded a hotel cancel a CAIR event, an action that was meant as retribution for CAIR supposedly helping to get far-right blogger Pamela Geller, whose blog exists primarily to smear Muslims and whose name came up rather frequently in relation to the recent domestic terror incident in Norway, disinvited from another hotel a while back, all because CAIR hates us for our freedomz:

However, around the time that Ross extended the invitation to CAIR, he also emailed catering staff at Jungle Island in Miami, asking them to decline to host a CAIR fundraising banquet set for Nov. 12.

This is the email that Ross sent to the vice president of food and beverage at the hotel where CAIR’s event will take place:

It has been brought to my attention that your facility will be hosting a fund raiser for the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on Saturday November 12th 2011.

I respectfully request that you cancel this event with CAIR. This is an organization that does not recognize the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution. It has tried numerous times to place political pressure on U.S. politicians by trying to stop them from speaking at various freedom loving Constitutional events across Florida and the United States. This attempt by CAIR to muzzle the 1st Amendment rights of American citizens cannot go unanswered.

Please be advised sir that your facility is now being boycotted and placed off limits by members of my Tea Party Coalition across the state of Florida. This boycott of your facility will be lifted when your event with CAIR is cancelled. Thank you.

CAIR, for its part, denies that they had any hand in getting that Pamela Geller event canceled anyway, which does them no good because Pamela Geller blames Muslims for every single thing that happens to her or anyone else. When CAIR asked the tea partiers about the letter, the tea party group disinvited them from the convention because they had “disrespected” Geller, presumably by pointing out to people that she is in fact batshit crazy, and said:

Ross says he emailed the hotel because he was frustrated with CAIR “putting political pressure on hotels” and trying “to shut down” events that are hosted by people they disagree with. “Sharia law is what they are using to shut us down,” he says.

“If they can’t handle what they dish out,” he says, “then they should pick other tactics.”

Well, that clears that up. So here’s my question: Do you think anyone in the Florida Tea Party knows what “Sharia” even is? Apparently it is rather all-encompassing, but I’ve got to admit, if there’s something in Muslim law specifically about ticking off Pamela Geller, that would be a hell of a thing (also: sign me up).

And if boycotts are, as the tea partiers assert, part of “Sharia law” then aren’t the tea partiers practicing Sharia by asking for a boycott? Are there Sharia and non-Sharia boycotts? What’s the difference between those, exactly? And if the First Amendment allows boycotts, but some boycotts are “Sharia Law,” then is the Constitution endorsing “Sharia Law”? How very confusing.

It seems a given at this point that tea party-ism seems to go so strongly hand-in-hand with racist conspiracy theories. It was supposed to be about taxes, of course, but they gave that up long ago; now it’s just the same far-right crowd moaning about Agenda 21 and immigrants and those suspicious brown people over there. It’s old, tired and dull, but apparently prejudice is the only thing that can reliably rally conservatives to meetings, and so yet again, here we are.

I think CAIR probably ought to not engage these crackpots any further. Much as we still strongly suggest that Democrats do not appear on Fox News, I think CAIR engaging in a group that sees “Sharia law” in every reflection and wisp of cloud will probably not amount to much. If a CAIR representative made good points, during their convention, it would be evidence of conspiracy; if a CAIR spokesman started reading aloud some of the crazy, bigoted things said by people like Pamela Geller, there would be a general outrage that conservatives were being “attacked.” The tea party movement has already decayed into self-parody, I don’t think there is any reason to still treat them as if they were anything but a bunch of cranks, bigots and conspiracy theorists.

Mike ”Hunter” Lazzaro

Mike ”Hunter” Lazzaro

As a Daily Kos contributing editor, Michael Lazzaro —a.k.a. ”Hunter”—has gained a reputation for passionate, explorative, and offbeat progressive writing. His wide-ranging essays and editorials are alternately probing and combative, provide stirring defenses of progressive and liberal ideals, and frequently explore the underlying dynamics of the progressive and liberal online communities themselves. An Internet consultant who currently makes his home in rural Northern California with his wife, child, and a varying assortment of animals, Michael helped design and build some of the very first e-commerce sites on the emerging World Wide Web.