Sunday, October 17, 2010
I had an interesting exchange yesterday with a few guys in the local cafe. Everyone in my little hamlet knows me as the "Green-Liberal"guy. I'm often confronted with questions and comments when people know I am going to have a opposing point of view. It's like they enjoy baiting me with low-hanging fruit. It's become somewhat of a sport around here watching me jump at it.
When I walked into the cafe yesterday, I heard murmurs of, "let's ask the greenie what he thinks." I readied myself for something.
Four people having coffee at "their table" wanted to know what I thought of Bill O'Reilly on "The View." Oddly enough I'd just watched the clips of the controversy where Whoopi Goldberg and Jo Behar walked off their own set after Bill O'Reilly claimed of 9-11, "Muslims killed us."
Of course Goldberg and Behar (famous TV liberals in America) took offense and wanted O'Reilly (TV's arch conservative) to amend his statement to something like, "radical Muslims killed us" on 9-11. When he wouldn't, they walked off. They came back later, but that was the crux of the matter.
The guys in the New Sarepta Market Cafe felt O'Reilly's claim was perfectly coherent and it was true that... since the 19 men who carried out the 9-11 attacks were Muslim... the statement "Muslims killed us" was true.
One actually said, "truth is truth. They were Muslims. We're North Americans... so it's true... they killed us."
I responded that truth is often more complex, and involves a deeper understanding and of circumstance and surrounding facts. The New Sarepta boys guffawed and started again to taunt me with, "the truth is the truth, don't try and play it down."
"Okay," I said. "I'll give you another truth then. Christians killed 168 people in the Oklahoma Bombings."
That got them bubbling over: "Being Christian wasn't the prime motive behind the bombing.... Those guys weren't real Christians.... They didn't come from a different county.... The two incidents are totally different...."
"Yeah," I conceded, "but the truth is the truth. Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichol were Christians. They blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. They killed 168 men, women and children. What happened to [the truth is the truth], guys?"
The coffee-drinkin' boys didn't like that. They continued to explain why the two examples are totally different. I just sat there shaking my head. "I agree, they're different, guys. I'm not claiming their the same... but the truth is the truth."
Then... at some point in the back and forth, one guy claimed, "but you're trying to paint all Christians as whacko militia members."
"No. I'm not," I countered. "I'm not saying anything of the sort. I'm only using one [absolutely true] statement. You're the ones taking what I'm saying out of context because my [truth] is quite incomplete and misleading... isn't it? That's exactly what O'Reilly intended by his use of the word Muslims... rather than extremist Muslims."
They kept on with their arguments. I just kept mumbling, "but what happened to [the truth is the truth]?"
As always, when we parted they had no idea I'd won the argument. I think they actually pity my demented view of the world... but they buy me coffee now and again, so I can't complain.