Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Tennessean Weighs In

Protesting Geert Wilders in Franklin, TN

I brought home a print copy of yesterday’s Tennessean, and the article below was on the first page of the B section (“Local & Business”).

The online version is identical, except for a factual error in the print copy about the leadership of the Tennessee Freedom Coalition, which the paper corrected after having it brought to their attention.

All four stories on the same front page of B section are quite politically correct. Besides the article on Geert, we see:

  • One about the retracing of the civil rights “Freedom Rides” on their fiftieth anniversary;
  • A report which takes a disapproving tone about the attempt to reverse an anti-white set-aside law — ironically referred to as an “anti-bias law”; and
  • An article about a judge who will retain his membership in a country club, even though “some judges say the club discriminates against women and African-Americans.”

So this gives you an idea of what kind of rag The Tennessean is. It is, after all, a Gannett paper, and Gannett seems to impose this sort of squishy vanilla liberalism on its local franchises all over the country.

The reporter had a hard time catching Geert out, however. Mr. Wilders has fined-tuned his message in the face of a far more hostile and more leftist European press, so that he is as bullet-proof against PC as it is possible to be while still remaining anti-Islam.

Below is the paper’s take on Nashville’s encounter with the Great Islamophobe. I’ll only include a few of my own comments, since I’ll have more to say in later posts about Geert’s visit to Tennessee:

Dutch politician brings anti-Islam views to TN
by Jennifer Brooks

Dutch politician Geert Wilders sees a kindred spirit in Tennessee — a state where new mosques draw protests and the legislature is considering a bill that once targeted adherents of Islamic law.

Geert Wilders in Franklin, TNOn trial for hate speech in his home country, Wilders brought his headline-grabbing views on Islam to Middle Tennessee on Thursday. He came to town as the invited guest of the Tennessee Freedom Coalition, a 2-week-old political coalition founded by Republican former congressional candidate Lou Ann Zelenik.

“I come with a warning for America,” said Wilders, a filmmaker and member of the Dutch parliament, and something of a cult celebrity in some conservative circles. [emphasis added]

Inserting the word “cult” before “celebrity” tips the reporter’s hand. No liberal-progressive celebrity would earn such a modifier. This is intended to tag those who are interested in Mr. Wilders’ message as right-wing kooks.

The article continues:
Close Islamic schools, he warned America. Halt construction of mosques — or “hate palaces,” as he calls them. Cut off immigration from “non-Western and especially Islamic countries,” and expel any immigrants who do not “assimilate.”

“I was happy to visit the state of Tennessee, where I know a lot of people — certainly a lot of Christians — feel the same threat as we do, and know when you talk about values, when you talk about who you are and who you are not, and that Christianity is for certain not the same as Islam,” said Wilders, who is not himself a Christian. “I compare Islam not with Christianity and Judaism. I compare Islam with fascism and communism.”

His first stop of the day was talk show host Steve Gill’s radio show, then a meet-and-greet and news conference at Williamson County Republican Party headquarters in Franklin. The evening ended with a closed-to-the-press speech at Cornerstone Church in Madison about what Wilders sees as the evils of the world’s second-largest religion.

And now for the protesters. Unlike, say, the BBC, The Tennessean is honest about how many there were — about ten or twelve. These were not anarchists or culture-enrichers, but ordinary Tennesseans of the secular liberal faith. I had a nice chat with some of them; I’ll report more on that later.

The important thing to notice about the events in Franklin and Nashville is that there were at most twenty or so demonstrators, whereas several thousand sympathetic listeners turned out to hear what Mr. Wilders had to say. The evening at the Cornerstone Church was unprecedented in my experience, and should be the model for future efforts.

Protesters turn out

In Franklin, about a dozen protesters stood in the punishing May sunshine across from Republican headquarters, waving signs that said “SHAME” and “Be nice or go away.”

Great motto, that — “Be nice or go away.” Does it ever apply to Anjem Choudary?

“It’s very inappropriate for an official political party here in Tennessee to bring in someone so notorious,” said Williamson County Democratic Party Chairman Peter Burr. “This guy is sort of the epitome of the outside agitator. That’s not the way we do business here in Tennessee.”

During the evening’s program, Bill Warner agreed with The Tennessean, and insisted that “outside agitators” should be sent home — which would then make his job unnecessary.

Across the street, about two dozen visitors milled outside Republican Party headquarters, eating lunch or filing inside to shake hands with Wilders. He traveled with a contingent of local and Dutch security, wary of the large number of death threats he has drawn over the years.

Despite the controversy, or perhaps because of it, his visit was a headline-grabbing coup for the fledgling Tennessee Freedom Coalition.

“Not bad for our first event,” said Jeff Hartline, the coalition’s director. Wilders’ visit was not an official fundraiser for the coalition or the GOP, although Hartline said he expected to see a spike in donations as a result.

Wilders’ visit comes as the Tennessee legislature moves toward a vote on what was once known as the anti-Shariah law bill. After a storm of protests, lawmakers stripped any reference to Shariah — the religious law of Islam — from the bill. Instead, it now grants the Tennessee governor and the state attorney general the power to declare organizations to be terrorist groups.

It is expected to pass overwhelmingly.

Wilders, meanwhile, squeezed in his Tennessee visit between a speaking tour of Canada and his return home to the Netherlands.

“We have nothing against Muslims, as such,” he said in parting. “We have nothing against people of any kind of origin. We have a problem with the Islamic ideology.”

I never saw any CAIR protesters at either event, although I heard there were a few out by the road in front of the Cornerstone Church, and at least one Muslima attended the speech wearing full hijab. However, CAIR was dutifully consulted by the newspaper for the occasion:

The Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement condemning Wilders’ visit to Tennessee and asking state and local Republican officials to repudiate the decision to “honor one of the world’s leading Islam-haters.”

It will be interesting to see how many Tennessee Republicans run and hide under the bed after being called out by CAIR. Based on the handful I met, they are not lily-livered lickspittle cowards like most of their brethren at the national level in Washington D.C.

But we shall see.


Zenster said...

In Franklin, about a dozen protesters stood in the punishing May sunshine across from Republican headquarters, waving signs that said “SHAME” and “Be nice or go away.” [emphasis added]

Remember what Ann (The Colorado Buzzsaw) Barnhardt taught us about the word "nice"?

Video Time Point 07:23"In our culture, niceness has been elevated to the cardinal virtue. As we now know [from prior etymological definition], "niceness" is really "ignorance and foolishness". So what this means is that ignorance and foolishness are now considered moral virtues and knowledge and reason are considered vices. One need look no further than the inner city to see confirmation of this. Anyone who utilizes facts, logical arguments, objective evidence or, God forbid, common sense is cast as an intolerant, bigoted, hateful and, even in a sense, a subhuman person."

Be sure to pay close attention at video time point 03:24 when she talks about words and meaning. Her disquisition on the etymological origins of the word "nice" is both elegant and informative.

So, if we are to take that protester's sign literally, they are telling us to:

Be ignorant and foolish or go away.

It is rather difficult to do any better of a job in summing up the Left's overall attitude towards Islam. Quite clearly, only ignorant or foolish people are capable of disregarding the clear cut and ongoing crime against humanity known as Islam.

John Sobieski said...

Yes, Ann's video about 'niceness' is a must see. It really sums up what is destroying our civilization.

OldSouth said...

Ah, The Tennessean! Some things never ever change. It's the rag that gave young AlGore his first job. They helped usher in legendary leadership such as Governor Ray Blanton (convicted for selling pardons to violent felons), Jim Sasser(voted 'Stupidest Senator of The Year' in multiple years during his tenure), on it goes.

The readership numbers continue to plummet, blessedly. Once, a few years ago, a phone solicitor called to invite me to subscribe, to which I replied 'Never will I put a penny in the pocket of those AlGore Kool-Aid drinkers.' She replied, 'We have gotten a lot of replies just like yours...'

Sorry to have missed Geert's visit. If you have contact info for TN Freedom Coalition, I'd love to have it.

Best regards,


philip.zhao said...

I noticed that the Liberty Bell has had a crack which signifies that the The United States are cracking wide into a Divided States of Islamic America if Americans keep Tennessee-Waltzing with the religion of peace.

Baron Bodissey said...

OldSouth --

The contact information is at the TFC website, which is linked above, or you can click here.

Hesperado said...

"at least one Muslima attended the speech wearing full hijab"

Was she strip-searched? Had I seen her go in without a thorough strip-search, cavity-search and full body scan done on her, I would not have entered the building.

(Same goes, in fact, for anyone entering who is reasonably suspected of being a Muslim.)

Baron Bodissey said...

Hesperado --

Everyone was wanded, and -- given the character of the security people -- I'm sure the Muslima got the full treatment.

However, she probably could have got in with lingerie plastique, I would think. She just wouldn't have been able to get anywhere near Geert with it. She would have had to be content with blowing up a few Tennessee Christians in her immediate vicinity.

Hesperado said...


Don't forget breast implant explosives, which was plotted at least once by Muslimas, as well as rectal bombs or ingested bombs. Again, in such circumstances, anyone who looks like a Muslim should be given complete searches above and beyond what others are subjected to; or all non-Muslim attendees should be warned that they could be blown up if they attend. Every time Wilders orSpencer, et al., go to public functions, they are endangering the lives of those attending. It's grand to be brave, but it's not so grand to put the lives of others at risk without their full awareness of that risk.

Anonymous said...


CORRECTION: Neither Wilders nor Spencer (nor any anti-jihadi) are endangering the lives of those attending any anti-jihad speech.

Rather, Islam and Muslims are endangering the lives of those attending - as well as those sitting on the sidelines.

Muslims routinely injure and murder significant numbers of infidels who are far from any anti-jihadi speech....

Engineer-Poet said...

Perhaps anyone recognizably Muslim should be directed to an overflow room where they can watch the speech via video link and have their say by remote microphone... but not endanger the main audience, or create disruptions to the speech and Q&A.

That tactic would work at least once, perhaps twice, to sidestep the heckler's veto they've used thus far.  After that they'd have to do their best to look American to get past the filter into the main audience.  Given how many of them are of MENA descent, that might not work so well.

Zenster said...

Egghead: CORRECTION: Neither Wilders nor Spencer (nor any anti-jihadi) are endangering the lives of those attending any anti-jihad speech.

Rather, Islam and Muslims are endangering the lives of those attending - as well as those sitting on the sidelines.

Thank you for making the catch, Egghead.

This is the same faulty "logic" that saw General Petraeus blaming Pastor Terry Jones' burning of the Qur'an as posing a mortal danger to our troops in Afghanistan.

Islam is the problem. Islam has always been the problem.

Hesperado said...

Egghead and Zenster,

Obviously, I wasn't redirecting the blame of terror attacks onto Wilders and Spencer. Nevertheless, when they go to public events, they are endangering the lives of others, because it is reasonable to suppose that Muslims who want to kill them will not balk at mass-murderous means that will kill many of those around Wilders and Spencer (and both of them are also putting the lives of their friends and families in danger). Indeed, every time they (and other juicy targets) sit on a plane they are endangering other passengers. As long as everyone concerned is fully aware of this, that's fine. Somehow, I don't think everyone is.

Anonymous said...

Maybe, maybe not; but, I strongly disagree with your wording which feeds into the idea that critics of Islam are responsible for the violence of Islam; and, therefore Western government must muzzle all critics to protect the "innocent" from the very predictable Muslim violence that results from any and all Islam critical words.

If every anti-jihad speaker stopped speaking from now on, would Muslim violence decrease due to Western appeasement or increase due to Muslims being emboldened by the achievement of their Islamic anti-blasphemy edict?

Well, we all know the answer to that question: Muslim violence would increase due to Muslims being emboldened.

Hesperado said...


Until the West begins to wake up in earnest, Muslim violence will increase no matter what we do; and I tend to think the "poking the hornet's nest" theory applies with Muslims in this regard. I.e., during the (unfortunately) long process of a small minority of Westerners trying to wake up their own West -- necessarily involving a lot of hornet's-nest-poking -- Muslim violence will increase even more. Of course, it would be better if the West woke up sooner rather than later; just as it would have been better had the West woke up to Hitler sooner, and thereby prevented tens of millions from being mass-murdered, killed in bombings, and grievously wounded, maimed and dislocated.