Thank You For Shopping At ______

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Want to get yourself good and depressed?  Go to the Lowe’s Facebook page.
If you’re not aware of what’s going on, lots of people are upset with Lowe’s for pulling their advertising from All American Muslim, a show that debuted on TLC not too long ago.
Let’s get a few things out of the way first:
  • Yes, I’ve seen the show.  I generally don’t watch TLC programming, as they ceased being “The Learning Channel” right around the time they started airing stuff like “Let’s Watch Jon & Kate’s Marriage Dissolve Before Our Eyes While Their 8,000 Kids Go Ignored.”  Compared to this, and to the execrable and completely creepy Toddlers & Tiaras, All-American Muslim is fairly bland and inoffensive, and its attempts to educate folks on the lives of everyday Americans who happen to pray facing Mecca is closer in spirit to a “learning” channel than it’s been for years.
  • American Muslims have mixed feelings about the show.  The general consensus seems to be that it’s a good college try, but in showcasing families in the Dearborn Muslim community only, it’s not an accurate representation of the breadth of diverse practices, origins and experiences.  Certainly the Muslims on this show aren’t punching walls and having every other word out of their mouths bleeped for profanity (something that can’t be said for the vast majority of “reality” programming).
  • Yes, as a matter of fact, I know a lot of Muslims.  I have worked with them, studied with them, hung out with them, and my life is better for having them in my general orbit.  The same can be said for the Christians, Jews, Wiccans, Buddhists and atheists I see on a near-daily basis.  I have no problem with religion, or lack thereof.  What I have a problem with is obstinacy.  What I have a problem with is willful ignorance.
  • I am completely pro-capitalism.  I believe it’s a company’s right to advertise where they see fit, and I also believe that it’s my right to shop where I feel comfortable.
So now we come back to Lowe’s.  They offered one of those apologies-that-aren’t-really-apologies, and left their Facebook page wide open for folks of every stripe to leave their comments.  And, oh, what interesting comments they are.  I’d say that 1 in every 200 comments attempts to be reasonable, but it’s quickly buried in a landslide of vitriol from all sides of the issue.  There’s the woman who steadfastly believes that American Muslims shouldn’t be treated with respect because they are – in her words – “barbarians” with a long and documented history of atrocities (the same can be said for Christians, but nobody seems to want to acknowledge that).  Conversely, there are the people who are comparing a frigging hardware store to the Third Reich.  And there are the people who are trying to work in that “Happy Holidays ruins everything” angle that has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ISSUE AT HAND.  But my favorite came from the dude who says that Lowe’s shouldn’t worry about boycotters, because “90% of them are rejects who probably rent instead of owning their houses.”  Um, what?

If you’re looking for a picture-perfect example of the state of “discourse” in this country, look no further than the Lowe’s Facebook page.  No one is having conversations there.  They’re just screaming at each other.  If you shop at Lowe’s, you’re a redneck hick.  If you don’t shop at Lowe’s, you’re a terrorist.  Muslims are ruining America.  Christians are ruining America.  More and more, we’re like a divided dinner plate, where the salad can’t touch the beans can’t touch the meat.  STAY OUT OF MY COLESLAW YOU FREEDOM-HATING SPARERIB.

I’d like to believe that I can practice tolerance, or at least ask people to consider tolerance, without being accused of being a brainwashedgodlessliberalsocialist.  But lately I’ve been shown that I can’t.  That’s not to say that I won’t keep trying to be a small voice of reason in increasingly unreasonable times.