I’ve been on record as objecting to Bill Maher’s language on Muslim issues, and it continues to this day. After Orlando, I decided not to recap the full Real Time episode—but simply let someone whom I admire greatly, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, do all the talking.
Wilkerson was a frequent guest of Keith Olbermann on Countdown, and always impressed me as a moderate voice of reason within the Republican party. (He is formerly chief of staff for Colin Powell.)
Of course, he’d probably term himself a “recovering Republican” given the fact that he’s fully at odds with today’s GOP orthodoxy.
Cut to today, where we’re six days out from the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States, perpetrated against the LGBTQ+ population of Orlando. And although there were funny and smart moments in the monologue and a great interview with author Rebecca Traister up front, Col. Wilkerson was the only one I wanted to listen to.
Turns out that was a good choice.
“The GOP leadership is in a fog,” he says. “They realize incontrovertibly that they don’t have a winning candidate” in Donald Trump. “He is causing the republican party, an objective to which I don’t disagree, to commit suicide. The party is self destructing.”
“We reserve the right for a late-term abortion with Donald Trump,” Bill said.
Here’s where it went off the rails. “We have to ask more of Muslims,” Bill said, proceeding to agree with the idiot Trump supporter on the panel. “Only one religion is calling for the death of gay people and attacking them.”
Amazing how conveniently Maher and other conservatives forget that, oh right, Christian pastors are doing it, too—out in the open, on YouTube, from whatever rancid hole they’re broadcasting from.
Is religious-sanctioned hatred part of the problem? Yes. Is it exclusive to the Islamic faith? Absolutely not.
When you’re a progressive and you find yourself on the side of Limbaugh, you’re doing it wrong. Or at least, you could be doing it way better.
Back to the Colonel.
“We don’t need semi-automatic weapons in the hands of anyone other than law enforcement. If anyone is responsible for Orlando, it’s the GOP for stymying any form of gun control.”
I’m so glad I’m covering this episode because Lawrence Wilkerson is taking the gun-toting Trump bimbo to school and church at the same time. I don’t need to ID her because she spews the same empty nonsense that all the TrumpChicks™ do.
Josh Barro stuck up and made the point that self-hatred of LGBT people is also a threat to a person’s health and safety, and that Donald Trump said he was good on those issues. “Ask the gays,” Trump notoriously said this week.
“Please. Before last week he thought that was a sandwich.” Bill has the zinger of the night.
I’m glossing over some of the less-germaine stuff to get back to the Colonel. He makes a stellar point that if we declare “War on Terror” we’re turning criminal dinguses who only care about anarchy in to something bigger than they actually are.
“Blaming Islam for terrorism is like blaming Christianity for pedophile priests.” He’s spot-on in that argument.
“It’s not just Muslims that shoot people,” the Colonel speaks up when Bill calls for perspective from the panel. Bill seems flummoxed by the applause in support of the Colonel, but they’re agreeing with a dose of pragmatism.
Here’s the deal. The guy who shot up the gay nightclub in Orlando doesn’t fit any one mold—you can’t ascribe Christian fundamentalism to him, nor Islamic. And we also can’t legislate crazy, either. This dingus—whose name I will not tweet nor mention here because he deserves no fame or glory—appears to have been an angry, repressed, closet gay guy who was comfortably cavorting with the very same people he murdered. Did that ever come up on the panel? Not so far.
The closest we got to that was Ravi Patel’s gem where he cited the gunman going on Grindr. Summarizing: “He’s gonna be very disappointed with the virgins greeting him in heaven.”
— Will's Media Reform School #DoBetter ⚖️ 🌻 (@bywillpollock) June 16, 2016
Be deeply skeptical of anyone who says “oh, I know what was wrong with this guy! he’s an arab! He’s a terrorist! He’s ISIS!” Because it’s all bullshit in this case; nobody actually knows, and citing his call to 911 as definitive proof is a simpleton’s way out of a more complex discussion.
What’s stunning about the Real Time panel is that, thus far, nobody is talking about internalized homophobia. And THAT is the predominant thing that seemed to haunt the Orlando shooter. Assholes who want to terrorize don’t go dancing at the clubs they end up burning down; and they most certainly don’t try to engage gay men on hook-up apps as has been widely reported.
Bill cut to New Rules just as Colonel Wilkerson was making progress asking what Bill would do to “convince” the liberal, peace-loving Muslims around the world to fall in line.
Bill has been so good for so long sticking it to The Donald that I cut him some slack in other places. Nobody else in the profit-driven media would dare speak up to Trump because it might hurt their access and get them on the Trump Blacklist.
“When it comes to lowering the bar, Donald Trump has really raised the bar.” That’s true. But the bar is lowered by Maher, too, when he folds his arms and says the rest of the Muslim world has to behave like we do.
Will Pollock is an Atlanta-based freelance multimedia journalist and author of two books (Pizza for Good & Leaving Triscuit), with more on the way. Sign up for the mailing list, follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram—and check out the book links below.
Will covers “Real Time with Bill Maher” on a semi-regular basis as a self-deputized RT Reporter, until Bill comes to his senses and has him on to talk about Pizza for Good. For more on Will’s Real Time and twitter philosophy, click here. I do not agree with Bill on his radical, authoritarian view of Muslims and the Islamic faith, but I continue to watch and cover the show because I always learn something. And hopefully you do, too.
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