This week, Lowe’s pulled advertisements from TLC’s show “All-American Muslim” about several Muslim families in the Dearborn area. I don’t watch the show. I don’t need to watch a television show that “normalizes” Muslims. My Muslim friends and co-workers are normal enough to me without television. Frankly, I don’t shop at Lowe’s all that much either, but I won’t be shopping there at all any longer. The people urging Lowe’s to pull the ads had a message to share.
I have a few messages to share here:
To the people who are protesting the portrayal of “ordinary Muslims” on t.v. as misleading given the existence of extremism: You have the right to your opinion, you have the right to band together as Americans and protest and sign petitions and publish your opinions. I respect that and I defend it. I also have the right to my opinion and to publish it. Here it is. You are small-minded bigots. You are ignorant about foreign policy, clearly understand very little about the world at large and the social, economic, and ideological reasons leading to conflict, and are delusional if you think that escalating religious bigotry is going to somehow protect America. Your ignorance is part of the problem, and is a solution to nothing. Shame on you. This is disgraceful. America is not about the politics of fear, it’s about the idea that millions of people with divergent views and beliefs and values can peacefully live together. America is about living with differences, but still working together for the common good. How dare you spit on that and call yourselves patriotic?
To Lowe’s: You have the right to make economic decisions based on what is in your best interest. Clearly, your corporation feels that its clientele is offended by diversity, and positive portrayals of some of our American neighbors. That’s fine. I’m offended by your clientele, and I’m offended that your corporate policies reflect an utter vacuum of morality and common decency. I choose not to spend time with your clientele, and I choose not to patronize your store. Your competitors will be getting my home improvement dollars.
To the people of America: Why don’t you get to know your neighbors this Christmas season? All of them. Not just the ones like you who attend your churches, or patronize your social clubs, or agree with you politically. Maybe your Muslim or Hindu or Catholic or Mormon or Lutheran or Wiccan or atheist neighbors will surprise you. Maybe you have more in common than you think. Perhaps, when Jesus said “love seeketh not her own” that’s what he had in mind. I think I’ll trust him on this one.