Thursday, June 11, 2015

Man, I'm glad we're so damn sensitive

The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia decided to celebrate Independence Day on June 4 instead of July 4 this year "to respect the upcoming Ramadhan month." Ramadan, or Ramadhan, is, of course, a Muslim observance that lasts a month or so -- June 17 to July 17 this year -- and the Fourth of July lands pretty much in the middle of it.

July 4th celebrations at U.S. embassies around the world often -- usually, in fact -- are used as outreach opportunities to the host country, featuring bands, food, frivolity and U.S.-made products the current administration is pushing to introduce overseas (this year in Jakarta it was electric motorcycles, which I'm sure are much better than Harleys). Lots of locals attend, including host government officials, and so it makes sense not to throw a daytime party for locals when the locals are fasting during the day.

Politifact points this out in rating posts on conservative blogs criticizing the decision as only "mostly true." Politifact, of course, wouldn't know a fact if it bit them on the ass. The embassy celebrated July 4th early, and it did so to accommodate Muslim religious beliefs. That is based on what the ambassador himself said, and so conservative blogs critical of the decision wrote their headlines accordingly, such as "U.S. Embassy Celebrates America’s Independence on June 4th in Order to Accommodate Muslims." Politifact cites this as a typical headline critical of the move.

The "fact-checking" site then calls the headlines only "mostly true," despite what the embassy itself said, because other embassies have also held the July 4th celebration at times other than July 4th. The Politifucks acknowledge that pretty much all of these have to do with weather (extreme heat and monsoon season are mentioned) and local vacation schedules, such as in Europe where at many embassies the entire fucking country is on vacation in July (but not France -- the French take August off). No mention of local religious issues for any other delays in the celebration. And yet, because other embassies have celebrated July 4th at other times, saying that the Jakarta embassy did what it did for the reasons it said it did it is only mostly true.

This is how liberals twist the world to fit their own view. If someone says "this is why I did this," it's hard to argue with that. In this case, the holiday in question is seminal in American history and, really, matters only to Americans. We don't get worked up about Bastille Day or Guy Fawkes Day, nor does the rest of the world really care much about the 4th of July. (By the way, what are the French doing about Bastille Day at their embassies. It is July 14, within the Ramadan celebration. Hmmmm.)

While it is used as an excuse at U.S. embassies to conduct local outreach, that is not the point of the holiday to Americans. You can conduct outreach any time. The locals don't give two shakes of a rat's ass about the 4th of July, after all. So conduct your outreach when it isn't hot, or monsoon season, or Ramadan, or whatever. Celebrate the 4th of July and the birth of our country  at the embassy with staff and American expatriates in attendance, on the 4th of July. In case the State Department hasn't noticed, the holiday's name tells you pretty explicitly when the holiday is.

And you're fucking-A right I'm serving hamburgers and all-beef hot dogs at our embassy and consulate 4th of July celebrations in India. Beef up the embassy's  Marine detachment if you have to. (See what I did there?) The holiday is for us, not the locals.

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