It's a long clip. Greenwald's retort comes in around the 7-minute mark.
What is particularly irksome about Maher's Islamophobia is the shallowness of his historical view of Islam and the Middle East's rocky road to democratic reform. Those of the Anglo-Saxon tradition usually recognize our own democracy as anchored in the Magna Carta Libertatum signed by King John in 1215.
Within our own culture we have been wrestling, often violently, with democratic reform for almost eight centuries. Eight hundred years. Now remind me, when did we extend the vote to half our citizenry, our women? Was that several hundred years ago? No! Was it about one century ago? Yes! So it took us, with our great and noble democratic tradition, about seven centuries to enfranchise half our population who had been denied the vote on nothing more than their gender. Think there weren't any religious influences in that sorry state of affairs?
You would think that, with our centuries of democratic traditions, we would have been instrumental in bringing the concept of political rights and freedom to the Middle East. Did we? Apparently not.
|We're Still Kissing Saudi Ass|
|Rumsfeld Greets Saddam - Better Times|
|Remember this evil Son of a Bitch?|
Bill Maher and Company at this point like to get into the link between today's Arab political unrest and Islam. To Maher, it's not democracy that's emerging but theocracy and the dreaded Sharia law.
|Brothers in Arms|
Theocracy? Look at the centuries of struggle between Protestantism and Catholicism in Europe. That's a saga richly littered with blood and death. Britain wound up with its own church and the monarch was the head of that church. They even had plenty of religious laws. For something in the order of four centuries (although it might have actually been six) it was a capital offence for a Jew to be found in the realm.
And look at the restoration of theocratic influence next door in the United States. Everyone from Chris Hedges to Andrew Bacevich to Chalmers Johnson and many more are chronicling the rise of a form of American fascism rooted in religious fundamentalism.
|Too Much, Too Soon? Yeah, Fair Enough|
The Muslim people are just beginning their journey to democracy and it is more than disingenuous for us, with our eight tumultous centuries of still fragile and uncertain progress, to measure them against us or at least our wishful illusions of ourselves.