Sunday, December 20, 2015

Americans Must Condemn Our Own Extremists

Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker has once again gone off the GOP reservation in a column in the Washington Post.  While most in the GOP seem obsessed with whipping up anti-Muslin animus and calling for things such as indiscriminate carpet bombing of Muslim - that what Ted Cruz brings to the table - and The Donald calls for banning Muslims from entering America, rational folks ought to be able to realize that all this does (other than give the Christofascists in the GOP base near orgasms at the thought of killing Muslims) is to aid and abet ISIS's recruiting efforts.   Here are column excerpts:

When President Obama addressed the nation after the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., he reiterated the call to resist animus toward Muslims.

This was a familiar message — the same we had heard from President George W. Bush after the 9/11 attacks. We aren’t at war with Islam, both presidents have said, but with an ideology built on distortions (or medieval-minded interpretations) of the Islamic religion.

A full-page headline in the Washington Blade, a gay newspaper, similarly caught my eye recently: “To All Muslims: Trump Does Not Speak For Us.” 

These sentiments, still relatively rarely expressed, are crucial not only to civility but also to national security. Anti-Muslim rhetoric merely buoys the terrorist narrative that the United States is the enemy of Islam. Thus, demonizing or marginalizing Muslims leads not to greater safety but to greater numbers of recruits willing to self-detonate in the service of something no sane person recognizes.

We seem to have no trouble demanding that moderate Muslims condemn the radicals, but we’re less than impressive when it comes to moderate Americans taking a stand against our own extremists. It isn’t really as painful as it looks and should be viewed as an act of patriotism, something the individual citizen can do as part of the nation’s war effort.

I had hoped the president might call on Americans to do their part and issue a call to specific action. As I imagined it, he would have said something like: “I’m calling on all America’s mayors, of towns and cities large and small, to join the war on terrorism by hosting a public forum in your community bringing Muslims and non-Muslims together for conversation.

“The operating principle should be that communication is key to understanding and that understanding is central to peaceful coexistence and a better future. The objective is to allow people to speak freely (in an orderly fashion) about their thoughts, fears, hopes and ideas.”

When extremists are white and typically wrapping themselves in religion and the American flag, far too many Americans simply turn a blind eye and give the hate merchants and demagogues a pass.  I agree with Parker that truly patriotic Americans have an obligation to loud condemn our own extremist.  Sadly, the concept is lost on most Republicans and the self-congratulatory "godly folk."

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