Candidly, if I were a Muslim American, I would be very frightened by the current atmosphere on the right of the political spectrum which is depicting every Muslim as a would be terrorist. Perhaps I am especially sensitive to demonization since gays have long been called out as deviants and a danger by the "godly folk" and I know what it is to be fearful of my safety on occasion simply because of who I am. Most often this fear was triggered by "godly folk," those who see themselves as "real Americans," and on one occasion, the Norfolk Police. How long will it be until some self-appointed Christian vigilante lets loose violence on Muslims or others who they deem to not be "real Americans"? A piece in Salon looks at this increasingly dangerous atmosphere. Here are excerpts:.
The escalating right-wing hyperbole is not just irresponsible but dangerous, as it promotes undue fears and offers more confrontations and violence as a solution, such as calls for all Americans to carry guns. What’s forgotten in that line of thinking is that many people won’t, or don’t want to use guns.
The GOP presidential candidates, in contrast, relish the thought of war with ISIS. One after another, at Thursday’s Republican Jewish Coalition summit in Washington, they declared the nation was “in a time of war” (Ted Cruz), facing “terrorist attack” (Chris Christie), “they’re already here” (Lindsey Graham) and the feds should spy on anyone, anywhere, anytime . . . .
There’s “fear in the air,” the Times reported Friday, echoing a national poll released Thursday finding 83 percent of Americans expect a major terrorist attack. Meanwhile, overseas, the U.S. is deepening the military response to ISIS following the Paris attacks, and NATO allies that had limited their involvement are now sending troops, planes and ships.
In other words, contrary to what the GOP presidential candidates would have the public believe, the U.S. is very much at war in Iraq and Syria. Meanwhile, they and their propagandist allies are opposed to removing weapons of war from individuals at home.
Americans who don’t believe the answer to violence is to carry a gun anytime they step outside find themselves in an escalating climate of fear-mongering, panic-driven gun sales and an urge by many to strike real or imagined foes.
What is lacking are people who can put these latest events and trends into perspective, historic contexts or offer wise responses—although the New York Times ran its first front-page editorial in decades on Saturday morning, urging Congress to ban militarized weapons and calling the recent domestic gun-caused slaughter terrorism. Most of the TV news, however, is reading a different script, hyping the FBI announcement that it was investigating the San Bernardino shootings as a terrorist incident.
The White House has ignored most of the noise coming from Congress and the 2016 campaign trail, making reasonable remarks that are quickly overshadowed by hyped headlines. The lack of a stronger, clearer and wiser countervailing presence from Obama has had serious consequences, however. It’s created a void filled by an onslaught of irresponsible GOP hyperbole and right-wing propaganda. Ironically, Obama is allowing the end of his presidency to be colonized by exaggerated fears and darkness, though he was elected by a majority of Americans seeking a far more hopeful future.