First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me
-Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) –
No Dogs, Christians Only, and Things Unthinkable
The terrorist attack in Paris has injected a lightning bolt worth of energy into the xenophobic, racist, bigoted world of conservative fundamentalist politics. Republican presidential candidates are using the tragedy and taking full advantage of it to stoke the fires of fear and bigotry in their base they have so carefully tended. Here just a few examples:
Ben Carson – “If there is a rabid dog running around your neighborhood, you’re probably not going to assume something good about that dog. And you’re probably going to put your children out of the way. Doesn’t mean that you hate all dogs, by any stretch of the imagination. But, you’re putting your intellect into motion and you’re thinking, how do I protect my children?” (11/19/15 at a campaign event in Mobile, Alabama)
Jeb Bush – “I think we need to do thorough screening and take in a limited number. There are a lot of Christians in Syria that have no place now. They’ll be either executed or imprisoned, either by Assad or by ISIS. We should focus our efforts as it relates to the refugees for the Christians that are being slaughtered.” (11/15/15 on CNN “State of the Union”)
Ted Cruz – “President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s idea that we should bring tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim refugees to America — it is nothing less than lunacy. Now on the other hand, Christians who are being targeted, for genocide, for persecution, Christians who are being beheaded or crucified, we should be providing safe haven to them.” (11/14/15 on Fox News)
Donald Trump – “We’re going to have to do things that we never did before. And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule. And certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country in terms of information and learning about the enemy. And so we’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.” (Yahoo News via Washington Post)
Us, Them, and You
To those on the Right it’s “Us” and “Them”. As Ben Carson clearly put it, “Them” are “dogs”. As Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz put it, “Us” are christians, and any refugees who are christian should take precedence and be protected. And then there’s Donald Trump… As Trump put it, “…certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country…” What are those “certain things”? They will most certainly affect “You”, and not just refugees.
Yes indeed! Welcome to the United States of America! A new and improved, theocratic, xenophobic, bigoted, racist, corporate run police state, where everyone is a suspect, but especially if they’re brown, carry a Koran, and are running from war, terror, and religious persecution! Oh… and let’s not forget those dangerous brown people south of the border! We don’t want their kind contaminating our Cro-Magnon, redneck, fundamentalist gene pool, or taking jobs we don’t want anyway away from us! And, those damn “niggers” gotta be watched too! Always bitching about discrimination, being shot by the police, protesting and wanting to be treated like white folk! This is ‘Murica! And then there’s those fuckin’ atheists, and liberals!!! They’re all fucking communist, devil worshipping, muslim, godless bastards!!!
You… Yes, you
Are you really going to let these fascist, bigoted, racist, theocratic idiots scare you into locking all the doors and windows to our democratic republic… a nation that was built by immigrants from all over the world? I’m not just talking about ISIS here. I’m also talking about the fascist, bigoted, racist, theocratic idiots of the Right! Are you going to take the coward’s way out and relinquish the principles of freedom and liberty for the illusion of security that the Right repeatedly claims is the only way for the country to remain “free”?
I was under the impression that Americans were strong, determined, and unafraid as a matter of course?! In fact, that’s exactly what the Right continually spews in its rhetoric! Doesn’t it? And yet, those on the Right are the first to suggest that America lock its doors and hide in the closet?! What about all that 2nd Amendment bullshit folks on the Right love to shout about all the time? You know…The right to defend themselves against the government and the world’s most powerful military? What? A few radical Islamic terrorists that might slip in from time to time have to be a lot easier to defend against at home than taking on the U.S. government!
Home of the free. But definitely not the land of the brave.
But, there’s the rub. The powerbrokers of the Right want everyone afraid of everything. It gives them the upper hand and, over time, more and more Americans will relinquish their freedoms for the illusion of security. Terrorism, to the Right, is just a very convenient method to instill more fear and gain more control. And the same powerbrokers on the Right who spew anti-government rhetoric today are actually working toward BIGGER government by transforming the country into a police and surveillance state!
They will come for you
America is NOT immune to radicalism and domestic terrorism. Just as Syria and other parts of the world are burning in the fires of civil war and strife, America could easily follow suit. Compared to many other countries, we are very young and untried but only once. And that civil war is nothing compared to what might lay ahead. With a severely divided electorate, the rapidly increasing surveillance state, racism, religious bigotry, income inequality – just a few of the many problems that are far more of a threat to the safety and stability of our own part of the world than islamic terrorism – it can all go bad in an instant, and if it ever does, they will come for you. It is then that you will likely find yourself a refugee seeking a safe place to escape to, where liberty extends a welcoming hand to huddled masses yearning for freedom.