What the YouTube video also included were excerpts of speeches made by local politicians, who sanctioned the protesters and offered that they, too, as concerned Americans, felt the need to tell these people to go away.
What I watched most closely was the little Muslim children, clasping the hands of their parents, who stoically looked ahead and refused to dignify the protesters. What that image invoked in me was memories I had when little black children integrated schools as white protesters stood on the sidelines, again waving American flags, telling the little children “they didn’t belong.”
Not only did I remember that, but I also remember wondering how mothers could be included among those shouting those hateful things, and wondering why white people, who seemed to have everything, seemed to want to deny anybody who didn’t look like them even the rudiments of dignity.
These hearings being held by King seem cruel and manipulative. Cruel because no religion ought to be targeted like this and manipulative because King and other politicians know exactly how deeply uninformed so many people are and how, therefore, it is easy to lasso them into their lair of fear-based support.
At the end of the day, what does King hope to accomplish? What does he do with information he may garner from these hearings? Is there a plan in place, and if so, what is it? Is this attack on Muslim Americans a reproach of the United States Constitution, which is held so dear? Is it an attack on freedom of religion? Is there some inconsistency here with a government which allows or pushes for free speech, which allows a non-descript Baptist church to dishonor the funerals of gay service people by pointing to the right of free speech, yet sets an entirely different standard by allowing the United States government to attack one’s religion?
I think King is on shaky ground, but I also think that our government will allow it, and that makes me sad. I think the country would be much better served by joining with our Muslim brothers and sisters, rather than alienating them with antics of this sort. King’s call for hearings reinforces images many have of “the ugly American.”
Manufactured paranoia will not make us safer, Rep. King. In fact, this created and hate-fed paranoia will only make a bad situation worse.
Susan_K_Smith | Mar 11, 2011 4:43 PM