Calhoun’s Can(n)ons for March 11, 2011
Are you now or have you ever been . . . .?
The ghost of Joe McCarthy is now haunting the halls of Congress again. This time, under the guise of a “hearing” to determine the extent of just how dangerous and disloyal American Muslims are and just how terrorist-filled their mosques are. The hearing is being run by Congressman Peter King, a Republican, at a time when the GOP has degenerated into a party that even conservative columnist George Will has accused of generating vibes of weirdness, so holding hearings on “Muslims” in a poisonously radicalized country like America while claiming you’re just after the facts, Ma’m, is ingenuous at best, malicious at worse. Dealing with the issue of targeting and recruiting young, disaffected, radicalized American Muslims to serve as foot soldiers for Al Qaeda is a job now being dealt with very well by local law enforcement in cooperation with the Muslim community. So what we’ll have with King’s committee, (which has the full blessing of Speaker of the House, John Boehner, so it isn’t like King is some kind of weird-vibed wacko running off the rez,) will be mostly a piece of Republican Political Theatre, a movie-trailer intended to feed the base and keep them riled up and ready for the 2012 election.
And I have no doubt that like the ginned up fake Ground Zero Mosque controversy, we’ll see a whole new round of hoiked-up up Islamaphobia. Which is all red meat for the GOP base --dog-whistle language of the uninformed, the fear-filled, the “birthers,” the AstroTurfed dupes who live in terror that Sharia Law is coming to their town and some Mexican-looking guy in a turban will go all hijab on their asses.
And if this little piece of political theatre results in generating more fear resulting in further scaring and alienating Muslim Americans, well, no matter. The 2012 election takes precedence over any long-term harm done to our social fabric. Social fabric, even our basic core beliefs are of no use in these Joe McCarthy hard times. Instead, the winning strategy for 2012 to keep fear alive, divide neighbor from neighbor, the have-less from the have-nothings, and make clear the battle lines are between Us (white, Christian) and Them (non-white, non-Christian, those not-really Americans du jours who have taken our Country away from us). Dog whistle music.
Mr. King claims that his hearings will be very informative and will educate the public. If that’s really his intent, then what Mr. King should be doing is broadcasting a National Education Workshop, a series of informative lectures about the history and basic belief systems of the world’s great religions. As it is, Americans are woefully uninformed on even the most basic principles of their own religion and disgracefully ignorant about other faiths. This lack of accurate information is what allows otherwise good people to behave so badly when the weirdness-vibe fear-mongers come to town.
Mr. King also claims that his hearings will focus on “terrorism.” If that’s really the topic, then shall we expect Mr. King to move onto hearings focused on Mexican Americans since narco-terrorists are recruiting young, disaffected Mexican American youth to go to work for their lucrative drug cartels? True, the narco-terrorists represent a lucrative business opportunity for American gun manufacturers, but they also are busy terrorizing American tourists, so surely Mr. King would want to next target the Mexican community and get some informative, educational answers?
No? Well, surely Mr. King will next target “Catholics” to find out why they are recruiting and sheltering dangerous pedophile priests in their midst? In Philadelphia alone, 21 priests were just suspended following a grand jury investigation. Surely, the Catholic community is a hot bed of radical clerics terrorizing children?
Then how about targeting the Irish? After all, King was good buddies with the IRA, a known terrorist organization. Surely he needs to investigate the threat from his old Irish terrorist pals?
But, no. Irish terrorists, Mexican mafia, Catholics, even home-grown Christian Militia groups don’t have the cache that Mr. King can get from “Muslims.” And so we enter our burning time -- A feverish country filled with fearful people who have forgotten what it means to be an American, a populace with bulls-eyes on their backs, their homes stolen, their jobs off-shored, good men and women who are turning ugly in their fear and ignorance as they begin to understand that they have no future, except to be targeted and fleeced by demagogues and scoundrels with books to sell and TV shows to flog.
Demagogues and scoundrels. Now there’s a terrorist group that really does need an investigative hearing.