Posts Tagged ‘Islamophobia’

I watched the Republican debate the other night and I have one observation. With the exception of 2 candidates (Bush and Paul) every other Republican candidate appears to condone killing civilians in what the Geneva Conventions clearly denote as war crimes.

Perhaps the guys were just on TV to look tough, and a couple of the questions were so loaded that they elicited well deserved boos, but the majority of the Republican candidates appear to have said that they will willingly commit war crimes to protect the American people.

  • The great Donald Trump wants to kill the families of terrorist and would be terrorists.
  • Ben Carson got a terribly biased moderator comment about killing thousands of civilians. But, loaded or not, he basically said “you bet”.
  • Chris Christie wants to start WWIII with Russia (but has now clarified that by saying we are already in WWIII with ISIS.)

Ted Cruz, who looks like a bad SNL skit when he says this, wants to “Carpet Bomb” ISIS. But he’s clear that he does not want to Carpet Bomb entire cities of neighborhoods, just “the places where ISIS is“. But he forgets one thing: Exactly where the fuck IS ISIS?

Mr. Cruz evidently does know that ISIS is not just a military entity but a political one. Not only are they IN the cities; the ARE the cities. So to condone “Carpet Bombing” (which is nothing more than indiscriminate bombing that could never be a military option under the Geneva Conventions has never been considered a viable American tactic for decades) means nothing more that killing civilians.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure this is just TV tough talk. But, still, every one of the Republican candidates who has any chance of winning the nomination, stood before millions of television viewers, looked straight into a camera, and said “I will protect you and I will commit the war crimes of civilian murder to do it”.

Here we have some of America’s finest values in a state of utter corruption. American exceptionalism is alive and well. I am a strong believer in American exceptionalism. It’s just that I always though it was about out political structure not our humanity. It’s good to know that the final Republican contender, whoever he or she is, will look out for Americans: Not because our country is great but because they think that an American life is worth 1000s of the lives of anyone else, even if it means committing atrocities.

If you think it can’t happen here, think again.

 

This morning, as I was driving in to work, I was listening to Donald Trump supporters who were explaining why they agree with The Donald that we should ban all Muslims from entering the US. Some of these supporters were surprisingly articulate. For example, one guy’s response was:

  • ” ‘Cuz I don’ like ’em here”.

Another great response was:

  • “I’m scared and we gotta pertect Americans.”

Now, those are some rock solid debaters if ever I’ve seen one.

You may think I’m being biased when I quote people with an IQ of 16 but I’m not. Clearly, there are some intelligent people who have equally inane ideas. The problem comes when you put them all into a crowd where they are mutually supportive and where, in turn, they generate energy. That energy gives the leader greater and greater power. So, like we saw in Nazi Germany, or in Darfur, or at any political rally no mater who is speaking, crows give leaders power.

That is why I want to encourage everyone I know to read Elias Canetti’s seminal book “Crowds and Power“. Even right after the Holocaust, Canetti knew we could bring ourselves to extinction. He said:

  • “There is no doubt: the study of man is just beginning, at the same time that his end is in sight.”

He knew we could likely do it through war but that we always would need an invented enemy:

  • “Rulers who want to unleash war know very well that they must procure or invent a first victim.”

He seems to have even known that Donald Trump was coming when he said:

  • “The paranoiac is the exact image of the ruler. The only difference is their position in the world. One might even think the paranoiac the more impressive of the two because he is sufficient unto himself and cannot be shaken by failure.”

Canetti knew, way back then, that all Trump would need to do is to create fear by selecting an “enemy” that most of us don’t understand:

  • “There is nothing that man fears more than the touch of the unknown.”

And, of course, he knew what would happen if Mr. Trump spewed his nasty rhetoric in front of a large group:

  • “As soon as a man has surrendered himself to the crowd, he ceases to fear its touch. Ideally, all are equal there: no distinctions count, not even that of sex. That man pressed against him is the same as himself. He feels him as he feels himself. Suddenly, it is as though everything were happening in one and the same body.”

He certainly knew that the key to gaining power would be fear:

  • “All the distance which men place around themselves are dictated by this fear.”

And…. unquestionably the great Canetti knew that we have no longer any reason to believe that we have some divinely ordained right to even continue on. He observed:

  • “The planet’s survival has become so uncertain that any effort, any thought that presupposes an assured future amounts to a mad gamble.”

But, perhaps most amazing of all is that Canetti knew exactly what Mr. Trump needed to do to gain ever greater power. Knowing that a man like Trump gained the most from being continually in the press he said:

  • “Success is the space one occupies in the newspaper. Success is one day’s insolence.”

I’m giving you all these Canetti quotes because “Crowds and Power” is, perhaps, even more important now than it was after WWII. You see, for every person who is intelligent enough to rationally reason about political issues, engaged enough to make decisions based on data, concerned enough to look beyond their own small communities, and compassionate enough to see people who they don’t understand as a part of the rich fabric of humanity, there are dozens of people who don’t care, don’t pay attention, don’t see beyond their micro-worlds, don’t think, or are simply too stupid to understand that a threat to others is a threat to themselves. Put all the latter types into a room with Donald Trump and soon they will be cheering for laws against Muslims.

I hope you know where that path leads! It leads to religious laws, then racial laws, then explicit discrimination, then perhaps internment camps, and then…. I dare not say it.

Will all the people who support the coming tragedy be evil? Of course not. What they will be is part of an out-of-control machine that will be heading down a slippery slope with no breaks. We can’t let that happen.

Please people: Read Canetti!

If you think it can’t happen here, think again.

 

 

 

 

130 people were killed, and hundreds more wounded, in the horrific attacks in Paris. At least 19 people died when murders in the guise of “religious” zealots attacked a hotel in Mali. Yesterday Belgum went to its highest threat level and warned its people not to congregate. It seems that many people think that simply saying “Allahu Akbar” before murdering people in cold blood, absolves all the sin of taking a life. That is horrific, criminal, sinful, and, in a word, immoral. These people are acting out their psychoses in the name of God; using God as no more than an excuse: it’s intolerable.

But, I tell you from experience that this is NOT a trait of Islam and that Muslims are not de facto murderers. The problem is that a tiny fraction of a billion people is still a lot of whackos. Yet, to fear Islam and to act our violently or prejudicially against law-abiding, everyday Muslims is also tragic.

Yesterday, presidential candidate Donald Trump advocated (or perhaps simply did not dispute) the idea of a national registry for Muslims. As horrible as the psychopaths are, who murder Parisians and storm hotels yelling Allahu Akbar, the idea of a national registry is equally reprehensible. 

We are not Nazis. We need no Muslim version of the Nuremburg laws. We are a nation that must respect religious diversity. There is no other choice if the United States wants to remain a beacon of Liberty. No other choice!

Do you want to know when the hate-filled, radical, Islamic psychopaths are winning the war against the west? It’s when even a fraction of one percent of the American people think it’s okay to do to Muslims what the Nazis did to the Jews with the Nuremburg laws. 

I personally don’t care how many of the insane nutcases die or kill themselves in the name of 70 virgins, the hidden Iman, or an eschatology of golden paved streets of Islamic glory. I do care when they take other human life with them. I do care that the don’t respect every individual human soul. I do care when they are arbitrary. I do care about every dead human being and every grieving survivor.

But, as I care about each of these individuals, I also remember that they ARE INDIVIDUALS; and our American society must stand up for the value of every individual. We can’t do that when we allow a presidential candidate to advocate for government registries.

Do you want to know when the hate-filled, radical, Islamic psychopaths are winning the war against the west? It’s right now. It’s when we are scared enough to sacrifice our foundational value of universal Liberty by treating an entire group of people as our enemy. 

Let’s put the Trumpian bullshit to bed, never succumb to the fear they want us to feel, and never let the  motherfuckers win.