I just saw a Facebook posting that said “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it; those who do know history are doomed to watch others repeat it.” I shared this quote on my own page, and it may be my final commentary on anything of a political/social/economic nature there. Nobody is listening. I have a sneaking suspicion that most people see me as an annoying know-it-all who has no common sense. They may be right. But not this time, this time I know I am right.
I read a speech by Newt Gingrich in which he argues that American Muslims (American citizens who follow the religion of Islam), should be required to take a test to determine if they believe in Sharia. If the answer is yes, then they are to be deported. First of all, even I believe in Shariah. I believe it is the law Muslims are to try their best to follow, and it’s been around since the beginning of the religion. To deny its existence would seem to be on the shady side of insane, so I guess I believe it exists. Secondly, where do we deport American citizens to? Thirdly, isn’t this illegal according to the law (Constitution) our Founders left for us?
Look, I know we are all freaked out by Islamic terror to some degree. I have two sons in the service, and a third may soon join them. They may be in the safest place when it comes to Islamic terror. Where do we go? What do we do? Islamic terror can and does strike innocent people engaging in the most mundane tasks. Why shouldn’t we be a little freaked out about it? At the same time, I KNOW that the Constitution was designed especially for people the majority of citizens want to turn on. Oh, yeah, there have been times when we’ve ignored the Constitution when we were afraid. We locked up suspected Confederate sympathizers during the Civil War, indefinitely. We locked up and/or deported suspected Communist sympathizers in the years following WW I. We forced a quarter-million Americans of Japanese descent into internment (concentration) camps during WW II. We persecuted, and often ruined the professions and lives, of suspected Communist sympathizers following WW II. We did all of these things in violation of the Constitution.
Give America credit, we usually, eventually, make it right. We apologize. We award reparations. We apologize some more. Maybe we let you have casinos on your land. We have a conscience, eventually. I’m sure we’d someday know we overreacted by rounding up and expelling American Muslims (to where?), and we’d feel bad about it. But why do we have to go down this road again? Why are we doomed to repeat? Even worse, why do we so often lash out against non-threats? America is the strongest, most powerful nation on earth. Capitalism works, Democracy works. Our system can survive the Civil War, slavery, Communism, Hitler and Tojo, and the age of McCarthy. We survived 9-11. I’m fairly certain we can survive the minute percentage of American Muslims trying to do us harm. What we can’t survive, forever, is the defenestration of the Constitution.
The problem is not that we did bad things in the past. We did and it would have been better off if we didn’t but we have no more power over our great-grandfathers than we have over our future great-grandchildren.
No, the real problem is that we have people in the here and now that say these things from a very large pulpit and, sadly, so many normal people have been deprived of their ability to think critically that it is OK by them.
I don’t like Islam. I don’t like most religion and I despise many of them, but criticizing a religion is very different from burdening every single believer with the sins of a few. That we glorify those that take the easy road, while knowing better (because I have to believe they do), is sad and dangerous.