Friday, March 11, 2011

King's Gambit

The last time common America had a consuming and infectious fear of anything was of Communism in the 1950’s and Senator Joseph McCarthy was the instigator.

McCarthy’s public rants and accusations turned out to be based on rumor, false statements, vendettas and slander. Innocent lives were altered and often ruined. It wasn’t until CBS and Edward R. Morrow on a series called See It Now presented a program on McCarthy that started America thinking.

The program itself did not bring McCarthy down; McCarthy did that himself.

Today it is no longer “Red Baiting” as it was in the 1950’s. Today it is “Muslim Baiting,” and it’s not a Senator, but a Congressman named Peter King from New York is the instigator.

He chairs the House Homeland Security Committee. He has entitled his hearings, “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response.”

The hearings are nothing but a testimony of polarizing fear. Pollsters have divided the “forers” and "aginers” into groups of differing opinions. Republicans and Democrats, young and old. Republicans and older Americans think we ought to be wary of Islam; Democrats and younger Americans do not.

There is so much more to this pervasive fear than the generalizations and percentages of pollsters. There are individual hates and prejudices for whatever reason that fester in the super patriotic hearts of many. There are the publicity seeking souls who will foster a fear for a different agenda and there is an underlying historic religious animosity between Christianity and Islam.

King’s hearings are too focused against one group. No wonder claims of McCarthyism have come to the fore. Homeland Security? Homeland Insecurity is more like it!

If the committee is going to hold hearing on security do so broadly. Drug Cartels are a threat to our internal security, where are those hearings? Oil Cartels are a threat to our internal security, where are those hearings? Corporate greed is a threat to our internal security and where are those hearings?

Islam as a religion and Muslims as practitioners are generally identifiable in look and practice. They are, therefore, an easy political target for a Congressman who wants to appease a constituency still trembling from the tragedy of 9/11.

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