History Repeating

History Repeating

Well, going to war didn’t work the last time, so let’s try it again. What happened to the U.S. we grew to love? The country commonly referred to as the 'leader of the free world' was once a bastion of compassionate humanitarianism. Leading missions to rescue the oppressed, heal the afflicted, and feed the hungry.  Now, citizens young and old are relegated to fester in this desolate wasteland of hate and xenophobic propaganda. WE are better than this! 

Photo by: Jacquielynn Wolff, Founding Artistic and Executive Director of the Marco Island Shakespeare Festival.
Picture taken in Hamburg, Germany, St. George train station Sep. 20, 2015

Or…are we?

Are we not collectively being duped into hating an entire religion because of hateful rhetoric from a small group of agenda-driven politicians?  Have 21 governors not succumbed to the will of an uninformed frightened electorate? America, we are better than a group of hateful politicians pouncing on momentum gained from a terror attack.

As a nation, the United States has lost sight of its first welcome letter:

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”  These words forever synonymous with the Statue of Liberty – A gift from French allies commemorating our independence. A symbol of hope and freedom and new beginnings no longer represents hope or freedom or anything, really. For half of the United States has vowed to turn its back on Syria’s tired, poor, war ravaged refugees.

Pursuing favor through demagoguery of marginalized religion(s) is pathetic. This nation was founded on the premise that religious freedom would serve as the over-arching unifying standard. Proposals made by fringe Right-Wing politicians seeks only to divide. But rather than rebuke these sentiments, the division grows. Our willingness to accept hateful discriminatory practices has increased, rendering this land unidentifiable to those who internalize Lady Liberty’s call.

History teachers must be shaking their collective heads. With news of revitalized French bombardment of alleged ISIL strongholds, it appears history will repeat itself. What is the most critical lesson to learn from the September 11 attacks? The lesson is invading free nations out of blind rage to appease an angered citizenry is not in anyone’s best interest, especially the invading nation. Unless of course spending billions upon billions to fight illegal wars out of vengeance is worthwhile. Bloodlust has so consumed the psyche of most French nationals convincing them that mounting further military campaigns will prove more costly than beneficial, is impossible.

Twenty-five United States governors (and counting) have preyed on the ignorance of millions of U.S. citizens, persuading a belief that innocent Syrian refugees are somehow a threat. Reason dictates these fears are unfounded and based solely on fear and misinformation. If a would be terrorist intended to enter our shores, it would not be via airplane or cruise ship authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigations to perform an extensive battery of background tests. No, entry would most likely be sought through our vast northern border (often ignored in “build a wall” propaganda).

Why is the common mantra of “All Lives Matter” not playing a role in this Syrian Refugee discrimination fest? If the “All Lives Matter” contingent actually believed “ALL Lives Matter” that would extend to the lives of Syrian Refugees, and any other person seeking asylum from violent oppression. The United States vetting process for refugee entry is the most rigorous in the world, period! Any allegation to the contrary is false! Listening to the spin of cowardly governors justifying their un-American sentiments, gives the impression that President Obama is opening the floodgates and posting a giant sign on the White House lawn reading, “Come one, Come ALL.” This could not be further from the truth! The unambiguous goal of the administration is to provide temporary asylum to a few people who would likely be killed if not for this minor assistance.

Corrupt politicians driven by aspirations of reelection continue to offer misguided political solutions to a humanitarian crisis. The rush to demonize the Paris attackers has unfortunately led to Muslims getting caught in the crosshairs. It is unfair to expect every Muslim to denounce the actions of extremists who perpetrate evil in the name of Allah. Just as it would be to expect the 85% of Americans who self identify as Christians to denounce the Klan, Westboro Baptist or any of the weekly mass shooting terrorists. 

One fact should remain abundantly clear: Muslims did NOT perpetrate The Paris attacks on November 13, 2015. This reality has been lost on corporate media lately, so I will repeat: THE PARIS ATTACKS WERE NOT PERPETRATED BY MUSLIMS. No religion, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, or Islam teaches nor condones terror. Yet, EACH of those religions have observed radicals bastardize their faith by committing heinous acts in the name of the their respective deity. The following massacres were violent, terroristic demonstrations of alleged faith:

Terrorism in the name of Christianity
• Pope commissioned Crusades of the Middle Ages
• South Carolina Dylann Roof – Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church
• Atlanta, GA Eric Rudolph – Centennial Olympic Park Bombing

Terrorism in the name of Buddhism
• Burmese Bin Laden leading Monks on their own Crusade through Myanmar (Burma)

Terrorism in the name of Judaism
• Consistent Irgun attacks against Palestinian people
• Two decades of preemptive attacks in the U.S. by the Jewish Defense League (JDL) to thwart anti-Semitism

The fact is people with extremist inclinations are inherently motivated to hide their aggressions as religious mandates. Only simple-minded individuals believe their actions to be motivated by religion. Unlike Islam, we don’t punish the entire Christian religion for the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church, or KKK, or mass shooters. 

Two presidential candidates, Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz, expressed their support for administering a federal religious test for refugees. This notion should offend every United States citizen! The idea that people seeking the highest office in this country either have zero familiarity with the laws or worse, believe their religious convictions make them above the law.

Implying that believers in Islam are more violent or prone to committing acts of terror is an inaccurate, disingenuous, racist stereotype. Until Christians are prepared to own the brutal actions of the KKK, or lone wolf mass shooting terrorists, they should refrain from mischaracterizing Muslims as violent or prone to terror.

We are not that far removed from Japanese internment, McCarthy style witch hunts, Nazi genocidal mania or Jim Crow government promulgated segregation. History is for learning and advancing, not repeating.

Americans generally support threats to religious freedom, so long as that threat does not diminish their time of worship. Hypocrisy abounds in this ‘Land of the Free.’ The words in the Star Spangled Banner have no meaning in times of fear. We fear Asians. What result? Internment camps. Now the modern incarnation of that World War II atrocity. We fear Islam. What result? Label all Muslims terrorists or suspected terrorists and block their admission into the country. Land of the Free…so long as that land is occupied by Christians. Home of the brave…so long as the brave are willing to accept Jesus as their lord and savior. This rhetoric is embarrassing and antithetical to the American ideology of religious freedom.