Shameful Inhumanity

In the news the past few days:

• Fire at California Mosque was Intentionally Set in Possible Hate Crime (NBC News 12-11-2015)
• Two Muslim Women Attacked in Tampa (The Express Tribune 12-12-2015)
• Pig’s Head Left at Philadelphia Mosque (CNN 12-09-2015)
• Armed “Patriots” Turn Protests Toward Muslim Americans (Associated Press 12-11-2015)
• The Alabama KKK is Recruiting to “Fight the Spread of Islam” (International Business Times 12-05-2015)
• Passenger Rants About Islamic State Before Shooting Muslim Taxi Driver in Back (The Washington Post 11-30-2015)
• Muslim Student Upset After Gwinnett Teacher Asks If She Has A Bomb (Atlanta Journal-Constitution 12-11-2015)

The list goes on, but you get the picture. This, my friends, is the environment that the rhetoric by the political right wing and the media has created. I hang my head in shame at being a part of the human race tonight.

I have always thought the First Amendment guaranteeing the right to freedom of speech, freedom of press was a good idea … a great idea, even. Now? I’m not so sure. I am coming to view this “right” in much the same way I view the 2nd Amendment “right” to bear arms … it is a right that is so often abused that perhaps it should no longer be a right. I think the framers of the Constitution were operating under the false assumption that citizens of the U.S. would use their rights to make this a better nation, to promote the idea that “all men are created equal”, to lead us to “truth and justice” and would exercise at least a modicum of humanity and common sense. But alas, that was some 225 years ago and much has changed since then. My fear is that the sampling of incidents listed above is merely the beginning of what may become a horrible trend in this nation during the coming year. I blame the gaggle of presidential wanna-be’s certainly, but primarily Donald Trump who has put forth one and only one policy platform, and that is one based on extreme bigotry toward Mexicans and Muslims. Even more, I blame the media for the feeding frenzy. Journalists have a job to do, which is to keep the public informed of the things they need to know. That does not mean that their job is to stir and incite hatred by producing 24-hour news showing a single candidate over and over and over again screaming about how we must hate people based solely on their religion. And even more than the “mainstream” media, I blame the “social media”. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have done nothing but magnify the rhetoric far out of proportion, magnify the lies put forth by the politicians, and incite some to extreme violence.

Yet there is still more blame to go around. Does anybody reading this (if anybody is) actually think that committing hate crimes against our Muslim community is okay? Probably not, as most of my followers are pretty reasonable people, but if anybody reading this thinks this hatred is okay … please let me know how you justify that … I am really curious. The bulk of the blame, my friends, is on us. The politicians can rant, and the press can and does exercise poor judgement along with their 1st Amendment rights, but if we use our own minds and let our consciences guide us, we will understand that this is not the right thing to do. There is not a single word in the U.S. Constitution that gives us a right to attack anyone based on their religion. There is no law on the books that gives us the right to set fire to a religious building or to shoot an innocent citizen. Does anybody remember the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963? Is this any different? Did we, as a nation, learn absolutely nothing in the past 50+ years? Many of the regular followers of this blog reside on the other side of the globe, and they are always amazed at how violent the U.S. has become, how lax our policies on increasingly-lethal weapons, and how we turn a blind eye to it all. The real problem, as I see it, is that we no longer take the time and effort to read, to dig for facts, and then to use our own brains to think for ourselves. Apparently it is much easier to troll social media sites for memes that put forth the opinions of others, then take those opinions as our own. Apparently rather than dust the cobwebs off of our own brains, we prefer to be followers, always believing what somebody else tells us we ought to believe. So yes, there is plenty of blame to go around, but ultimately the buck stops here … on my shoulders and on yours.