Does Congressman Peter King think he's living in 1950? It sure seems like he does, given the completely Islamophobic, Joseph McCarthy-esque Muslim radicalization hearings he's been holding. Just like Joe McCarthy was consumed with Communism and pointed fingers at many innocent people who had absolutely no part in bringing down democracy, King is targeting Muslim Americans, claiming that we need to be wary of their interest in killing all of us with suicide bombings.
I seriously cannot believe that this is happening today, in the year 2011. That such bigotry and ignorant hatred is being taken seriously in CONGRESS. I could understand if King was just some crackpot guy sittin' out on his porch with a beer, railing out to his buddies about "them crazy terrorists." That would still, of course, be disheartening -- but to see it validated on a national level is just insanity. If this isn't clearly about bigotry, then what exactly is he afraid of?
Ashwin Madia, Interim Chairman of VoteVets.org, wrote a piece today in The Huffington Post, beautifully summing up what is so "off" about King's arguments ...
Now, there is no doubt that extremists who pervert the message of Islam present a threat to our security, and we need to continue to keep on top of them. Those who are protesting Peter King's hearings aren't saying we should be naïve about the threats we face - and any argument to the contrary is laughable.
But, Madia argues, and I agree, King's RED ALERT is totally misguided. When are ignorant, close-minded people like King going to realize that extremist and Muslim are not synonymous? Or that, similarly, extremists come in all races and religions. How about White Supremacists? Neo-Nazis? Extreme born again Christians who blow up abortion clinics? Why aren't we worried about them, too?
I'd agree with many pundits that this is just a circus act, a publicity stunt, a show by King and others in his party who want to show their Islamophobic, witch hunt-hungry constituents that they're doin' what they were sent to Washington to do! That they're not "soft" on terrorism. That they're gonna be super-patriotic and "protect" America ... by condemning all Americans who happen to be Muslim. I also think that to some extent, that's what Joe McCarthy intended to do when he lead the Red Scare. Show the USSR that we're not gonna tolerate any of that Communist mishigas! As outrageous and sick as it is, it seems like the motivations for a hate campaign turn out to actually be quite simplistic, e.g. "Let's show DA BAD GUYZ we've got cajones!!! Rrrrr!"
But, King might want to take a tip from McCarthy, because it's unlikely he's going to succeed in much at all. Except maybe at making a fool of himself by attempting to take this country back ... you know, back a century or more!
What do you think about Peter King's hearings?
Image via longislandwins/Flickr