Next week, Cal Thomas just lambasts the entire Bill of Rights
Like Atrios, I feel both surprised that Cal Thomas went there and sadly ashamed that I was surprised. And by “there”, I mean that Thomas has gone ahead and come out against the First Amendment.
We are doing a poor job of fighting the terrorists at home if we continue to allow Muslim immigrants, especially from Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, into America. We won’t win this war if we permit the uncontrolled construction of mosques, as well as Islamic schools, some of which already have sown the seeds from which future terrorists will be cultivated. We won’t win this war if we continue to permit the large-scale conversion to Islam of prison inmates, many of whom become radicalized and upon release enlist in al-Qaida’s army.
He then suggests that we model ourselves after Syria when it comes to monitoring imams and Muslim congregations. No word, of course, on whether or not we should extend that surveillance to Christians, even though Christian terrorists are an ongoing problem. Ask any abortion provider.
Of course, because some moron will inevitably accuse me of wanting to monitor all Christians, I am not saying that. It’s a violation of basic human rights and not a good use of limited resources to monitor everyone. Which is to say that Thomas manages, in a couple of paragraphs, to come out against the Fourth Amendment that protects against unwarranted search and seizure, as well as the First Amendment, that protects the freedom of religion. My point is simply to draw attention to the wild double standard here. Thomas would revolt if you proposed putting the same restrictions on Christians that he would have put on Muslims. Which means, once again, that he and people like him are motivated by delineating who is and isn’t a “real” American, and only extending rights to those people who pass their arbitrary, unconstitutional standards.
I also want to draw attention to how unabashedly fascist Thomas is, in his use of the term “purging” to describe his proposal to scrub Muslims and presumed Muslims out of our society through immigration restrictions, harassment, preventing prisoners to convert, and disallowing Muslims to build houses of worship. If you suggested that Muslims be pushed into ghettos and had their movements controlled through the use of a badge system, I have little doubt that Thomas and his buddies would be all over that, too. Of course, we had idiots showing up in comments here and claiming that Islam is an “ideology” and so the concerns about racism are misplaced, as if restricting people’s basic human rights based on a cultural/religious/ethnic identity is so easily bracketed off from previous and similar assaults on Jews, African-Americans, the Irish, etc. If you don’t think so, ask yourself this: How do you think Thomas and his buddies intend to tell who is Muslim and who isn’t? Do you think that someone who, like Barack Obama, had a Muslim parent but isn’t Muslim himself would count? What about someone who isn’t really faithful, but does participate in family occasions and holidays? What about people who hail from predominantly Muslim countries but aren’t Muslim? The haters have already made it clear that they don’t distinguish between Al Qaeda and a thoroughly integrated Muslim community center like Park 51, and if anything, they find the latter more threatening because it exposes the lie that is their black and white worldview. This is about creating an “us” and a “them”, and then scapegoating the “them”. Truth and basic decency get in the way of that project.
By the way, if it wasn’t true before, it’s now true that the word “balance” has come to mean “right wing propaganda”. A Maine newspaper ran a fairly pedestrian story about the end of Ramadan on September 11th, and the date gave the bigots their in for freaking out. And the paper apologized for not having “balance”. What do they mean by “balance”? If you show Muslims doing things that threaten to make readers ponder the possibility that they’re human beings, are you obliged to balance that with a story declaring that they aren’t human beings?
This just reinforces the theory that what is really sending wingnuts around the bend is the understanding that the vast majority of Muslims aren’t terrorists. They’re harder to scapegoat if the majority of Americans realize that they’re not scary, monstrous, or even particularly different. And it’s clear that it’s really, really important to wingnut America that Muslims are available as scapegoats. So any story that is humanizing or informative causes the wingnuts to lose their shit.