With all the horrors happening in the world – Paris and Mali to name but two – the last thing anyone really wants to think about is the current American political scene. Unfortunately, we really can’t.
Undoubtedly, everyone’s heard the latest from the (still) Republican front-runner, Donald Trump. When he was asked what he’d do with Muslims in this country he said that they’d look at pretty much everything, and that includes issuing ID cards denoting that the bearers are Muslim. I don’t want to go into that too much, other than to say my first thought was ‘what next? Will we require them to wear a crescent armband?’ We shouldn’t be surprised by those asinine comments and ideas, nor should we be surprised that he’s not backing down from them either. In fact, he’s claiming the ideas weren’t his, but those of a reporter and that he was responding to the reporter’s questions.
All that’s true. He did respond to a reporter’s questions; actually, two separate reporters, one from Yahoo! Politics and the other an NBC reporter on a rope line at a “Trump event” (see the first link). The thing is, though, that he chose to respond the way he did; he didn’t think anything of saying in response ‘yes, let’s round ’em up and stick a giant “M” on their identification cards, be those driver’s licenses, general identification cards, passports, whatever.’ Those ideas were not the reporter’s; the reporters asked question that Trump chose to answer. Let’s not blame the reporters; the fault, dear Brutus, is with the star, Trump.
But all that aside, the reason I’m making this little note is because the local media here in my town asked people on the street what they thought of Trump’s comments. Rather than express shock, horror, dismay, or even simply sadness over the idea of forcing citizens to carry something saying they’re Muslim, sort of a religious scarlet letter, a couple of the people asked talked about the logistics.
Yup, that’s right. They questioned not the wisdom of the idea but the practicality and difficulty of carrying it out. And those sentiments are nationwide, too: 56% of Americans think Muslims’ values are at odds with Americans and the American way of life.
Am I missing something here? Is it not enough that we’re talking, and apparently seriously, about separating out other Americans for simply worshipping differently than the majority do? The problem for some isn’t that we’re talking about taking steps that the Nazis did prior to and during World War II, but rather how difficult it would be to carry out those plans? Or that we’re repeating how we treated the Japanese-Americans in World War II after Pearl Harbor?
Look, I get that we’re scared and worried about what might happen. That’s part and parcel of what terrorism is and intends: to put fear – terror, hence the name – into people. We should be more vigilant and not let down our guard, something we should have learned on 9/11/01. But our initial reaction shouldn’t be to punish those who’ve done nothing but pray 5 times/day, whose women wear head coverings (something that Orthodox Jewish and Amish women both do, by the way, and which Paul told Christian women to do, 1 Cor. 11:4-6) and who have the misfortune of nominally sharing a religion with others who are twisting the religion’s tenets for their own dastardly ends (do all Christians get blamed when their brethren behave foolishly, like the Phelps/Westboro Baptist Church clan?).
Donald Trump is no longer fun or funny to watch or listen to, if he ever was. He’s not entertaining, he’s dangerous. All Americans should reject his outrageous, outlandish, hateful, bigoted, stupid ideas. The problem is that his ideas are now relatively accepted, at least among the conservative set. So we hear folks talking about whether they can be practicably enforced, rather than rejected out of hand for the racist garbage that they are. The problem in the end is that we’re just setting ourselves up for another travesty like happened in World War II. Have we already forgotten how that that ended?