Glenn Greenwald wrote an important reminder for all of us, Donald Trump’s “Ban Muslims” Proposal Is Wildly Dangerous but Not Far Outside the US Mainstream. This should not come as a shock to anyone. Everywhere in Republican presidential field you see this kind of thing. I was shocked when Jeb Bush suggested that we only allow Christian refugees into the country. And that is part of a widely held view among Republicans that America is a Christian nation — an idea that is so far removed from reality to be offensive.
I understand that people are freaked out. But I don’t exactly “get” it. A couple of Muslims killed a bunch of people and now much of the nation is on tilt. Suddenly, “Something must be done!” If 2 December 2015 was like most days, there were about 30 other gun murders in the nation. Bad things happen. People murder. When a Latino murders someone, do we start talking limiting immigration? No. But when it comes to Muslims, hatred and fear is quite socially acceptable. And so talking nonsense about making major changes to the country to combat what is a minor issue at this point makes no sense.
Clearly, mass shootings generally are an important issue. I would like to see something done to stop them. But I don’t know of any mainstream politician who is talking about anything that would actually do much. However, there is nothing even approaching the kind of carnage that the UK saw during The Troubles. Of course, we know that the Republicans are crazy. The problem is that it isn’t just them.
Yes, these are foolish people. They are so in the tradition of the founding of this country onward. Very foolish! I understand that the murder of 14 people is tragic. But it is hardly the clash of civilizations. It does not suggest that we change our way of life and start shutting down parts of the internet. This is what the Chinese government and other autocracies do. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” The truth is, it isn’t even about what they deserve; they won’t get the safety that is supposed to come with the loss of liberty.
But last week, Hillary Clinton talked about the same thing. And here’s what she said:
So other than the fact that she has some clue the issue might be “complicated” because, you know, the Constitution and all, how is that different from what Trump said?
In the “war on terror,” the US seems very much like a meth addict complaining that she isn’t getting any sleep. Implied in both Trump and Clinton’s comments is this idea, “We keep killing Muslims, and yet more just keep coming.” Maybe our strategy is wrong. Maybe rather than adding the destruction of the First Amendment to our weapons, we could do something that might work. Then again, what do I know? Maybe that meth addict just needs a strong cup of coffee in order to get a good night’s sleep.