However, the rightwingers immediately began clamoring for profiling based on ethnicity and religion...and sometimes even because of names. Radio host Mike Gallagher (ugh...wingtard) said, “There should be a separate line to scrutinize anybody with the name Abdul or Ahmed or Mohammed.” New York Congressman Peter King said, “100 percent of the Islamic terrorists are Muslim, and that is our main enemy today. So why we should not be profiling people because of their religion?” [italics mine] My personal favorite comes from Newt Gingrich, who called for ethnic profiling and wrote:
Today, because our elites fear politically incorrect honesty, they believe that it is better to harass the innocent, delay the harmless, and risk the lives of every American than to do the obvious, the effective, and the necessary.
I just love how they toss the word "elite" around as an epithet. It's so cute.
Such profiling only serves to alienate an entire group of people, it's dangerous, and it's stupid. It's stupid because then you'd be leaving out people like Timothy McVeigh and Ted Kaczynski. Those guys blew shit up and killed people and amazingly enough, they were white (and although I don't know if they identified themselves as Christians, I'm certain they didn't consider themselves Muslim).
Why is it dangerous? Do we really want to walk down that pathway? The one where we target a specific group and create enmity and distrust against all who belong to it? The one that creates hatred because of someone's skin color, religion, or what we perceive as a "funny name?" I'm talking about the pathway that led to Japanese internment camps during World War II, right here in our own country. At the risk of Godwinning myself, it is also the pathway that led to the Final Solution and six million dead Jews.
I was discussing this with a friend online the other day, and while I agree that we need to do what we can in order to stop such terrorist attempts, there is a very fine line between safety and respect for other cultures and religions. You can't just target someone because of their religion! That goes against everything we stand for as a country. I speculated above as to whether or not Timothy McVeigh called himself a Christian. If he did, how do you think it would have gone over to have people calling for the heightened scrutiny of anyone who designates themselves as Christian, based on the actions of one disenfranchised lunatic? If you call yourself a Christian, how would you appreciate going into any federal building in your city and being directed to a different line for special screening?
I'm guessing you wouldn't care for it too much, and would probably start raising holy hell (so to speak) about being persecuted for your religious beliefs. That is exactly what these fucktards are wanting to do to an entire group of people. If you don't speak out against it, there may come a time when someone really tries to do it to you, and you can believe that I would speak out against that, too. The internment of Japanese-Americans in the 40's is roundly condemned now. My friend noted that there were probably one or two saboteurs among those who were rounded up. I agreed, said I wouldn't doubt it...but that is no justification for removing an entire ethnic group (or religious group) from their homes and confining them to a camp. We must learn from the mistakes of our past and not repeat them. (By the way, I think we mostly agreed on this issue. It was just a matter of playing devil's advocate.)
On a related note, I watched "District 9" last night, and found it very pertinent to this discussion. I won't give anything away, but it involved a spaceship full of aliens basically stalling out over Johannesburg, and their subsequent treatment at the hands of humans. It was a classic science fiction theme, in which the aliens are immediately distrusted and despised because of their "otherness." (Also a very interesting take on the theme, because of the Johannesburg setting. I recommend the movie highly. Some cool Brundlefly moments, too.) I keep hoping that someday the xenophobia will fade, but we seem to have a penchant for hating anyone and anything that is different from us. Klaatu barada nikto, my ass. I'm guessing most people would want to shoot first and ask questions later.
Different is not bad. It's just different. Sometimes you can manage to learn a few things if you can get past your fear and distrust. My cousin was married to a Japanese woman for several years. His father (my uncle, a member of the WWII generation) hated her because the Japanese were still the enemy, even years later. I spent time with them, had a wonderful time learning about her culture, was pen pals with her niece in Japan for a while, and learned to love Sukiyaki, even dipping the meat and vegetables into raw egg yolk. For a small town junior high girl, it was eye-opening, fascinating, and made me want to learn more about other people and cultures in the world.
Our planet is not Americacentric, you know. I believe we do important things (at least when we're led by someone other than a low-wattage bulb), but there are a lot more non-Christians than Christians, non-whites than Caucasians, and I question the self-righteous superiority of those who would call for profiling based on the fact that there are people who look or believe differently from some of us. I don't question the need to track terrorist activity or to screen more thoroughly at airports. Hey, bring it on. Screen everybody. I'll stand in front of one of those full-body scanners and show you my hoo-ha. I'll let Bruno the Bombsniffing Dog have a sniff at my crotch. But don't target a group because of the way they look, how they believe, or because you don't care for their name.
We can't operate that way. It's wrong. It's just...wrong.