Trump-ed Up Hysteria

In recent days, we have all encountered it on television and the internet. We are lectured by bombastic voices that all people holding the Islamic faith overseas should not be allowed to set foot in the U.S. (temporarily, of course, we are also dutifully informed by some) because it’s a religion that includes terrorists. At a single stroke, a billion people have all been decreed terrorists by faith association.

Screen capture of Twitter.
Screen capture of Twitter.

Yes, a tiny number of Muslims born in the U.S., and recent immigrants, have turned to a terrorism they claim they undertake in the name of Islam. Some of those have even moved abroad to join terror groups. I’m unaware of anyone in the U.S. government asserting that troubling issue should be ignored.

However, in proscribing ALL of their co-religionists abroad, by extension the relatively small number of our fellow U.S. citizens of that faith at home are also tarred with the same brush: they are all deemed suspect and dangerous because of their shared religion.

They are our friends, colleagues, doctors, and soldiers, and more. They might even also be – now, or perhaps in the future – a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife, too. Most live lives as ordinary as the rest of us.

And most of those shouting the loudest and trolling on social media about how hateful and terroristic they all must be, and how innately fearful and mistrusting we ought to be of the entire part of humanity that practices that faith, are of a predictable type. If it were pointed out to them that it will be THEIR dear friend or THEIR valued colleague who would not be admitted to the U.S., they would be among the first to cry out about a tyrannical state apparatus undermining the religious liberty bequeathed to us by the Founders. “Wait, uh, she’s okay,” they would declare. “Despotic government! I don’t mean her!”

But one suspects that probably wouldn’t happen all that much. Why not? Because you also suspect most of them do not know even a single Muslim as a friend – so small is that faith in the U.S. (Only 1 to 2 of every 100 Americans is a Muslim.) The ignorance runs so deep that some even confuse Islam with Sikhism.

That’s the mentality screaming the loudest on this matter: an obsession with the abstract. It’s never about flesh and blood people. And it’s a brushfire being fanned by demagoguery, pure and simple.

Screen capture of Twitter.
Screen capture of Twitter.

To our friends outside of the United States – especially of the Islamic faith – who may read this, reasonable people here (and that’s most of us) have no use for that ugly, ignorant attitude. Don’t allow the obnoxious and shrill voices you hear on your televisions and read quoted in your newspapers to give you a false impression of our national outlook as a whole.

The sheer gall especially of a self-aggrandizing bigoted billionaire “reality TV” host in particular in seeking to succeed to the office first held by our gentleman farmer and gracious general, George Washington. His showboating and vitriol, so unsettling, and even frightening, a segment of our U.S. populace. His despicable call, validating hatred of our fellow Americans.

How dare he.

I don’t know yet for whom I will vote for president next autumn, but I know now absolutely who I am NOT voting for.

And I am – I will reveal here, for the first time – a registered Republican.

He has made his prejudiced sales pitch loud and clear. And it is appalling. His views stand totally at odds with real people of that faith whom I have been privileged to have counted, and count, here and abroad, as among my friends – people I worked with for years; people who danced at my (Roman Catholic) wedding; people with whom I have even enjoyed wine (yes, really).

He’s fired.


NOTE: I’ve turned off comments on this post. If you don’t agree and want to write some “Trumpist” screed, do it on your own site. You aren’t entitled to a platform on mine.

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Author: โ€œConventions: The Garden At Paris,โ€ โ€œPassports,โ€ โ€œFrontiers,โ€ and โ€œDistances.โ€ British Airways frequent flier. Lover of the Catskill Mountains...and the 1700s. New novel of 1797-1805, "Tomorrow The Grace," due out in 2019.