Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ghosts in the Halls of Power

Recent statements by Glenn Beck and others on the right of the current political spectrum have developed a theory that the small minority of extremist Islamists want to impose Sharia law on the US. The logical inconsistencies in these statements should be apparent. However, not everyone is persuaded by logic and often desire actions in lieu of words. History can provide some signposts to those who wish to understand what results come about when such views become accepted and acted upon.
The following is from a teacher at West Point, Adam L. Silverman. I do not know what his political ideology is. ...
However, it is obvious to me that his understanding of history is quite perceptive and sincere. In the parlance of the day, he has "internalized" the meaning of history, and he has thereby seen what effects bigotry and unwarranted prejudice can have.
Put plain and simply what we are seeing now is nothing more than the great American nativist tradition of picking on identifiable ethno-national and ethno-religious minorities.  In 1785, and throughout the next two centuries, this was directed against American Catholics.  It is important to remember that the original objection to building a house of worship in NY City was directed against what would become St. Peter’s Church.  It was directed at the early Baptists by the Puritans in CT, which instigated their letter of appeal to Thomas Jefferson and his response, in which one finds the reference to the establishment of a high wall of separation of Church and State.[6]  And it was directed at American Jews, as well, ultimately leading to some terrible atrocities such as the extra-judicial murder/lynching of Leo Frank and the 1958 bombing of a synagogue in Atlanta.  Many other traditions and religions have seen equally horrific xenophobia directed their way as well.  The blatant racism, Islamaphobia, and hysterical, hyperbolic hostility that is manifesting against the construction of mosques, Muslim community centers, which is what the Park 51 Center actually is, and Muslims in America as evidenced in these ridiculous attempts to legislatively solve a problem that does not exist, not to mention actual violence, makes all Americans look stupid, and puts the truth to the lies that are spread by the bin Ladens and Zawahiris and al Awlakis of the world that the US is hostile to Islam and indiscriminately makes war on Muslims.  As Americans we are supposed to be better than this.

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