A tragedy to avoid repeating

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

Got an email from a friend the other day – a friend who tries my patience on a regular basis with right wing B.S. from the Internet. He doesn’t originate it. He just “passes it on” like millions of other folk. Most of the time, I hit “delete” and go on about my business.

But this one got through. And I can still feel anger clear to the bottom of my old feet.

This latest spurious screed was meant to instantly alarm all who received it that “Obama appoints two devout Muslims to Homeland Security posts.” One of the reactions this specious piece of crap was supposed to stir up was “My God, we’ve got Muslims in key government places.” The other – as so many of them have been the last several years – was to perpetuate “I-hate-Obama-no-matter-what-he-does-because-he’s-not-really-our-president-and-just-look-at-what-he’s-done-now!”

Funny, those are not the reactions such garbage creates in me. Or, most others I know. No, we feel revulsion. Disappointment. Shame. Anger. Emotions you feel when someone of otherwise obvious intelligence does something really stupid and really hateful without thinking.

The gist of this phony alarmist missive was that two men of Muslim heritage and faith had been appointed to key jobs in the Department of Homeland Security. Kareem Shora – born in Damascus, Syria, and Exec. Director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee – is now a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council. The other fella, Arif Alikhan, son of Pakistani immigrants and a seven year federal prosecutor in California – then Los Angeles Deputy Mayor of Homeland Security since 2006 – is now Asst. Secretary for Policy Development for Janet Napolitano.

At this point, I could take several paragraphs to describe educational and professional accomplishments of both men. Suffice to say, they’re two excellent examples of citizenship, educational and personal achievement who’ve made outstanding contributions to the old U.S. of A. in many ways.

The email from my friend charged – among other things – “Devout Muslims being appointed to critical Homeland Security positions? Was it not men of the “Devout Muslim Faith” that flew planes into U.S. buildings not too long ago? What the heck is this president thinking?”

Well, for openers, I’d guess the president was “thinking” nothing about these appointments made by a cabinet secretary with the power to do so. I honestly doubt the thousands of appointments made by cabinet secretaries cross his desk. And, if he did “think” about it, he probably told the Homeland Security Secretary “good job.”

No, the real purpose of this email was to inflame. It was meant to criticize a president – of mixed race – that the originator of this crap hates and can’t accept as a twice duly-elected head of this country. It was meant to ridicule, anger and divide. It’s been passed on millions of times. By people of little to no real intelligence.

Thousands of people – if not millions – are trying to create – then perpetuate – an anti-Muslim fever in our land. They want the rest of us to join them in their mental cesspool of racism, fear and ignorance. As we did in 1942. 1942? Yes, 1942. That was the year Idaho’s Senator Borah and others whipped the then-ignorant, racist, supremacist fury against Americans of Japanese ancestry. They pounded the drums of “true Americanism” and told us these innocents – most of whom were born in this country – were “seditionists who would attack us in our homes on orders from Japan.” They would “murder us in our beds.”

So, we rounded them all up – especially in the West – and herded them into “internment camps.” Prisons, actually, with barbed wire and armed guards to make sure they stayed there so Emperor Hirohito couldn’t order them to kill us. It brought the greatest shame to this country in the last 250 years. Racist. Ignorant. Crowd-lust appealing to our lowest instincts.

I lived through that Japanese-American tragedy. I had little friends literally carried kicking and screaming out of my grade school classroom by armed men. I can still see the sight and hear the screams. It was terrifying. It was racist to the core. It was national ignorance. It was a national disgrace. And it was WRONG!

Now, several generations later, the voices of hate are being heard again. We’re being told to fear all things Muslim – to not trust them – to disperse them – to separate them from the rest of us “Amuricuns.” Spelling deliberate.

That email this week from my friend was “exhibit A.” It was meant to undermine the president while attempting to create fear and loathing for an entire group of Americans. Other Americans. The intent was not hidden. Nor were the racial messages. Fear. Suspicion. Distrust. Anger. Hate.

We cannot – we MUST not – go back to that time of national disgrace because of a few idiots trying to stampede the rest of us. We need to hit the “delete” button more often. I know I will.

Oh, one more thing. Those two Muslim-Americans named in that “urgent” and hateful email? The ones now in positions of authority at Homeland Security? The official appointments that pose a great danger to us all? Mr. Shora was appointed June 5, 2009, and Mr. Alikhan’s was effective April, 2009. Four years ago! That’s how long that garbage has been on the I-net!

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One Comment

  1. idahokid said:

    I think Senator Borah died in 1940. Perhaps you are thinking of someone else.

    February 11, 2013

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