Tuesday, January 23, 2018

U.S. is not blameless for terrorists and dictators

With due sympathy for the victims in Paris, we should remember that our own role in the world fear includes support for terrorists and dictators. Our one-time ally Saddam Hussein, American continuing support for Israeli persecution of Palestinians, backing Hosni Mubarak’s regime, furnishing the last Shah of Iran with expertise in interrogation techniques (as if he needed it), the Muslim world remembers both the injustices and the country - which while proclaiming human rights and freedom from fear, backed – and continues to support – tyrants of all flavors.
The French themselves are hardly blameless for their troubles. Decades of discrimination against the North African Muslims laboring in French factories and yet live in substandard housing have produced an underclass of frustrated immigrants willing to kick back at the hand that allowed them in for a life of insidious intimidation and poverty.
I fear for the next election – perhaps any election. Given the lack of an educated electorate, how can democracy survive in the complex and fast changing world in which we live?
A recent internet report about a Purdue University classroom in which students were discussing the qualifications to be president of the United States was pretty simple. The candidate must be a natural born citizen of at least 35 years of age.
One girl in the class immediately started in on how unfair it was of the requirement to be a natural born citizen. Her opinion was that this requirement prevented many capable individuals from becoming president. The class was hardly listening but no one objected when she wrapped up her argument stating, “What makes a natural born citizen any more qualified to lead this country than one born by C-section?”
Yep! These are the same people that  are now voting in our elections! They breed, and they walk among us, we need more help than we thought.
We now hear our conservative presidential candidates - and even our governors - spouting the politics of fear. Fortunately, Gov. Steve Bullock, after issuing a statement announcing his intention to ban Syrian refugees from Montana, realized that neither states cannot constitutionally do such a thing, and issued a welcome retraction.
Political opportunists – often Republican but also including a few desperate Democrats are fond of empty political gestures. It’s so much easier to blame than to be responsible in a land where almost all of us are the children of immigrants. Meanwhile Congress itself sits on the fence blaming the administration yet afraid to fulfill their constitutional responsibility to declare war on the Islamic State. Congressmen obviously find it easier to criticize than take an unpopular stand themselves.
There are worse things than allowing the huddled masses to live freely and benefit the country which took them out of fear more deadly than our own trumped up political rhetoric. With one out of five Americans speaking a foreign language, fear-mongering is a greater threat to our safety and fairness.
Dave Grimland
Columbus