You know what I don’t get? I don’t get why the Trump administration is hiding behind the smokescreen of “national security” on their travel ban.
I mean, I should say that I really do get it, but it’s kinda silly to me. Everyone knows that Trump ran on a platform that included banning travel into the United States from certain Muslim countries. Everyone also knows that Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and other key members of Trump’s team are strident Islamaphobes. There’s a segment of the conservative population that is convinced Barack Obama made ISIS stronger by not even using the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.”
So to deny that it’s a Muslim ban, and is instead just a travel restriction placed on people in certain countries we don’t quite trust completely is unmitigated bullshit.
Now, I’m a comedian and not a mathematician. But even I can do the math it takes to figure out that if you pick literally any arbitrary point in this country’s history and then add up all the Americans killed by gun violence from that point today and then compared the same statistic to those killed in terror attacks carried out by Muslims or refugees on American soil you’d find the numbers really aren’t even worth comparing.
More Americans have been killed by gunfire since JFK was assassinated than in all our wars combined. Don’t believe me? Ask the fact checkers at PolitiFact who rated the claim as True. So Trump’s order banning refugees and immigrants from seven Islamic countries certainly isn’t about safety, at least not really. If it were, the Trump team would be working on executive orders for gun violence prevention.
They just won’t ever admit that this is part of their fundamental distrust and discriminatory view of Islamic people. They’ll never cop to it, but these are the people who were angry and upset that George W. Bush wouldn’t take a harsher tone toward Muslims after 9/11. These are the same people who have yelled and screamed about the “political ideology” of Islam, and how that makes it different somehow, and therefore the First Amendment’s protections for freedom of religious expression shouldn’t apply to Muslims, whether American or otherwise.
And that’s because there might not be a bigger group of hypocritical assholes in America today than the right-wing.
Where were the calls to restrict the interstate travel rights of white men after Dylann Roof committed a heinous act of mass murder at a black church in South Carolina? Where the calls to limit white Christians’ movement after that lunatic shot up the Planned Parenthood? Hell, after Timothy McVeigh bombed a federal building and killed dozens, including small children and infants, no one in the Republican party was suggesting that white Christians couldn’t be trusted.
The last I checked, the Ku Klux Klan doesn’t accept Muslims, and they don’t call themselves a “tolerant, open-minded, pantheistic” group. They say they’re defending Christian values. Still, not once did Barack Obama issue a Good Old Boy travel ban, did he? Of course he didn’t. Because a long time ago we were supposed to have all learned that generalizing about a huge swath of people isn’t good. In fact, how many times have Trumpers told us they won the election last year because they were all sick and tired of being generalized about?
I’ll never get over how ridiculously ironic it is for members of the religious right to call any other religious group “political,” either. Ralph Reed is a Christian pastor who has worked tirelessly to keep the Christian conservative agenda alive. He advocates draconian, discriminatory laws. Does he say we should get to toss gay men off buildings? Of course not. He’s an American Christian Bigot. He knows he can simply advocate for LGBTQ+ to be considered second class citizens, and that’s just the American form of gay dude rooftop tossing.
The simple truth is that religious zealots are crazy and dangerous no matter which version of their God they pray to. In the recorded history of our nation, the Christian God and Jesus Christ himself have been bastardized and weaponized against minority groups all throughout. I get that Islam is a much younger religion by comparison, but that still doesn’t mean that we should treat every Muslim like a potential murderer.
It’s honestly more than a little heart breaking to even be having this discussion. When I was raised in a conservative, religious household, my parents may not have believed that Islam was the “correct” religion, and they may have been unafraid to say so. But they never would have dreamed of stopping someone from entering the country based on their religious beliefs. Because some things used to not be right or left issues. Some things used to vary in shades between the left and right, but we could fundamentally agree on core values like, “Everyone’s religion deserves respect.”
American Christian hypocrisy is nothing new. It’s just really sad and unfortunate that after 240 years it’s still at the core of so much of our country’s failure to make good on its most essential promises. We cannot consider ourselves the nation built on true equality under the law if we’re going to be the Minority Report country. We’re not really the land of the free and the home of the brave if we’re not brave enough to let everyone feel free to believe or not believe whatever kooky shit they want to.
All I know is that in this country if I’m standing in front of six Mohammeds in black robes and one Johnny in any clothing emblazoned with a confederate flag, it’s not the Mohammeds I’d be afraid of shooting me in a blind, dumb, drunken rage. And until that particular scenario changes, you’ll never convince me that Donald Trump’s executive order restricting travel was anything but a ham-fisted ban on a religious group…which up until about a week or so ago was as unthinkable as it is unconstitutional.
Then again, American Christians not acting in a Christian manner is as a new a concept as the wetness of water, and the greenness of grass.