Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Smearing with a Broad Brush

Rich Trzupek

Liberals and the liberal media try awfully hard to portray tea-partiers as racist, violent extremists whose ultimate goal is to usurp the lawful authority of the government of the United States. It’s tough to make those charges stick, since tea-party rallies are inevitably peaceful, thoughtful protests that include people of many races. Tea-partiers and their supporters continually denounce racism and violence as well. Still, the Daily Kos crowd and leftist commentators like Keith Olbermann are sure that bigotry and violence are brewing just beneath the surface of the movement, no matter how much tea-partiers might deny the awful “truth” of the matter. It’s rather bizarre that members of the tea-party movement and their Republican supporters are called upon to denounce racism and violence, when the foundation of the movement has nothing to do with either. The tea-partiers are campaigning for limited government, fiscal responsibility and the free market. Still, if some unidentified individual supposedly hurls a racial slur at a black congressman, or if another unidentified individual hurls a brick through a congressman’s window, the tea-partiers are called upon to denounce those actions, even though there is no credible evidence that the movement, its principles, or even an actual tea-partier, was involved. Not doing so, the liberal critics say, is tantamount to accepting and encouraging such behavior. Such actions must be condemned and the tea-party movement has a responsibility to make it clear that racists and thugs are not welcome. Tea-partiers and Republicans dutifully say all the right things, that racism is bad and that violence is bad, usually with a rather puzzled expressions on their faces, since it’s 2010 and those points seem rather obvious to anyone this side of Chris “I forgot Obama was black for an hour” Matthews.

The left has established a principle here: if anyone promoting evil or performing evil acts tries to attach himself to an organization or movement, then it is incumbent upon that organization or movement to disassociate themselves from such individuals in the strongest possible terms. Might we apply this principle to another organization, one that features a fringe that embraces violence in a way that makes brick-throwing appear as innocuous as a fifth-grader firing a spitball across the class during study hall? Instead of worrying about some shadowy figure who supposedly shouted racial epithets and whom can’t actually be tied to a movement, might we worry instead about a movement that embraces sexism, not merely along its fringes, but in a huge portion of the mainstream? Such an organization seems ready-made to attract the righteous wrath of liberal America. If such a movement involved fundamentalist Christians or ultra-Orthodox Jews, the liberal media would denounce it, condemn it and expect any co-religionist even remotely connected to the offenders to do the same. There is, of course, one notable exception to this rule: Islam.

If called upon to denounce murderous violence that their co-religionists perpetrate in the name of Allah, the Council on American Islamic Relations inevitably follows the party line: they can not be expected to accept responsibility for the deranged actions of few extremists. That answer satisfies the mainstream media, though it’s not nearly an acceptable response when it comes to the tea-party movement, which doesn’t actually have a death toll even remotely associated with it. From whence does such hypocrisy spring? The answer should be obvious: fear. The liberal media can offend tea-partiers at every opportunity and the worst that will happen is that reporters might get a few angry e-mails, or editors will receive some rude phone calls. Big deal. Were these reporters and editors to offend Islam, the results might very well include a next-of-kin trying to recall where the dear departed stashed a life insurance policy.

Most Muslims are not violent jihadists, but they support – indirectly, albeit vitally – violent jihad through their silence. Perhaps we should look at this differently. To a jihadist like Osama bin Laden, anyone who doesn’t support jihad isn’t following the dictates of the Quran and is therefore not a real Muslim. For bin Laden and his ilk there is no such thing as the Islamic equivalent of a “fallen away Catholic.” If you’re not “all in,” you’re on the other side. In the west, most Muslims aren’t Muslims, as far as the jihadists are concerned. Most Muslim women living in America drive cars, for example. Most Muslims living in America don’t feel it’s their obligation, or a moral imperative, to kill infidels. Their religion is their religion, but it doesn’t get in the way of conscience. That’s great, as far as it goes, but they are actually guilty of the very sin of omission that the mainstream media tries to pin on tea-partiers, in the form of a deafening silence when it comes to their evil, extremist co-religionists constitutes complicity in everything but name.

The non-violent Muslim majority – and I believe that is an accurate description, whether or not they sympathize with the goals of jihad – represents the only real hope the West has of permanently emasculating the violent jihadists. We can not kill every Muslim on the face of the earth, notwithstanding the fact that Judeo-Christian morality prevents us from ever wishing to do so. The only way to negate the jihadist influence it though a “Muslim enlightenment” that would, in theory, find Muslims balancing the secular principles of liberty and conscience against the more morally positive features of their chosen religion. Yet, there is not the slightest possibility of achieving a Muslim enlightenment if we refuse to accept the need to accomplish such a goal and thus deny potential moderates their voices. The mainstream media, it would seem, hasn’t a clue. Their calls for moderation when it comes to the tea-party movement are both shrill and wholly unnecessary. But, when it comes to an actual threat to Western civilization like jihad and Islam, they choose to go mute. That is, after all, the safest course for them, if not for the public they serve.

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