The national press fleetingly touched on the fertilizer plant explosion that occurred in West, Texas Wednesday evening, leaving 14 people dead and close to 200 injured, but the Boston terrorist drama garnered almost 24/7 non-stop coverage. During that much uninterrupted coverage a heck of a lot has been said about radical Islam, these two young Chechen immigrants, law enforcement, our legal system, our American resilience and also our American spirit. If only a few spontaneous public singalongs of the national anthem (here) or Neil Diamond leading a crowd singing, “Sweet Caroline” (here) were all it takes to heal what ails the American spirit. Sadly, this week demonstrated more divides in our American character, leaving us with more personalities than Sybil, the lead character in the 1976 made-for-TV movie, starring Sally Field as the young woman suffering from multiple personality disorder and ostensibly displaying 16 different personalities. Of course, Sybil turned out to be a fraud (here, here, here),as does much of the commentary coming out of the left.
Salon’s columnist, David Sirota, wrote a whining, condemnation against “white” America, filled with angry diatribes against the unfair double standard in our treatment of “terrorists” and he expressed his hope that the perpetrator(s) of the Boston bombing be “white” Americans rather than foreigners with a Muslim connection (story here). Much of what he states, including his title, “Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American”, comes across as sheer racism. Why would anyone “hope” that a terrorist be of a certain ethnicity? What fuels that kind of warped mind-set? The answer clearly is the multiculturalist elites in our society want to perpetuate a narrative of “angry, racist whites”, who trample upon all other ethnic groups. As numerous pundits (Mark Steyn here) have commented, Sirota got his wish, sort of. The perpetrators are “Caucasians”, direct from the Caucasus, but alas to burst his bubble of hope, they also hold a tie to radical Islamist indoctrination, the full details of which remain unknown.
In the coming weeks, these missing pieces will fall into place and many calls for more surveillance, less immigration, and wider police powers will echo from the political right, while the left will flim flam along with counter punches and rail about racism and take to the soapbox to warn about retaliation against Muslims in general. Both sides offer no solution to the problem. Exchanging liberty for a false sense of security that a police state offers is truly a deal with the devil. More government encroachment into our daily lives will yield little in protection and cost us way too much of our precious freedom. Pretending the Islamic extremism problem is over-hyped or mischaracterized, as the left is wont to do, leaves us wide open to more attacks and places us in a perpetual state of national delusion (as President Obama has done trying to downplay the radical Islamist threat). The path to take lies in the middle – follow the laws we have. We have within our legal arsenal the means to deal with terrorists of any ilk. We need to start trusting in the Constitution again, instead of acting like each crime is some unique situation.
America remains stuck in a polarized political rut, where far too many Americans dislike, demonize and distrust those who hold differing political views. We’ve become a nation where the national political operatives have invested decades in furthering this divide. Several years ago I posted on a political chat room site where most of the chatters were regulars. All of us were news junkies of the worst sort – the type who live and breathe breaking news stories and of course, we could regurgitate our political side’s talking points verbatim. In the sense of shallow victories, this chat room provided many easy targets to hit against on both sides, but the sad part was no one was actually communicating. Each side waited for the other to post their latest vitriolic attack, having their counterattack at the ready. This format emulates the decades old TV formula of pitting political pundits from the left and right against each other, which creates more riveting TV, but isn’t quit so enchanting in real life where we need to work together with all types of people. I quit posting there due to real life time demands and then a year or so ago, I stopped by that same chat room and lo’ and behold most of the same chatters were there, posting the same partisan drivel and yes, many remembered me. I thought about how much time I had spent engaged in this partisan flame-throwing in this chat room (although I had prided myself on being a “polite” partisan). I thought about how much time was wasted trying to score political points rather than trying to understand the other person’s point of view or God forbid, moving an iota from our entrenched viewpoint toward some compromises. We live in a take no prisoners political climate, where each side bolts to the extremes, rather than trying to find some common ground.
The solution to our American decline lies in finding that common ground. America is a country founded by immigrants. We must continue to welcome foreigners, to include Muslim immigrants. We should all set the example of welcoming immigrants into our communities and help them assimilate. The success or failure of immigrants should not depend on them clinging to a small ethnic enclave within some major city. We should make the effort to reach out a hand in our communities to welcome and help those new to our country, rather than eye them with suspicion. And political partisans sure need to start listening to each other rather than talking past each other. Just act like you’re talking to someone in your family with whom you disagree – no matter how much you disagree; you’re still family. We are all Americans – let’s remember that common ground more often.