They say you can take the measure of a man by who his enemies are. It is at least as accurate to say you can judge them by their supporters. And Trump’s supporters represent an embarrassment of riches of America’s misinformed and ignorant. For Republicans it’s “us vs. them” but it’s a lot more complex than that.
These are people who decry the radicalization of Muslims but here in America, we’re pointing a finger at the wrong people. Trump, for example, has been very good for business at white supremacist site Stormfront.
The people we should be pointing a finger at include Ann Coulter, and – predictably – Michele Bachmann, are praising Donald Trump’s stance on Muslim immigrants. Coulter was the most exuberant and over the top, calling Trump’s statement her “best birthday gift ever!”
Listen to her conversation with Florida talk radio host Joyce Kaufman, courtesy of Right Wing Watch:
So Muslims are no more worthy, in Trump’s eyes, of American citizenship than Mexicans? What Coulter is so ecstatic about is, in Stephen Colbert’s words, Trump’s willingness “to offend every group in America except white people.”
Colbert mocked the impossibility of Trump’s proposed plan, but Coulter has (she thinks) an answer to this: the same people who said banning Muslim immigrants is impossible are “the same people who said the exact same thing about building a wall” (which, for the record, has yet to be built and is therefore not a worthy cornerstone upon which to build an argument). But Coulter is a McCarthy fan and bluster will always mean more than facts.
Michele Bachmann was, surprisingly, lower key if betraying just as great a level of radicalization as Coulter:
“Donald Trump is right. Obama’s insane open-door immigration policies are getting innocent Americans killed.”
Not the wide availability of assault weapons or the GOP’s refusal to ban sales of such weapons to terrorists. She went on to claim,
“No one has a right to enter the United States. Until we can set up a working, fail-safe vetting system, Trump’s idea is the only one that ensures the innocence, safety and security of all Americans, Muslims included.”
Oh, so we’re protecting Muslims from themselves. That’s nice.
In general, Republicans went ga-ga for Trump’s fascist pronouncement, not just the base but the pundits as well, including Frank Gaffney, Todd Starnes, David Brody, and the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer (who doesn’t think much of Jews either), if only to trumpet via Twitter that he went there first:
My call to suspend Islamic immigration came 4 1/2 years before Cruz, Paul, and Trump. https://t.co/EIRt4h7rmt
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) December 7, 2015
“If that’s deeply bigoted, I guess I sign up because I think that’s a great idea myself. I’m not sure how we’ll do it but I think it’s common sense. That’s my position on it and I’m not ashamed to say that.”
Imagine racist bigots not feeling shame. I know that’s a new one.
Left/Media pretend to care about religious liberty for Muslims. Christians will be forced to buy rubbers & participate in gay marriages.
— John Nolte (@NolteNC) December 8, 2015
If you are familiar with Nolte’s Twitter screed, this won’t surprise you. It also won’t explain it. But then, Nolte “gets that a lot.”
Franklin Graham, that lesser son of a greater sire, also says Trump is right, but here again misinformation and ignorance rear their ugly head, as Graham basis his argument on a false premise:
“For some time I have been saying that Muslim immigration into the United States should be stopped until we can properly vet them or until the war with Islam is over.”
Of course, we are not at war with Islam. Even George W. Bush was quick to point that out, and repeated the point over and over. Yet for Graham, “Politicians in Washington seem to be totally disconnected with reality.” While that is probably true in a great many cases, it does not mean that Graham himself is any better connected with reality.
Heidi Beirich, Director of SPLC’s Intelligence Project, spoke, in a statement on December 8, of “a well-funded effort to vilify Muslims in the United States” and of the “mainstreaming of hate and extremism.” Bachmann is wrong. It is not Muslim immigrants who are a threat to Muslims, but as Beirich said, demonizing rhetoric. That rhetoric comes from people who call themselves Christians.
None of this will have any effect on Trump or his fellow racists. Obviously, to be great again, America must, like Germany in the 1930s, be for only one group, and that one group is increasingly identified as “white Christian Republicans.” The last two are sort of synonymous at this point, with Reince Priebus of the RNC having already identified the Republican Party as a religion, while the white thing goes without saying, as big a no-brainer as those who preach it’s gospel.
At Stormfront, a forum member who’s signature is “nothing surprises me anymore” posts that Buzzfeed Bans Pro-Donald Trump Opinions from Site – Breitbart
“The Jew machine is operating on full-blast,” he says by way of conclusion. Anti-Islam? Don’t forget Anti-Semite. These are the rank and file of the Donald Trump cult. This is the end result of radicalization here in America.
We look at various causes of radicalization and in looking at these right wing figures we see not only the reason for the radicalization of the Republican Party, but the causes of Trump’s radicalization. Trump is abetting the process through his own rhetoric, and so it continues. George W. Bush said we are at war against evil, not Islam, and he was, for once, correct, and many of those evil people are right here, at home.
The war on terror is not a simple matter of “us” versus “them” (radicalized Muslims) when so many of “us” are radicalized Christians.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.