While the civilized world draped the colors of the French flag after the gruesome terrorist attacks, the GOP showed their own true colors. Instead of mourning the victims and calling for sensible solutions, by morning power hungry Republican demagogues slithered out of the woodwork to exploit fear and manipulate their shrieking, quivering, cowardly base.
At a rally in Knoxville Donald Trump called Syrian refugees “a Trojan Horse” and said we should build a concentration camp in Syria that he euphemistically called a “safe zone.”
“What I like is build a safe zone in Syria. Build a big, beautiful safe zone, and you have whatever it is so people can live, and they’ll be happier. You keep ’em in Syria, you build a tremendous safe zone, it’ll cost you tremendously much less, much less, and they’ll be there and the weather’s the same.”
Trump went on to say that moving refugees from the Middle East to a place like Minnesota would not be wise because it is too cold. As a Miami native who now lives in Chicago, I am living proof that people can adjust and coats work. Trump conveniently forgets that the largest Middle Eastern population in the United States is in Dearborn, Michigan, which is not exactly the Bahamas.
A day earlier, Trump said of the Paris attacks: “You can say what you want, but if they had guns, if our people had guns, if they were allowed to carry, it would have been a much, much different situation.”
Yes, but this could have made things much worse – with people shooting wildly around a loud, dark concert venue, inadvertently hitting innocent victims, while still having inferior weaponry to the actual terrorists.
Trump conveniently forgets to point out that more Americans die in gun-related homicides and suicides every six months than have died in the last 25 years in every terrorist attack and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined. We are literally terrorizing ourselves – so why would France be so foolish as to emulate our bloody and self-defeating example?
Sen. Ted Cruz told CNN’s Dana Bash that President Obama’s plan to bring in 10,000 Syrian refugees into our country of 300 million is “nothing short of lunacy.” Cruz has vowed to introduce “religious test” legislation to prohibit Syrian refugees who are Muslim from entering the United States.
Bash mentioned that Cruz’s father came from Cuba, and the senator responded: “If my father were part of a theocratic and political movement like radical Islamism that promotes murdering anyone who doesn’t share your extreme faith or forcibly converting them, then it would make perfect sense.”
That is rich coming from Ted Cruz. Both he and his loathsome father belong to a radical Christian sect that threatens the United States far more than Islamic extremists. Cruz spoke at a conference in Iowa last week organized by pastor Kevin Swanson, who called for the extermination of gay people if they did not convert to Christianity. At the hate event, Cruz said that an atheist is not fit to be president.
It is two-faced politicians like Cruz who condemn secular government at home while disingenuously selling it abroad. They appear to be comfortable with theocratic government – as long as it’s fundamentalist Christianity. No wonder why some Muslims believe the West is on a holy crusade against Islam!
Meanwhile, more than a half dozen Republican governors have shamefully refused to accept Syrian refugees. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott went so far as writing a letter to President Obama that says, “As governor of Texas, I write to inform you that the State of Texas will not accept any refugees from Syria in the wake of the deadly terrorist attack in Paris.”
This posturing is typical Republican theater of the absurd. As Think Progress points out, “there is no lawful means that permits a state government to dictate immigration policy to the president in this way. As the Supreme Court explained in Hines v. Davidowitz, ‘the supremacy of the national power in the general field of foreign affairs, including power over immigration, naturalization and deportation, is made clear by the Constitution.’ States do not get to overrule the federal government on matters such as this one.”
There was a huge contrast with the Democrats. Bernie Sanders said, “We’ve got to be tough, but not stupid….During these difficult times as Americans, we will not succumb to racism. We will not allow ourselves to be divided and succumb to Islamophobia.”
Hillary Clinton said, “We cannot allow terrorists to intimidate us into abandoning our values and humanitarian obligations. America needs to be vigilant in screening and vetting any refugees from Syria to ensure those in need are granted safety while keeping out anyone who would seek to do us harm.”
One party is largely vicious and vile. The other represents France’s gift to the Unites States: The Statue of Liberty.
Wayne Besen is a columnist and author of the book “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth.”