We would be blind not to see the early indications of a troubling trend that may soon bring shame to America. We have seen that Republican conservatives seek to bring pressure against the Democratic President, not by discussion of ideas, policies, and presidential actions, but rather by reminding the voting public of President Obama's ethnicity.
Now we see within the extremist right wing of the "Tea Party" movement, blatant and ongoing racism. Rand Paul, Libertarian and Republican, would allow businesses to discriminate against groups of their choice. In effect, consider a crowd of young people, let’s say college students. The students approach a tavern, a bar, perhaps a restaurant, seeking admission. Rand Paul would advocate the bar owner's privilege to usher in the white students, saying to the blacks among the group, “I’m sorry! Whites only!” Rand Paul is the Republican Senate nominee from Kentucky.
In a similar vein, Mark Williams, chairman of the Tea Party Express, wrote about the mosque and Islamic cultural center proposed near the site of the 9/11 attacks. In his words, "The monument would consist of a mosque for the worship of the terrorists' monkey-god”. Williams, a frequent commenter at CNN news, apparently not only considers all Muslims terrorist, but feels no constraint in insulting Islam with the phrase, "monkey god." This is intolerable.
In Arizona, by virtue of law, an effort is being made to allow police officers unconstitutional authority to go beyond accepted limits in questioning those whom they suspect of being non-documented citizens. The politicians invoke the issue of crime and violence. But there are those that dispute those claims.
One of the more offensive trends we see coming from the extremist right relates to the treatment of Blacks in American society. For all of their lives, the lives of their parents, their grandparents, the blacks have been victims of unfair, unjust abuse; they are insulted, their parents insulted, their grandparents insulted. Can we blame them for faults that a small margin of the Negro population condone?
I sometimes illustrate my remarks with the story of a little black baby riding in the rear-facing seat of a shopping cart, at the market, in the checkout line. The innocent baby smiles at a white couple waiting behind her mother. The white man sneers, looking for his wife's approval. He extends his middle figure, he says, “Hurry up, N****!”
With some exceptions, blacks, in keeping with the inspired wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King, have shown utter patience in response to their situation. If we, non-Negroes, like them, could ignore unfair behavior, with a firm belief in a fair and just God, we would be stronger for it. Would we be able to rise above insults to our parents, our grandparents, our children?
Many of the Tea Party movement and the new right are, like most of us, religious people. The Christian New Testament tells of a man, the “Son of God," who, with his good friends, walked the shores of Galilee, and preached to the crowds. We ask ourselves, what was this man whom we so revere saying to the assembled people? We have an answer! In all the New Testament, there are few quotations of what Jesus said in his preaching; but we do have the Beatitudes; among them, the Eighth Beatitude, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice' sake, for they will be satisfied.” What could be more unjust than to discriminate against a person based on the circumstances of his birth? Did any Negro have a choice as to his race? It is truly a human trait to be appalled by injustice.
As to prejudice toward those who practice Islamic teaching; not all Muslims are terrorists. Many believe in peace and order. While the buildings at ground zero are a serious matter, a highly emotional matter, would a rational man, a thinking man, go the extra steps to insult the focal point of Islamic worship? This is not only morally wrong, but inflammatory — potentially leading to bloodshed.
Is this new racism merely a political ploy? Or does it reflect an attitude among frustrated Americans? In either case, it is unhealthy, abhorrent, and should be weeded out of the new culture.