Terrorism, it surely is scary. Imagine dancing in a nightclub when suddenly there is a loud bang and your dance partner falls down bloody and dead. Walking through the airport and being frustrated that your flight sat on the tarmac for too long before getting to the gate and your day gets worse when picking up your luggage you take a bullet to the shin. Sudden attacks, your daily life put on hold by tragedy – it could happen to you – how would you feel?
While the threat sounds intimidating, it’s not very likely to happen. In fact, you are much more likely to be killed randomly by accident than you would be by being a target of or in a random terrorist attack. I read a while back that if there was a terrorist attack in a US mall once month, your chance of being killed in a mall by a terrorist was still next to nothing.
Frankly – the thread is perceived and not at all real. You simply aren’t going to be killed by a terrorist.
Since 2001 though this threat has gripped many of us. People with names that are hard to pronounce are angry. Sometimes they have a limited amount of success in making that name grace the news for a few weeks. We quickly forget the details but the fear remains. We worry about ourselves and then, worse, we worry about the safety of our loved ones. Like most people we’d do anything to protect them too.
Not only have we been told we need to worry about these mystery men, and women, but on top of the fear of attack we are told they have a more sinister goal. Their attacks against us aren’t just to make us afraid – they are after us for a reason. Our president during 9/11 declared that we are under attack because these people hate our way of life. Now we have heard that they don’t just hate how we live but they wish to change it.
Islamic terrorists are not going to stop at making us afraid, they want to subjugate us. Step one was to make us afraid, step two is to make us like them, to make us follow their strange and different laws. Our way of life isn’t only under attack, it is going to be replaced. They are strange and different and someone is going to come to the United States and make us just like them. Whatever you’ve heard or read, no matter if it’s true or not – it’s coming.
It’s been a long time since that fateful day. We all came together and watched those towers fall and the Pentagon burn. Every day since we have been hit over the head more and more. We take off our belts and shoes at the airport because that’s just the new normal. Our friends and family rally against this strange and far off threat – we can’t let this happen here – it’s coming. We must protect our way of life.
Sharia law, it’s coming here to America.
Except it isn’t. And there is a bigger threat. America seems to have finally come together. How can you speak out against the rising tide against Islam? If you say that the reaction of your family and friends is beyond the pale, you are not American. If you suggest there is no fear that Sharia will be instituted here you are blind, dumb, stupid. We are under attack. If we don’t keep them out, we will be subjugated.
There is no condiseration however on what we are replacing the perceived threat with. Some have reacted that we are stepping towards what amounts to Nazism. I don’t know if I totally disagree. What seems to be the case is that we are letting xenophobia overrun all our senses so much that we are going to accept something as bad or worse than what we seem to fighting against.
People in America have decided that they will not accept foreign born individuals from coming here, no matter their reason for coming or their origin. They are different and we must protect our ways from them. It’s an easy arguement to make and win – why are you against us, against America? How can you stand by while they (Muslims, Mexicans) come here and take what “belongs” to us? What kind of person are you?
The people making this argument don’t just believe in one thing. They aren’t patriots, they aren’t just standing up for America. They are standing up for their own selfish beliefs. Even the most kind hearted Christians agree with these fear-based attacks on desperate people seeking refuge in this liberty loving country. And these White Christians are the ones I am starting to fear the most. If you push them past their fears of Islam you’ll find they fear Spanish speaking Mexicans, they fear gays, people who wish to change their gender or anyone who wants to do something a bit different than themselves. Don’t even think about mentioning that bacon isn’t the healthiest food or turning down a pork chop.
America is under attack – but it’s under attack by us.
The majority of America is exactly what I fear, white and Christian. They have found, again, they can be the loudest. At one time those who were denied their rights made the most noise. This is no longer the case. It seems the ones with the most to lose from a varied populous are the ones who are calling the shots. Today it is a ban on Muslim asylum seekers. Tomorrow it will be Mexican and Central-Americans coming for a better tomorrow than the yesterday they left.
We seem to be pushing against anything new or different. Anything that offends the Christian-Puritan sensibilities is to be stopped. Where does this end, what is life like under Trump’s America? For once we have a task force forming to round people up. We are stopping people from entering this country though they’ve jumped over the legal barriers placed before them. Under the guise of fear we are now telling them to go home. And people are okay with that – they don’t see the difference in turning someone away who has been vetted and has the proper papers and turning away someone who has not.
Worse yet – people are cheering this. Americans are doubling down on the belief that it’s okay to treat people this way. People are assigning them evil intentions and allowing their fear to displace their sense of decency. Letting fear and anger replace decency is the new normal. This is why my white and Christian neighbors scare me more than a remote and faceless threat.
Muslims, Mexicans, gays, people who don’t worship the way “we” do – they deserve this treatment – they aren’t even people. We must put the country first.
Our country. Our country built on the backs of people we either forced to come here or people we used and spit out when the work we needed was done (like our President has practiced). Our country, a land of victors over the natives. We took it and made it ours, ruled now by those who had no right but won it by the gun. We fear and fight those we think would do the same while turning away those who simply want the freedoms we cherish.
Freedom to demonstrate and choose our leaders. We’ve chosen a leader who decides that we must follow an isolationist and fanatical idealism that amounts to fear-based nationalism. And it doesn’t stop there.
You see, your neighbor who has been complaining about Muslims and Mexicans – they feel the same about blacks, Jews, gays. They don’t just worry about a foreign threat. They fear things down the street or in the next town that are different than them. While a great deal of us think this White-Christian nationalism won’t amount to much, the stage is set, the wheels are in motion.
It won’t stop with Muslims, Mexicans, blacks, Jews, gays – it will consume you as well. Once you are sickened by the hate speech that grows into lynchings and speak up, you’ll be a “sympathizer”. Your family will suffer the same fate, you’ll be an enemy of the state. If you have spoken out against the rising tide of public hatred already, you know what I mean. Our connected-social world has likely shown you, your voice doesn’t matter.
It’s a new America. Strong, unwavering, scared.
I’m afraid. Not afraid of a poor herdsman from across the world coming to make me follow his religious laws. I’m not afraid of a Spanish speaker taking my job. I’m afraid of my neighbors telling me I no longer belong, that I must instead follow their beliefs. I’m afraid to publish this post. I fear that any voices that go against this movement are those that will be silenced first. History has shown this is what happens alongside the punishment of the weakest among us.
The evil that is growing in America like a dark shadow can’t survive if people do nothing, if we all stay silent. We must speak out that we love those who are being hated against now if we want to save millions more from the fate that we are all facing. This cannot be the new normal.
Fear and hate can’t be the new normal in America.