Thursday, February 02, 2017

Bleeding Hearts; Fascists; and Islam

Violent protest at UC Berkeley campus yesterday (NPR)
The Trump factor refuses to go away. No matter how much I want discuss issues that are more directly related to the Jewish people - the elephant in the room won’t allow it. Every day something new about Trump comes up and dominates the news. The reportage of these events are invariably anti Trump. The images in the media seem to be a steady stream of protests against his every act. It reminds me of how the Viet Nam War was reported back in the 60s and 70s.  I therefore feel compelled to address them.

The media fueled opposition then is just as it is now. Even though the two cases are far from identical, they have in common a liberal media bias that reflects the values of only half the country. And yet they treat those values as sacred.

If one were to use only the mainstream media as their source for news, one would think the entire country is in an uproar about what the President is doing - united in opposition to the President and his polices. Images of protests are all over the media. As are interviews of the people that are protesting. 

That is clearly not the case. Were that true, Trump would have been crushed in an unprecedented landslide instead of being elected. The truth is that half the country actually supports what he is doing. The country is as divided now as it was during the Viet Nam War. And that has generated what happened yesterday at that hotbed of radicalism, the University of California at Berkeley. 

It was 1968 all over again as what began as a peaceful protest turned ugly. Violence and vandalism prevailed. What precipitated that protest? A scheduled speech at the university by the new chairman of Brietbart News, Milo Yiannopoulos. The protest succeeded. The speech was canceled!

I don’t know much about this guy, however I am not a fan - based on some of the things I heard coming out of his mouth. But how I or anybody else feels about him is beside the point. This is about protecting free speech. Just as the ACLU protected the free speech of neo-Nazis in Skokie back in the 80s, so too should free speech be protected here. (Although I have not heard the ACLU weighing in on it this time).

Those mostly young student protesters didn’t care about free speech. They only cared about their values being overturned. They firmly believe that if one does not subscribe to their values, they are un-American. Which makes religious people un-American.

That these two value systems clash is an understatement these days. When religious values challenge what they believe to be American liberal values, they go ballistic. The values they hold dear are those that were set by a President whose agenda was biased in favor of an egalitarian agenda intolerant of a religious point of view. So that when the agendas of both clashed, the ex President favored egalitarianism over religion. Progressives see religion as a superstition with values that are anathema to them.

These Berkeley students see egalitarianism as the essential American ethic. The chance that the progress made in that area over the last 8 years will be overturned makes them see red. When they look at Trump - who has been strident about restoring the America of the past with all the intolerance they believe it suggests - their anger becomes unhinged. On the UC Berkeley that anger was transformed into violent protest.

But resorting to violence to assure liberal gains are not overturned is not democracy. It is fascism when you try and force your political views on everyone. They will not be deterred until they get their way by whatever means necessary – believing that their egalitarian ends justify their violent means. They will never tolerate eroding all those gains by a conservative agenda which they have been misled to believe is racist, bigoted, sexist, misogynistic, war mongering, and supportive of oppressive regimes like Israel. (Which is why there have been so many anti Israel protests in some universities.)

Now it is true that not all liberals feel this way. Some are very religious. As there are Conservatives that are not all that religious. But I believe it is fair to say that the two sides more or less break down that way.

Unfortunately a lot of well meaning people are easily influenced by the media spin on all of this.  Which brings me back to Trump’s executive order. The reaction to that is split.

On the one hand -it is difficult to watch a young Muslim mother running for her life, children in hand, looking for refuge in any country that will take her. It is difficult to watch a parentless young Syrian child covered with blood after his village was just demolished by indiscriminate bombing. It is difficult to see wave after wave of immigrants (totaling in the hundreds of thousands if not more) marching out of their country towards an unknown destiny. It is difficult to see a little boy lying dead on the shores of a country his refugee parents tried to get into.  And then hearing the President close this country’s doors to them. If that is all that is focused upon by the media how can anyone not feel compassion for the refugees and outrage against the President?

On the other hand - those images are only half the story… and the only ones being focused upon. The other half of the story is being ignored. The entire world is facing unprecedented danger from a religion that spawned the greatest attack against the free world since Hitler’s Germany. That fact is practically denied by politicians refusing to recognize Islam’s part in all of this. They keep  saying that these terrorists do not represent Islam. As do many Muslim clerics that are seen as moderate. The real Muslims – they say - reject the ideology of the terrorists as not a legitimate form of Islam.

That is simply untrue. There are too many Imams preaching exactly that kind of Islamist theology. Starting with Iran’s Shiite leader, Ayatollah Khomeini - and his successor and current supreme leader, Ayatolah Khameini. (Sunnis have their own versions of this. Like the Wahhabi sect of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia where the 9/11 terrorists came from.)

One does not have to think very hard to be reminded of the fallout of the radical versions of Islam. The images of severed heads, the carnage in San Bernardino, Orlando, Fort Hood,Turkey Paris, Brussles… All of which were committed or inspired by a stream of Islam that is radical. It exists and identifies as Islam claiming to be the only legitimate version of it!

No other religion in modern times has spawned so many murderous martyrs as Islam has. Religious fervor as a motivator is far more dangerous than other ideologies since they believe they are doing it for God and do not fear death. Sometimes even embracing it!

It is for that reason that half the country actually supports what Trump did. He has kept the promises he made to the people that voted for him. They are not bigots. They are citizens of the United States that have a different point of view and want to see their families protected. And they are grateful for that executive order.