[Play that song. You’ll be glad you did.)
Let’s start with some basic truths:
Conservatives profess to revere the Constitution, and
Conservatives oppose “big” government.
Big government, in conservative theory, violates core American values outlined in the Constitution: Freedom™ and Liberty.™ In fact, those two core values are so woven into the very fiber of conservativism that a popular sect of conservatism, the Tea Party, has a platform that, from what I can tell, claims every government action the party opposes treads on Americans’ Freedom™ and Liberty.™ Freedom™ and Liberty™ are the foundation for conservative arguments against paying higher taxes, not only because who likes taxes?, but also because those taxes create those annoying government agencies that ruin our lives every day. Or “stifle entrepreneurship.” Or are “after our guns.” Or “force Christians into providing birth control against their beliefs.” Whatever the conservative argument is, chances are it’s framed as supposedly safeguarding our Freedom™ and Liberty™.
It’s odd, then, that so many conservatives are voting in droves for two aspiring fascists who are proposing the very worst kind of big government, the kind of government that actually does destroy Freedom and Liberty: the Police State.
Don’t believe me?
“Patrol and secure Muslim communities.”
Surveillance of Mosques.
Databases of Muslims.
“Bring Back Waterboarding, and I’ll Do Much Worse.”
“See if We Can Make Sand Glow in the Dark.”
These are the words of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. These are the words of the police-and-militarily-controlled state. These are the roots of fascism. These are the roots of government tyranny that conservatives purport to rail against. These are the words that Sinclair Lewis and George Orwell warned us about.
Still don’t believe me? Let’s do a quick experiment with some simple word replacements.
Patrol and secure Catholic communities.
Surveillance of churches.
Databases of Catholics.
OR HOW ABOUT THIS ONE:
Patrol and secure Jewish communities.
Surveillance of synagogues.
Databases of Jews.
These are the roots that grew into the Holocaust, perhaps the worst mass murder and torture regime in the history of mankind. These are the roots of brutally repressive dictatorships that America is allegedly above, that American Democracy cannot possibly descend into, that the Constitution is designed to defend against, that America allegedly “liberates” other countries from. One of George W. Bush’s core arguments for the war in Iraq, besides the whole
Weapons-of-Mass-Destruction-misdirection thing, was that Saddam Hussein was a repressive dictator who used violence against religious minorities. And yet, in their most hypocritical moment yet (a tremendous feat, I assure you), conservatives are voting for two sociopaths who have said every one of those words that cry out “Police State Alert!”
For a party that constantly professes it’s love for the Constitution, when it comes to Muslims, conservatives conveniently turn a blind eye toward the First Amendment (freedom of religion) and Fourth Amendment (freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures), which together form the basis for the very simple legal concept that you can’t search and seize and survey people based on their religion. Trump, Cruz, and their voters are perfectly fine with blatant violations of the Constitution when it comes to Muslims. Or maybe they just get a little too excited when they think the Second Amendment gives them the right to eat bacon cooked by the barrel of a machine gun.
(You don’t have to watch that video. It’s as pathetic as it sounds.)
I wish I didn’t have to write this next part. I really wish I didn’t.
Muslims are mothers, daughters, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, fathers, friends, and neighbors. They are teachers and students and taxpayers and community members. They are doctors and athletes and lawyers and Uber drivers and business owners and architects and engineers. They are, by far and away, the most frequent victims of ISIS’s violent extremism. Muslims are Syrian, Indian, Bengali, French, British, Canadian, Nigerian, Iranian, Turkish, Indonesian, Chinese, Russian, North African, and yes, fucking American as all get-out. There are some 5,000 American Muslims in our military. Muslims are just like every human being trying to make the best of it in this brutal, beautiful world.
To pretend that violent extremists in ISIS and other similar groups represent Islam or Muslims is to willfully distort reality in pursuit of political power. And both Trump and Cruz, by proposing a police state in response to ISIS violence, haven’t just made morally indefensible and dangerous proposals; what they’re proposing is un-American, and decidedly not conservative.