One of the nation's most listened to syndicated radio talk show hosts, Mike Gallagher, said Tuesday morning he would support racial profiling of Muslims at airports to avoid another terrorist attack in the U.S.
I'll save Gallagher the embarrassment and not expand on the fact that Islam is not a race. Instead, the point: It would be a dire mistake for this country to tout any form of profiling. Not only would our self-proclaimed title as the freest country in the world be sacrificed if we were to flaunt acts of discrimination, we also would be fueling an already roaring hatred from Muslims all over the globe, and worse, at home, from our own citizens.
Gallagher's point had some agreeable arguments. He used a logical hypothetical that if a black man robbed a bank, the police wouldn't search the neighborhood looking for Caucasians and Hispanics. But a Muslim at an airport hasn't committed a crime. Perhaps a better hypothetical would be if the police searched neighborhoods for blacks because of the stereotype that all black people are criminals. (Actually, I think our police do this already.)
It's easy to foresee the backlash of religious profiling, though. The U.S.'s international reputation, dwindling already with each dead Iraqi, Somalian, Lebanese, Afghani and soon to be Iranian, would be torn apart by "liberal media," nationally and abroad. Extremists more and more would see the U.S. as the villainous, dictatorial empire that many of our foreign policies already reflect, increasing the chance of another attack. And our occupations would meet increased resistance because such a move would substantiate the belief that the U.S. is, in fact, engaged in a crusade. By "increased resistance" I mean more flag-covered coffins.
To sacrifice our biggest asset, freedom, despite the illusion that we have plenty to spare, would be suicide. I can't see Muslims or British Protestants or even Israelis for that matter, nodding in admiration as we chant, "We are the safest country on Earth because we discriminate based on religion, despite what our slave-owning Founding Fathers wrote in the Constitution."
Pulling people off flights is not going to thwart another terrorist attack. Increasing border and airport security won't even do that. Terrorism is the term the bourgeoisie uses (and its puppets believe) to describe oppressed people's resistance to invasion and occupation. Stopping another terrorist attack requires scaling back the Pentagon's power. It doesn't involve targeting our own citizens or angering one-billion-plus Muslims.
It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to realize that it is itself a threat to our national security to think that preventing another terrorist attack depends on who is riding in our planes.
Gallagher should be seen as he truly is, a figurehead of conservatism using the tools of rhetoric, and unrelenting argumentation, to segregate people by political party into the nut jobs and the wise. Like so many others, Gallagher is full of it (one-sided rhetoric, that is). I know this because Wednesday morning he touted limiting freedom of speech at political rallies, stopping what he called propaganda - showing pictures of coffins with flags draped across, and pulling out unembedded journalists from Iraq because of what, by Gallagherian standards, was an unethical journalistic decision. I see these, respectively, as infringing on constitutionally granted rights of every citizen, reality rather than propaganda, and covering up the truth.
It's worth mentioning the Constitution once more, even though so many Americans fall victim to the belief that if people aren't breaking laws, they shouldn't object to searches and seizures of personal property for purposes of national security. Executive power and propaganda continue to undermine this document, which at one point actually meant something.
First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ..."; Fourth: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation ..."; Fourteenth: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States ... are citizens of the (U.S.) and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States ... nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."