FGF OP-ED
A Voice from Fly-Over Country
June 15, 2016

When Being Nice Is Stupid

by Robert L. Hale
fitzgerald griffin foundation

MINOT, ND — What am I missing? Former Vice Presidential candidate and current House Speaker Paul Ryan ridiculed the “ugliness and divisiveness in American politics.” To what ugliness and divisiveness does the Speaker refer?

In a speech to Congressional interns on March 23, the Speaker specifically referenced Donald Trump’s “extreme positions, such as barring Muslims from entering the country.”

In today’s irrational, feel-good, ultra-sensitive America, we seem to believe anytime anyone lobs accusations of such loaded terms as racist, anti-gay, anti-Semitic, homophobic, or misogynist, the accused person truly is making ugly, extreme, or divisive statements.

 

Actually, what Mr. Trump proposed was a moratorium on entry until a screening system is put in place to vet this group. This approach seems reasonable under the circumstances; the trouble is that I did not see this part of Mr. Trump’s statement reported by the mainstream media.

Is his proposal ugly? Is it extreme? Is it divisive? Maybe — just maybe — it is prudent, reasonable, and justifiable.

America has developed a new definition of ugly, extreme, and divisive over the past 20 or so years. In today’s irrational, feel-good, ultra-sensitive America, we seem to believe anytime anyone lobs accusations of such loaded terms as racist, anti-gay, anti-Semitic, homophobic, or misogynist, the accused person truly is making ugly, extreme, or divisive statements.

What is extreme about Mr. Trump’s suggestion that Muslims be barred from entering our country? Isn’t it true that Islam has engaged in an announced Jihad against Western values, countries, and religious faiths? Are the daily news items of murder and mayhem in the name of ISIS, ISIL, and Islam mere fiction for the purpose of selling newspapers? Were the bombings in Paris, Germany, Sweden, London, and Brussels, and the killings in San Bernardino, waged in the name of a Holy War simply pretend?

Was it extreme when, following the 9/11 attack in New York, virtually every person in the United States assumed that a threat existed at all airports in America? Was it extreme when the government determined that all persons traveling by air should be subjected to a full body search or scanning, and that their luggage should be rifled through? Was the requirement that we had to provide government-approved photo identification to board an airplane extreme?

 

Actually, what Mr. Trump proposed was a moratorium on entry until a screening system is put in place to vet this group.

We know that there is a large, well-organized, well-funded, and highly motivated group intent on murdering innocent people in the name of this group’s religious beliefs. This group’s extremism is reported daily. Who are we trying to fool by pretending this not the case? The group’s stated goal has become a frequent reality. Does this mean every Muslim is intent on murder? Hopefully not, but we know a significant number is. We know this because Islam’s holy book, the Koran, calls for the eradication of infidels.

Yet, we have House Speaker Paul Ryan declaring that taking steps much less invasive than those he supported imposing on all Americans following 9/11 is extreme. Who is he trying to placate: extreme Muslims, peace-loving Muslims, neutral Muslims, or secular Muslims?

We know that there is a large, well-organized, well-funded, and highly motivated group intent on murdering innocent people in the name of this group’s religious beliefs. This group’s extremism is reported daily. Who are we trying to fool by pretending this not the case?

 

Who is he refusing to take steps to protect as he seeks to placate this group? We make every person in America who wishes to take a flight go through screening before being allowed to board. What is extreme about taking much less intrusive screening steps to protect us against a threat we know is real — and a threat we are reminded of daily by the words and actions of members of this group in the name of Islam? What is ugly, extreme, or divisive about screening this group? When I grew up, such steps were deemed prudent when there was a real threat to our safety. Remember mandatory polio shots?

In today’s irrational political environment, it seems that to “be nice” means to be insulting to everyone other than those who actually pose a self-proclaimed and consistent threat. I suggest this mentality is the essence of stupidity.

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A Voice from Fly-Over Country is copyright © 2016 by Robert L. Hale and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation. All rights reserved.

Robert L. Hale received his J.D. in law from Gonzaga University Law School in Spokane, Washington. He is founder and director of a non-profit public interest law firm. For more than three decades he has been involved in drafting proposed laws and counseling elected officials in ways to remove burdensome and unnecessary rules and regulations.

See Mr. Hale's biographical sketch.

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