The left and the right in the United States have both once again raced to politicize a tragedy after the terror attack on the LGBT community in Orlando by an alleged backer of Daesh (known as ISIL in the west).
On the right, conservatives have run to blame President Obama and his “softness” on terrorism which as always featured a few subtle implications that the President is a muslim. On the left, the NRA was blamed and a race to declare this shooting another one tied to the American “gun culture” was put forth.
To the extent the pages of this website have fanned uncompromising liberal thought and the unwillingness to listen to the other side after previous tragedies involving guns we apologize. After countless shootings the last few years it is about time conservatives and liberals stopped trying to score political points (which has not accomplished anything) and listened to one another in a reasoned and mature way. President Obama has tried to set a responsible tone but politicians on both sides of the ideological divide have done quite the opposite.
Tribalism is growing once again in the world – the last few days I have been covering the Euro 2016 soccer tournament in France which has been overshadowed by what amounts to premeditated and massive violence between opposing sets of supporters, most notably the English and Russians. Smaller isolated bouts of violence have also reportedly included French, Northern Irish (Ulster), Polish, German and Ukrainian supporters*. It unfortunately dovetails with the terror in Orlando to tell the story of a world gone mad. The violence in France while using a soccer tournament as an excuse, is political and nationalist in nature (as evidenced by the songs and slogans of the Hooligans) – and it needs to be stamped out.
To prevent further outbreaks of senseless violence it is about time we began to understand and listen to one another. But unfortunately, the political culture of the United States, driven by each ideological side being in silos and basing world news on sources that reinforce one’s already established world views.
Conservatives have dug in to an irresponsible position backing the NRA and blaming a dignified President Obama for senseless violence even that against a minority community. They have used race-baiting as a fear tactic to mobilize the right into pushing back on ANY reasonable restriction on gun ownership.
However, the left is to blame also. Racing to politicize any event while many remain in complete denial about the right-wing nature of fundamental islamic terror and that those who are in sympathy with these views being in fact unworthy of the type of protection and sympathy liberals give them time and again. Make no mistake about it – radical islam IS violent and has strong strains of fascism, anti-gay/LGBT, misogynistic and anti-semitic ideologies contained in it. And yes, many muslims in the United States have been radicalized just as they have in Europe – perhaps not in the same manner or numbers but they do represent a threat.
Islamism is a right-wing ideology on par with religious fascism (as practiced in Franco’s Spain and for the beginning of his regime, Salazar’s Portugal) or in some ways similar to the views expressed by those on the right in the United States. Bill Maher has pointed this out time and again and his most recent rant on the subject is quoted below. (I will note that while I don’t think all practicing muslims are contrary to American values like Donald Trump does or Maher appears to believe, I do not think most Americans who practice Islam are vigilant enough in calling out radicals in their community and are protected in this view by large elements of the left who soak in “white guilt”.)
“This idea that all religions share the same values is bullshit and we need to call it bullshit,” Maher said. “If you are in this religion, you probably do have values that are at odds [with American ones]. This is what liberals don’t want to recognize.”
Perhaps a happy medium can be reached such as in order to stop Daesh (ISIL) and further outbreaks of domestic terror we need to tighten gun laws. But the left is so opposed to discussing anything that they may deem as racially insensitive (I have been called a racist once a very strong term but now a common insult by multiple fellow liberals here in Florida for my views on radical islam) or racial profiling while the right is unwilling to put any restriction on gun ownership, leaving the United States out of step with the rest of the civilized world in terms of firearms regulation and restrictions.
Only if we start conversing with one another and make an attempt to understand each other will things begin to change. Maybe that doesn’t suit the political interests of left or right, Republican or Democrat but it does suit the interest of the United States of America and the global community.
* I use the term “reportedly” here because the only tangible evidence of premeditated and mass violence I can confirm based on my own sources and reporters I trust is between supporters of England and Russia. Also UEFA the governing body of European football has warned England and Russia that further fan violence (which is a possibility considering England plays Wales on Thursday and that match will likely have serious political undertones) will result in expulsion from the competition. That warning has not been given to other nations as of this writing.