America has always been conflicted about what to do with a majority. Should we stand behind our democratic values, or ignore what a majority wants so we can benefit a minority? Politics, not principle usually answers that question. It has a tendency to create majorities when they are needed to make a point. One of the worst things that can happen with “vast majority” thinking is that bad people are turned into good people. That creates problems, including what to do about Muslims who could be terrorists. Does our government’s message that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are good people conflict with our efforts to fight terrorism?
Vast majority of Muslims are good people. Who cares?
Politics often swaps the truth for truisms that defy reason and logic. Our top officials are clever when it comes to manipulating what “majority” means. Many types of bad people benefit: criminals, terrorists, illegal immigrants, and the politicians who liberally resort to majority rule when it suits them, even if it means handing the public a false picture.
Paul Ryan and Barack Obama have indulged this political sleight of hand. They have used politics to make good people look better than they should with vast majority rhetoric. Ryan had his say on behalf of Muslims when he took a recent jab at Donald Trump. Obama has always been fond of skewing what a majority means, whether speaking in service to Islam, illegals, or criminals whose sentences he commuted.1
Ignoring the truth in favor of a politically popular position is dangerous. Muslims can be good people. They can also be bad people, just like any other group. Profiling cuts both ways. That means there is a risk in convincing the public that a group is inherently good because of what they are.
Terrorists ignore the truth about the majority of Muslims
31 murders in Brussels are the latest testament to how well Islam can be abused by bad people. Instead of calling on Muslims to stand by their peaceful beliefs, voice angry protest, and police their ranks, politics demanded that we engage in the usual babble about being resolute in the face of another terrorist crisis. We didn’t hear the same anger we get from politicians after random shootings blamed on gun laws. Instead, we got sympathy for the dead because of a tragedy that wasn’t prevented.
The president was gallivanting around Cuba on spring break when the bombs went off in Belgium. White House media staff still managed to give the appearance of involvement, unwisely using Obama’s words to remind us of another Islamic tragedy, this one on our own soil:
… one of my proudest moments as President was watching Boston respond after the marathon. … That is the kind of resilience and the kind of strength that we have to continually show in the face of these terrorists.2
There is no pride to be had in letting Muslim terrorists slip through our security network, but the White House prefers to avoid the obvious by patting terror victims on the back. Joe Biden went back 70 years for inspiration:
Remember the incredible courage of the Belgian people during World War II. The incredible stamina. Nothing’s changed.3
The vice president needs to think this one through a little better. What has changed is that the world drew together to exterminate Nazism. We can’t do that with Islam because truth be told, most Muslims are not bad people. Some of us would like to believe that Islam is a religion of terror, but it simply isn’t true.
That doesn’t mean this vast majority of Muslims who are good people deserves a pass. It doesn’t mean that at all.
Majority logic doesn’t work for terror
Can you guess who said this?
Islam, as practiced by the vast majority of people, is a peaceful religion, a religion that respects others. Ours is a country based upon tolerance and we welcome people of all faiths in America.”4
Wrong. It was George W. Bush, one year after the September 11 attacks.
Majority logic typifies our fear of offending and our desire to please. What it doesn’t do is address the fact that when it comes to terror, the vast majority doesn’t matter. The minority are the ones who kill us.
A handful of police shootings led to a propaganda-laden national movement to blame the police and politicize every violent event involving African Americans. Washington pushed for what the Obama administration and Justice Department call 21st Century Policing. Police became bad people. Violence-prone communities demanded that we film their every move with body and dash cameras.
When Donald Trump applied the same kind of thinking to Muslims, all hell broke loose. Politically correct cowardice dictated an overwhelmingly negative response.
No matter how you feel about Trump, he sparked our thoughts on what we might have to do to keep the country safe. Harry Reid recently accused him of “fear-mongering against Muslims.”5 A little fear-mongering might work better than majority logic if it makes us more aware.
That’s not to defend some of the things Trump has said any more than it defends pandering to Muslims. The simple truth is that the vast majority doesn’t matter. A small minority of Muslims are terrorists. They are intent on hurting us because of who we are while the majority watches, demands protection from discrimination, and doesn’t do enough to clean Islam’s house.
Politics has shamed us into not doing the kinds of things we should be doing, like profiling. Our leaders like to call this a war on terror but they haven’t shown the courage to fight that war so we can win it. We shrink from torture or the suggestion that something stands out about a woman wearing a burka in an airport line. Since good people don’t have marks on their foreheads to identify that they are not terrorists and almost all recent terror attacks have been at the hands of Muslims, we need to be a lot less afraid of offending. If the Islamic community doesn’t like it, then it’s time to stop relying on non-Muslims to do the dirty work while accusing us of religious discrimination when we take action.
Is you see something, shut up
Homeland Security’s If You See Something, Say SomethingTM campaign is a blatant contradiction. How do we explain to people that profiling is wrong and Muslims are good people while asking them to be observant and point out things that seem suspicious?
That’s the problem with slapping the “good people” label on the majority of Muslims because of their religion. Even if it is true, not only does belonging to a particular faith not make you a good person, if the religion is Islam it should raise suspicion. That’s how things really work. 31 people in Brussels would agree, if only they could.