September 29, 2015 by gregrabidoux2013
This was the question posed to GOP Presidential candidate and one-time neurosurgeon, Ben Carson recently on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Mr. Carson, at least initially, responded with an emphatic “NO.”
In fact, he went further.
NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Carson, “Do you believe that Islam is consistent with the Constitution?”
The good doctor replied, “I would not advocate that we ever put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”
In the last several days (9/26-9/30) the Carson Campaign has been backpedaling from these initial comments due to a backlash from Muslim Americans, a few fellow GOP contenders (most notably Rand Paul) and media commentators.
Well, sort of backpedaling. Let’s say backpedaling with a big grin on their collective face.
Well, in my previous Blog I suggested that early primaries are more about courting the affections of Big Money than actually courting votes at this stage.
And Holy Greenbacks, Carson’s comments sure opened up the floodgates of Christian (I assume) money. According to his campaign manager, within 24 hours of his anti-Mulsim rhetoric they received $1 million in donations. And Ben “Money-Bags” Carson actually laughed this morning at a reporter’s question about his stance on this issue, saying as he has on other occasions, “The money’s coming in so fast we can hardly keep track of it.”
OK. One, he now knows what it’s like to be Trump. Two, probably not the image you want to convey to voters struggling to make their mortgage payment or to the ever watchful eyes of the FEC.
Still. A little exclusionary talk can go a long way to making your campaign team feel downright giddy. As one aide confided recently to the media, “This may have been the best thing that could have happened to us.”
Allahu Akbar (God is Great) Indeed.
But what about the answer and position that sparked the backlash and exploded the Carson “money bomb?”
Certainly, the Founders of this Nation made it clear that religious freedom, even the freedom to NOT believe should be protected and forever enshrined in our US Constitution via the First Amendment. Right alongside, actually even before, free speech. And that any “religious test” was to be forbidden as a prerequisite or qualification to become president.
But let’s not kid ourselves here. Protecting a right and forbidding a test both say what “can’t” happen. It can be silent on what should not happen.
And Americans at the moment, and ever since a fateful 11th Day of September in our history, are resoundingly not silent when it comes to their views on Muslims.
No, the vast majority of Americans say, (over 76% according to a recent poll) a Muslim should not become president.
What’s going on here? We, Americans, are usually and infamously short on memory and quick to forgive. So, why are we segregating Muslims everywhere for a tougher, arguably un-American treatment?
Well, for one, recent Gallup Polls also suggest that unlike any other religion or even race for that matter, Americans equate Muslims with extremism, terrorism and anti-American fervor.
Ah, yes, the Jihad, and “Death to American Infidels” I keep hearing about and seeing.
But the numbers, what do the numbers say, if, anything?
- Well, there are an estimated 1.8 billion Muslims in the world and that number continues to rise each year.
- There are currently 2.8 million Muslims in the US and that number is projected to grow to 7.2 million within 15 years
- 100,000 Muslims immigrants enter the US legally each year, making that bloc the fastest growing legal immigrant population to the US
- Muslims from the Middle East and particularly, Saudi Arabia, make up the fastest growing foreign student population coming to the US to study
- 91.4% of all Muslim asylees to the US are under the poverty level and currently on food stamp programs
And then there are places like Dearborn, Michigan that cause many Americans a sleepless night.
An estimated 40,000 Muslims reside in Dearborn which has a population of about 100,00. A leaked government document recently suggests that they believe there are more folks on the federal terrorist watch list in Dearborn than in any other city in the country other than the Big Apple. And that it’s not some random coincidence.
But perhaps, “BC 2015” (Ben Carson) said it best in his most recent “tweaked” comments about Muslims and the Oval Office. Yesterday, he claimed that he “didn’t care what someone’s religion is, it’s just that Muslim values are not American values.”
And that my friends may actually be getting us somewhere closer to the more naked and unrobed truth about Muslims and how many Americans see them. “They,” as my former neighbor used to say, “can get all clean shaven and wear as many polo shirts and jeans as they want…they will simply never be one of us.”
Now, knowing my former neighbor somewhat, I can safely assume he meant Americans over all and not necessarily his own “Git ‘er done” crowd. Cuz, I am hard pressed to imagine most Muslims rocking the sleeveless t-shirt with the “Obama This” sign, drinking from a Duck Dynasty beer mug and chomping down antacids at a local BBQ but I’ve been unforgivably wrong before.
Still, as much as I hate to admit it, my neighbor may have hit upon a truth. Different religions with different cultures and different wardrobes with clearly opposing views on things like the role of women in society don’t help bridge the divide. That, added to the fact that the large majority of Americans get their perception about Muslims from what they see on the news from groups like ISIS who quote from the Quran as they behead an American or western “infidel” while releasing videos that call for the destruction of America don’t help either.
Yet, when Mr. Carson laughs with glee as he and his campaign staff count and put rubber bands around their campaign dollars I can’t but help think of the thousands of Muslim Americans who live, work and pray here just like the vast majority of other Americans. And whom seem to want nothing more than a better life for their children in a safe, prosperous and peaceful nation. You know, just like you and I.
Still, there’s a world of difference between can and should, isn’t there?