by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
December 8, 2015
THE MOUTH OF BABES
BRADENTON, Fla., Dec. 8, 2015 -- Donald Trump has proposed that people of the Muslim faith be barred from immigrating to or even entering the United States. His Republican opponents for the GOP 2016 presidential nomination have almost universally condemned him for it, as have hundreds of groups representing ethnicities, religions and social justice. Has he gone too far?
Trump's statements have kept him atop the news cycle and the polls since he joined the presidential race and declared that while "some" Mexicans may be "good," others are criminals who rape, bring drugs and murder Americans. Even after NBC shut down his Miss Universe pageant, as did Univision, and Macy's stopped selling his ties and other accoutrements, Trump did not apologize. Soon, his ratings soared, and in the last, highly-respected CNN/ORC survey, 36% of those surveyed supported him, a 20% lead over his nearest Republican rival.
This morning, news reports say he was warmly cheered when he repeated his proposal, first made in a press release, to 400 supporters on a great American battleship at New York's South Street Seaport. The New York Times pointed out that he made the statement shortly after a Monday-morning Monmouth University poll showed him behind Sen. Ted Cruz by a few points in Iowa for the first time since polling began there for the 2016 race. Later that afternoon, after the press release, he was back on top, the Times noted.
As winner of a landmark First Amendment case on free speech, Shea v. Reno (see Wikipedia for more), I feel gladly compelled to defend the Donald's right to say anything he likes, especially in the political arena, where the most controversial speech is highly protected by our Constitution.
I certainly don't have to agree with him. The crazy standards of political correctness, which I suppose were devised not so much to squelch such speech but to prevent the rise of an Adolf Hitler, who, saying anything he liked, roused an entire nation to hate members of the Jewish world, whom he then proceeded to murder en masse, are not entirely a bad thing. But its misuse has led to its popular ridicule, especially on the right, where holding one's tongue is not a popular endeavor.
I find it hard to contemplate any religious test for virtually anything. I am a religious Catholic, opposed to abortion but not to same-sex marriage, divorced but still availing myself of communion, and not afraid to cross myself in public when it seems like a prayer is needed.
When my father took my brother and myself down to the YMCA in Marietta, Ga., in the vain hope of keeping (principally) me out of trouble, we were told we could not join the Y because we were Catholics, as opposed, apparently, to Christians. That is not a distinction modern people make anymore, of course, and while it wasn't exactly devastating to me, at least now I can say that I, too, have felt the cool hand of religious discrimination.
At the same time, I want to declare my disdain for and aversion to social engineering. It's my belief that in a well-intentioned effort to be fair, academics and immigration authorities and politicians have steadily approved an increase in the number of Asian, Hispanic, African and Middle Eastern immigrants to this country - thereby noticeably changing its vast and far-from-homogenous culture - while granting access to a far smaller number of the northern Europeans who stole this nation from the Indians and built it into the best and mightiest in the world, if I may show my bias.
I lived in India for a while, and the people there were very kind to me. Yet I am still mystified that every customer care center I call is located in India or the Philippines, where I also lived, and that every 7-Eleven I visit is run either by Indians or Koreans. I never visited a single shop or public facility in India or Mexico or The Philippines or Ireland or England or Italy or France or Turkey or Iran or Pakistan or Peru that was run by an American. This doesn't seem quite right to me, and like many of life's small ills, it niggles at me every once in a while. As my Jewish friends might say, "What am I? Gefilte fish?" Why don't Americans have the same rights that their immigrants want to have in our country?
Donald Trump, like a bull in a china shop, speaks to all that. But in speaking of erecting a religious barrier to Muslims, he has indeed gone too far. He is wrong. He is uncivil. And he needs to shut his big mouth about it. He appears not to understand how easy it is to "radicalize" the American people with intemperate, racist and dangerous speech.
Barring Muslims based on their faith, denying them rights other nationalities and faiths enjoy and that are the very purpose of the Constitution, is beyond the pale. It's been called many things, "outrageous" most frequently, and he needs to withdraw the suggestion or withdraw himself from the presidential race, for no matter how profoundly we value free speech, we must never elect anyone to any public post who would deliberately infringe on religious freedom.
That said, I have enjoyed and liked Donald Trump and his improbable campaign. I find him much preferable to all but Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina and Lindsey Graham on the Republican side, and to all but Hillary among the Democrats (I am a Democrat). I like his battle against, and intolerance, for political correctness; I agree with him that our borders are far too porous - to Mexicans and anyone else, including ISIS folks - and that we basically get cheated in virtually every trade deal we enter into.
I do want our jobs and manufacturers to come back to America, I support the tax relief needed to make that happen, and I want the regulatory regime throughout the United States to be far more cognizant of the economic impact it has and to act upon it accordingly. So Donald Trump and I, and a host of other politicians of both parties, by the way, are on the same page, and so are a great number of Americans. I surely do not apologize for these beliefs.
But the problem is that too few of those in public office who agree with me speak for beliefs like these, and Trump does so, loud and clear. The rest of his opponents seem mealy-mouthed in contrast, and while that pleases the PC police immensely, it deprives us all of a necessary voice, and that is unsafe.
Sooner or later, all those suppressed voices will coalesce into one great roar; it is up to you and I to ensure that roar is not "Sieg Heil." Let us all speak up then, and give our nation's history and ideals its due, and allow our collective sense of Americanism to become forever the gold standard of freedom.
Joe Shea founded The American Reporter in April 1995, and has served as Editor-in-Chief since then. Write him at email@example.com.