Nothing better illustrates the anti-democratic essence of anti-Muslim bigotry than the remarks made by Tennessee State Representative Rick Womick’s remarks that Muslims should be banned from the military, and if they don’t like it, then “they can go back to where they came from.”
Exactly; after all, as everyone knows, using freedom guaranteed in the Constitution to question policy is a grave threat to the Constitution and should therefore be expelled from the United States. There is that annoying little fact, that many Muslims are actually born here and that he/she will probably not like Womick’s idea. What to do … oh, I know, send them to concentration camps where they’ll learn the true meaning of freedom.
Now, because of this blog’s opposition to what we call neocolonialism, we feel that Muslims – or anyone for that matter – have no place in the military. It’s the armed expression of Empire and it’s job is to enforce imperial dictum by removing disobedient regimes while terrorizing recalcitrant populations.
In short, don’t be all that you can be.
With that said, the military is a public institution paid for by our tax dollars. Therefore, as long as we’re paying for it, we shouldn’t pay for discrimination, whether it’s against gays/lesbians or Muslims, or whatever minority that’s got right-wingers losing their little minds. As a matter of principle, public institutions shouldn’t discriminate – even evil institutions; today it’s the military, tomorrow it’s segregated lines at airports.
But it’s the essence of what Womick is talking about that’s important here. What he’s essentially saying is “I’m using Islam to gut the constitution and democracy. If you don’t like my anti-democratic ideas, then leave so my devolved system can remain intact.” It’s as much about a contempt for freedom and the first amendment as it is about a religion that makes up one percent of the population; if not more so. That contempt drives an authoritarian and reactionary agenda that seeks to overthrow a system based on Enlightenment principles and replace it with a new order.
The question, then, is what exactly is Womick’s agenda:
“WOMICK: Now you explain to me the more radical point. We have a whole culture who outright comes out and says, ‘we are authorized, we are commanded by a God, a false God, to kill everyone who won’t convert.’ Versus one nutjob over in Norway –
CLIFTON: Sorry, you said Allah is a false God?
WOMICK: Yep, absolutely. Absolutely he’s a false God. There’s only one God: Jehovah. And the son, Christ Jesus who died on the Cross. Now because I believe that, I have a Fatwa on my head. I will never convert to Islam. Allah is not a real God.”
That’s right, Allah is not a real god – Jesus is, a fact that Womick can scientifically prove beyond a reasonable doubt as sure as the Earth is round. In other words, he’s a Christian supremacist. The problem is that large numbers of Americans aren’t, so in order to institute a Christian theocracy, it’s necessary to raise the specter of a Muslim bogeyman to scare people into wanting a dictatorship they otherwise wouldn’t accept.
If this looks familiar, it should – the Muslim conspiracy has all the hallmarks of classical antisemitism that demagogues used to gain wealth and power, as well as a convenient scapegoat for the masses to rationalize their fears around conspiracy theories. Instead of taking over the world via finance and the media, it’s implementing Shari’a law and building mosques, which people like Womick are trying to prevent.
What Womick represents is how firmly anti-Muslim bigotry/Christian supremacism is embedded within the Republican party, a fact that’s reinforced by the current slate of Republican candidates and how they’re influenced by far right anti-Muslim activists. The Republicans aren’t a fascist party, but they can function as a conduit for anti-democratic racists like David Yerushalmi to influence policy.
And that policy is to erode the freedom they claim Muslims are trying to take away; when someone like Womick says “fear the Muslim,” he’s really saying, “fear your freedom.”