There’s a great dialogue exchange in the movie The American President between the characters played by Michael J. Fox, as presidential aide Lewis Rothschild, and Michael Douglas as President Andrew Shepherd:
Rothschild: “People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they’ll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand.”
President Shepherd: “Lewis, we’ve had presidents who were beloved, who couldn’t find a coherent sentence with two hands and a flashlight. People don’t drink the sand because they’re thirsty. They drink the sand because they don’t know the difference.”
It is a movie. However, in real time, we’re there.
Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA) is an anti-Islamic political movement in Germany begun by Luzz Bachann. Bachmann has numerous criminal convictions, including 16 burglaries, driving drunk without a license and even dealing in cocaine. In 1998, he fled to South Africa to avoid German justice, but was finally extradited and served his 2-year jail sentence. This week, following the tragic terror attacks in Paris where 16 people were murdered by Islamists, PEGIDA had 25,000 people show up at its rally in Dresden, the largest turnout ever, as well as smaller turnouts at several other cities across Germany.
Today, on Breitbart.com, I commented on the danger of groups like PEGIDA in that they “paint with a broad brush” and appeal to our baser human instinct to blame an entire population or group rather than the philosophical underpinnings and bad actors of that population. Such an approach sets the stage for oppression of an entire people. It’s happened many times throughout human history and mostly ironically in Germany where PEGIDA got its start.
It’s also how Adolph Hitler came to power.
What followed my comment on Breitbart.com were many hateful and derogatory responses. I was explicitly and implicitly accused of being, at best, a sympathizer with Islam and, at worst, with the terrorists. Those who responded and simplistically interpreted or dismissed my view (which also included a statement that radical Islam needs to be countered, just not by taking a neo-Nazi approach) actually reinforce the point I was making about allowing bigotry and hate to cloud one’s approach to problem solving.
As with the above quote, people all across the globe are “thirsty for leadership.” We here in the United States are particularly thirsty for it having endured its absence, and the consequences, for far too long. And so we must be careful not to “drink the sand.”
Drinking the sand means rallying behind anyone or any agenda that shows up with a bullhorn to tell you who are causing your problems, why it’s all their fault, and exactly what you should do to eliminate…not the problem… but the people.
The problem with Islamic extremism is that it uses God as its premise to murder and enslave. This isn’t a new tactic. It’s as old as human history. The problem isn’t Islam. It’s the use of selected, antiquated aspects of Islam to justify being barbarians. Historically, its occurred in Judaism (conquering the Canaanites) and in Christianity (the Crusades). However, both Judaism and Christianity evolved beyond such thinking and today their adherents, as a general rule, no longer problem solve with murder. Such is not the case for radical Islam.
So, it’s not all Muslims that need to be eliminated, it’s those principles and tenets of Islam that in any way provide the basis and justification for murder and submission to a dogmatic theology seeking global domination that is combined with an oppressive political agenda.
We must not drink the sand, again. We took our last big gulp of it with “Hope and Change.”
Whether its an individual or an organization, let no one convince you it’s an entire people that is the source of your problems. It’s the perverse principles being taught to people that fills them with hate and causes them to act as barbarians.
Hate won’t solve anything but it will spawn more hatred. Let’s stand against those abhorrent principles without hating the uneducated, the misinformed and the as-yet-evolved.