Identity politics has pushed us to relate to issues in black and white terms. Gone are the grey areas that most often define life, the stuff from which true moral clarity is built.
One of the most irrational consequences of this current state of our national polity is the pressure to “take sides” in the fight against radical Islam.
Yet, Islamist terrorists do not differentiate their bullets, aiming only at their conservative/Republican detractors while sparing their liberal/Democratic enablers.
(In an ironic admission of this reality, the left-wing, pro-immigrant government of Austria is currently building concrete-enforced security wall around their government buildings to stave off suicide truck bombings.)
So, why has radical Islam become a partisan issue? Although psychologists have shown us that human beings have the capacity to live with enormous amounts of cognitive dissonance, the truth is that under a sharia regime – as envisioned by both violent and non-violent Islamists—freedoms that liberals take for granted (freedom of speech, religion, press and political protest, not to mention gender equality) would be taken away.
Yet, living under sharia law, with all its totalitarian trappings, is the self-declared Utopian dream of Islamists supported by the left — from CAIR (the Council on American Islamic Relations) to Linda Sarsour to Hamas and ISIS (even though many sharia-proponents would disagree with ISIS’ vision of a sharia society).
There are a number of factors that have contributed to this partisan divide.
Fear of being labeled a racist
The premise of the American civil rights movement was that the color of a person’s skin made no difference in their character, intelligence or equality under the law. Somewhere, that theory got hijacked and diverted into today’s identity politics.
Islamist groups have capitalized on this phenomenon, framing the fight against radical Islam as a “race issue” and labelling all those who oppose them as Islamophobes.
That’s why those on the left will not talk about radical Islam or Islamist terror but rather will only mention “violent extremism” or the “fight against terrorism.”
To confuse the issue, Islamists themselves will often call out ISIS and acts of terrorism.
Yet, for fear of being called racist, those on the left of this partisan divide refrain from calling out Islamists for supporting sharia law and their goal of instituting a global sharia government.
It’s is easy to be against ISIS (since there is no political fallback from this position) — and even easier to shy away from talking about radical or political Islam with all its inevitable consequences.
The chilling effect of this partisan divide can be felt in all aspects of our modern society – from campus politics (where a social media against ISIS can result in a student being investigated for a hate crime) to the mainstream media (which chooses to ignore inconvenient facts about terror attacks) to the government (e.g. editing the transcripts of the Orlando bomber or calling the attack on Fort Hood “workplace violence”) to YouTube and Google shutting down anti-Islamist voices.
Moreover, shaming in our day can be brought to an entirely different proportion than in previous times because of our technological ability to instantaneously magnify any voice through social media platforms.
And in the playing field of Twitter, where nuance has been sacrificed to shorter, more biting quips, 140 characters is all one is granted to convey one’s message (both to those who would like to voice an opinion and those who would jump on it to denounce the messenger to the world or leak his personal whereabouts).
Currently American streets are experiencing an astonishing example of a budding totalitarian movement — Antifa, a group that openly justifies and promotes violence and shutting down any voice that is at odds with their agenda.
We live in a world where Islamist groups supporting Hamas purport themselves as Muslim human rights groups, and where those who dare to call out their totalitarian agenda have their names blackened.
It’s time to drop partisan politics and address the real issue.