Politico.com: Today, Muslims; Tomorrow, You
by Roger Simon (Politico)
The return of Ask Dr. Politics! A forum for civil exchange in a civil society.
Dear Dr. Politics: Why are you such a jerk? You call Herman Cain “hateful” for wanting to protect Americans from Muslim militants who want to kill us. It’s you who is hateful!
Reply: Let’s look at the record. This is from PolitiFact.com, a Pulitzer Prize-winning, nonpartisan fact-checking organization that examines the statements of public figures. PolitiFact gives Cain its lowest rating, judging his statements on this issue “not accurate” and “ridiculous.”
Let’s start with Cain’s comments in a March 21 article in Christianity Today.
“And based upon the little knowledge that I have of the Muslim religion, you know, they have an objective to convert all infidels or kill them,” Cain said.
On May 26, a blogger for ThinkProgress.org asked Cain: “Would you be comfortable appointing a Muslim either in your Cabinet or as a federal judge?”
“No, I will not,” Cain replied. “And here’s why. There is this creeping attempt, there’s this attempt to gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government. It does not belong in our government.”
A few days later, Cain went on “Your World With Neil Cavuto” on Fox News.
“A reporter asked me, would I appoint a Muslim to my administration. I did say, ‘No,’” Cain said. “And here’s why. … I would have to have people totally committed to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. And many of the Muslims, they’re not totally dedicated to this country.”
Then, in Monday’s CNN debate, moderator John King accurately asked Cain about his statement that he would not appoint a Muslim to his Cabinet.
Cain replied that he never said that — only that he would not be “comfortable” appointing a Muslim to his Cabinet. This contradicted Cain’s statement to Cavuto.
“And I would not be comfortable because you have peaceful Muslims and then you have militant Muslims, those that are trying to kill us,” Cain said during the debate. “And so, when I said I wouldn’t be comfortable, I was thinking about the ones that are trying to kill us, No. 1. Secondly, yes, I do not believe in Sharia law in American courts.”
In my column on the debate, I called this not only “incoherent nonsense” but also “hateful, incoherent nonsense.”
But you want to know what’s worse? As an excellent editorial in The New York Times pointed out Tuesday, “None of the other candidates took [Cain] to task for this. Mitt Romney, a Mormon who has himself been the subject of religious slurs, at least mentioned the nation’s founding principle of religious tolerance and respect but missed an opportunity to include Muslims. Newt Gingrich tumbled over the historical cliff with the idea, announcing some kind of loyalty oath to serve in his administration, similar to that used in dealing with Nazis and Communists.”
I don’t know if Monday’s debate will be quickly forgotten, replaced in our memories by a jumble of other debates, but I am going to remember it as the debate in which the entire Republican field to date refused to speak out for Muslim-Americans. They refused to speak out for the ones fighting for America in our armed forces, for the ones serving in Congress and for the ones living peaceful, productive and, yes, American lives.
The silence of these candidates was an act of cowardice.
Keep in mind these famous words when it comes to failing to speak out for people who are unpopular. They are by Martin Niemoller, a Lutheran pastor, and they are famous enough that even Republican candidates for president should know them. Niemoller was speaking of the courage it took to remain a decent human being in Nazi Germany:
“First they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
“Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
“Then they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Communist.
“Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
Niemoller was arrested in 1937 and sent to Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps for “not being enthusiastic enough about the Nazi movement.” He was eventually liberated by the Fifth U.S. Army on May 5, 1945. He died in 1984 in Wiesbaden, Germany.
Do I regret the remarks I made about Herman Cain? I do not. Anyone who won’t speak out for those unjustly despised is despicable.
You want to live in a country that has a litmus test for Muslims? You want to live in a country that demands loyalty oaths from Muslims?
Fine. Today, it will be the Muslims. Tomorrow, it will be you.
How badly do these candidates want to be president? Badly enough to shred the Constitution to get the job? No job is worth that, not even president.
They should be ashamed of themselves. I certainly am ashamed of them.
Dear Dr. Politics: I notice you are now on Twitter under the name @politicoroger. Don’t you find that Twitter is divorced from reality?
Reply: Twitter is reality. Everything else is an illusion.
Roger Simon is POLITICO’s chief political columnist.
Original post: Today, Muslims; Tomorrow, You