Fanning fears of Muslims
works for them
by Joe Conason
Only a few years ago, an angry
political demonstration at ground zero on September 11 would have
been deemed an unthinkable offense not only to the bereaved
families of victims and responders but
to the nation. Yet this anniversary featured a raucous and highly
partisan rally, as well over a thousand
protesters gathered to show their opposition to the Park51 Islamic
center – and to listen to tirades from
Republican politicians and commentators against the Obama
More than a flaky Florida pastor’s cancelled threat to burn the Quran
(or the actual scattered torchings
that took place the same day), the ground zerio rally answered the
question posed repeatedly over the
past few weeks: Why are millions of Americans suddenly caught up in a
torrent of fear and fury over
Islam so strong that both the president and the commanding general of
U.S. forces in Afghanistan have
warned of deadly consequences? What motivates the outpouring of rancor
against Muslims, especially
in the conservative media? How did they escape until now?
The answer is that until the advent of the Obama presidency,
Republicans had no reason to scapegoat
Muslims or demonize Islam -- and indeed, they could not have inflamed
those prejudices without
damaging their own leaders, especially George W. Bush.
Hate and fear have been GOP currency since the Democrats gave Blacks
their civil rights.
That was the last straw for Reagan, Strom Thurmond, Trent Lott and
other former Democrats.
<>He wanted to be sure that every racist in Mississippi knew
that he hated those damn niggers
When Reagan said, "The Democratic
Party left me," he meant, "I hate f-ing
which is why Reagan launched his 1980 campaign in
just as much as they did and he needed their votes to stop "the nigger
Reagan was copying Nixon's "Southern Strategy," which was to divide
"nigger lovers and nigger haters" so he could play on "the
It worked for Nixon, it worked for Reagan.
It worked for Bush the Smarter>
and it worked for Dim Son,
so why would the GOP turn away from a tactic that works?
Hate and fear - it's what's on the GOP's menu.
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