This hysterical fear, this hysterical crap, poop, muck, slime, rubbish, garbage, insert your favorite four-letter descriptive term here -- It. Has. To. Stop.
This week since the San Bernadino shootings has been filled with news items about K-1 visas, radicalization, immigration policies, Muslims, terrorists, and fear, fear, fear. Donald Trump wants to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. Today, a CBS News/New York Times poll reports that 79% of Americans believe that a terrorist attack is likely or somewhat likely in the next few months. Count me in that 79%. I do think we are going to get hit by a 9/11 style attack sometime soon.
The word "terrorist" has as its root word "terror." Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines "terror" as 1) a state of intense fear; 2a) one that inspires fear, 2b) a frightening aspect, 2c) a cause of anxiety, 2d) an appalling person or thing ("brat" is listed as a synonym here; my sister can testify that I was a terror in my younger years.); 3) violent or destructive acts (as bombing) committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands.
"Terrorize", according to Merriam-Webster, means: 1) to fill with terror or anxiety, 2) to coerce by threat or violence.
"Terrorism" is defined as "the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion".
"Terrorist" is defined as "a person who uses terrorism in the pursuit of political aims".
We are living in fear. We are living in terror, in that state of intense fear and anxiety. We are ripe for being terrorized, to being coerced by threat or violence. And there are those who are going to exploit that fear for their own personal gain. There are the terrorists, who will use terror systematically to coerce people into doing what they want. There are the politicians, who will use the fear of terrorists to push through their own agenda.
I don't want to be naive. There are terrorists out there who want to kill Americans. There are at least four groups of Muslim terrorists--ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas--who regularly use acts of terror and threats of terror to intimidate and coerce the population into doing what they want. The two people who shot up a holiday party in San Bernadino were "radicalized" Muslims who may have been inspired by ISIS (i.e., not necessarily ordered by ISIS to do this shooting but who thought it was a good idea to do it; and who may have been planning other attacks as well). I believe there are Muslim terrorists in this country who want to kill Americans and they may be planning to do so.
I also believe there are other terrorists, not Muslims, who want to use acts of terror to intimidate and coerce people to do what they want. (If you take this definition to its logical conclusion, bullies can be classed as terrorists as well.) If someone is suspected of being a terrorist, they need to be investigated. If a mosque is promoting terrorism, it needs to be investigated. (Same with a church or synagogue.) If a suspected terrorist wants to get into the US, he or she needs to be kept OUT until it can be proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, that this person is not a terrorist.
I do understand the need for thorough vetting of those coming from the Middle East. And, unfortunately, I do get the impression that this current administration is more interested in protecting the reputation of Muslims than protecting the safety of all Americans, Muslims included. And I am tired of this undercurrent of political correctness in this country that makes people afraid to level legitimate criticism towards members of certain ethnic, religious, political, or other groups for fear of being "offensive". Guess what: there are times when some people NEED to be offended!
But this hysterical fear, this hysterical crap, this frenzy, these screams of "No more Muslims, they're all terrorists!", "No more refugees, they all want to come and bomb us!", "Close all mosques, they're nothing but hotbeds of terrorism!" -- It. Has. To. Stop.
Not long ago, I was listening to a Spotify playlist, "All Out '80's", when I came across a song by John Farnham that expresses much of what I am trying to say here. I've posted the video below. The lyrics are here. Please read them.
I refuse to live in silence. I refuse to live in fear. If we live in silence, if we live in fear, the terrorists have already won, just as surely as if they have bombed us into submission.
Just my .04, adjusted for inflation.