At the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, twenty innocent people learned first-hand that name calling can kill you.
Though labeling people “witches” in America fell out of fashion centuries ago, those who specialize in character assassination haven’t changed their tactics. Only now their victims are most often called “racists” and “bigots.” And the results can still be lethal.
Not long after the San Bernardino terrorist attack, we learned that the murderous couple’s neighbors knew something was up. It was all those package deliveries and working in the garage late into the night – building an arsenal of small arms, ammunition and pipe bombs.
So why didn’t they say anything?
Well, since the folks next door looked like foreigners, groomed and dressed like devout Muslims, and were named Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, nobody wanted to be labeled as “racist.” No Archie Bunkers in California, please.
And who can blame them? With so many allegations of “Islamophobia” these days, nobody wants to be sued, fired or ostracized from their communities for a false alarm.
Meanwhile, instead of Team Obama taking the sane person’s approach — reminding Americans to be more vigilant, e.g. “if you see something, say something,” they went completely in the opposite direction.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch made her first priority protecting Muslims from any backlash, threatening Justice Department action to punish any hostile speech.
So what’s going on?
Is America really more “racist” and “bigoted” than ever, or do we just hear about it more today?
Perhaps a growing number of progressive politicians and other public figures are making “racism” and “bigotry” a staple of their campaigns and livelihoods. They harp on America’s past sins. Slavery and Jim Crow laws. Decimation of Native Americans. Internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
That’s because it fires up the base to vote and is profitable for non-profits. Just droning on about tax plans and defense budgets can be kind of boring. But elevate a racially or religiously-themed tragic incident to national headlines? Now we’re talking — people can’t wait to vote and donate time and money to causes. “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” Ring a bell?
Yet this ruthless approach to wielding power is actually killing people. Just like it did at Salem, Mass.
But it’s not just American public figures fanning the flames.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is today’s most famous defender of Muslims, from Irving’s “Clock Boy,” to the family of San Bernardino shooters, to countless lesser known cases. Yet not all Muslims agree on their motives and tactics. The United Arab Emirates, one of our closest Gulf allies, has designated it a “terrorist organization” for alleged ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. They’re the proverbial wolves in sheep’s clothing we were warned about as children.
Though CAIR says it only advocates civil rights, so do Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. Yet since Farrakhan asked for 10,000 volunteers to “stalk” and “kill” whites this past August, that doesn’t instill much confidence in the good faith of such groups.
To the contrary, it proves racism and bigotry still exist — and nobody has a monopoly on hate.
Farrakhan may be more extreme, but perhaps some Hollywood limousine liberals aren’t any less racist. You know, like the ones who run Sony Pictures and made snide jokes over e-mail suggesting Obama must like films Django, 12 Years a Slave and The Butler, because they feature black actors.
And while the 9/11, San Bernardino, Ft. Hood, Boston Marathon and Chattanooga killers were motivated by a supremacist ideology, the Charleston shooter who gunned down nine at a black church was just as supremacist.
So society is right to call out racism, bigotry and supremacist ideologies.
At the same time, Americans must wake up to what’s up. Common sense says just do the math. Despite today’s tidal wave of global jihad, their apologists are trying to silence us into submission for the sake of political correctness. Or the sake of killing us. Whether through willful blindness or willing complicity, the results are the same.
Innocents are being slaughtered and human rights are being extinguished across the globe. We’re under siege from a modern version of 1930s Brown Shirts in Nazi Germany, targeting anyone who doesn’t toe the party line.
Islamists and sympathizers would rather we ignore the Global Terrorism Index, which reports nearly 18,000 killed in terrorist attacks in 2013. The top four offenders were the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and the Taliban. All radical Islam-inspired terror groups. Yes, we have every right to challenge and destroy this evil in our midst.
So the next time people loosely throw around charges of “racism” and “bigotry,” perhaps it’s worth bringing up a little colonial Massachusetts history. Even more important than pondering Malcolm X’s revealing anti-American slogan, “we didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, the Rock was landed on us,” the Salem Witch Trials show us words can kill.
J.D. Gordon is a retired Navy Commander and former Pentagon spokesman who served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2005-2009.