Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I don't even know you...

What is happening to this country? In a recent survey conducted by researchers at Cornell Univery, 44% of Americans surveyed favored restrictions on the civil liberties of Muslim-Americans. The survey also found that Republicans and those that described themselves as highly religious were more apt to support curtailing civil liberties.

What ever happend to learning from our mistakes? Ummm...anyone ever heard of the Holocaust...or the Japanese Internment Camps? The study is revealing for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it speaks to the pervasive nature of racism in this country. Just because the KKK doesn't openly wander around terrorizing communities doesn't mean that the sentiments that fueled its original formation no longer exist. If the survey is any indication, racism is a live and ready to stick out its little ugly, deformed face. Secondly, the findings speak volumes about how short-sighted and self-involved Americans are. When American can't even be bothered to extend equitable civil liberties to its own citizens, how can the global community expect us to design foreign policy that is inclusive rather than isolationist?

This should be a huge warning sign for all of you civil liberties loving, tree-hugging, believers of equality and social justice. The country is becoming a scary place. We have to be one our toes to ensure that our civil liberties are not slowly chipped away. The gay rights movement, the pro-choice movement, environmentalism...all contribute to the safe-guarding of our civil liberties. We have to ensure that a dialogue of descent continues in the public forum. We can't just shut off the TV when something upsetting occurs. We have to exercise our voice and say things that aren't always pretty. We have to rage at times...and I'm not talking about raging in anger and fear and misguided aggression...a la faux-metal grunge testotaronie Ozzefest attendees...I'm talking about raging for social change...raging out of a place of compassion and hope. Raging for not only the safety of my Muslim-American friends but for my own safety. Some of you think I'm joking when I talk about my precarious position as a Korean-American; how I worry that I'm next on the list of "enemies against America." But think about it. What if Kim Jung-Il of North Korea was behind 9-11? It's not that big a leap of logic.

Back in elementary school, when I was first introduced to the events of the Holocaust, I remember thinking "But how could the German people allow such horrid things to happen? Didn't they try to stop it?" Yeah...I get a feeling that the slippery slope we as a country are heading down is not all that dissimilar from the ride taken by the German people.

So, the question then is, WHAT DO WE DO?

No comments: