2 out of 4, at least

One of the the major themes in US history, at least since the New Deal, is security. The Four Freedoms are, of course, are all about this. Freedom of Religion and Freedom of speech are about security from outside harm – the promise that you will be secure in your conscience and opinions. Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear are about security from more nebulous things – the security to determine the course of ones own life, free from the strictures of either deprivation or terror. While they’re not found in the Constitution, they’re representative of a fairly strong current in American political philosophy.

I mention them because they are ideals, not guarantees, and they’re constantly under assault – we work against them by both sins of omission and commission. Recently, though, American Muslims have had those freedoms attacked. I just wanted to mention this, because if we look the other way, if we assume that they are less deserving of protection than any other citizen, then we sin in the same way that, say, the 3/5th compromise or the Plessey decision did. The nakedness of the xenophobia in the attacks on mosques or plans to build them, or the recent attacks on birthright citizenship, isn’t shocking, but it ought to fill all of us, as Americans and as human beings, with a cold rage. The smallness of spirit those attacks show is amplified by the fact that the claim to be about defending some higher cause, as if that makes it unquestionable and pure.

They ought to be ashamed. We ought to be ashamed that it’s come to this.

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