Just how disconnected are Republicans from reality? In his desperation to slam President Obama on Tuesday, former Governor and first-ever Secretary of Der Homeland Security Tom Ridge blamed Obama for the fear of Muslims that has gripped so many Americans. On MTP Daily, Chuck Todd asked Ridge to reassure those Americans, and Ridge literally cited the exact speech in which Obama did that in order to claim that he wishes Obama had done that:
Chuck Todd: What do you say to Mr. and Mrs. America that doesn’t know many people who are Muslim, and only sees the reports? Make them feel better.
Tom Ridge: Chuck, I think that’s a wonderful question. And the person that should have addressed that is the incumbent president of the United Statesm and he had an opportunity to do that a couple of days ago. Remember, this is a president that drew a red line and then ignored it. But I would have encouraged the President, if he had called me about the context of that speech, is draw the red line, and talk about the hundreds of millions of law-abiding, peace-loving Muslims, not only among the 8 million Muslims in this country, but around the world. And on the other side of that line are the radicals, these fundamentalists, extremists who have wrapped themselves in this perverted ideology and interpretation of the Koran. He’s the individual that should have allayed the fears about the good Muslim men and women and children in this country.
For whatever reason, Chuck Todd just let it drift, but in the speech that Ridge was talking about, that he wished Obama would have called him about for advice, President Obama said the exact fucking thing Ridge says he didn’t say! I mean, like Ridge wrote it himself!
We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam. That, too, is what groups like ISIL want. ISIL does not speak for Islam. They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death, and they account for a tiny fraction of more than a billion Muslims around the world — including millions of patriotic Muslim Americans who reject their hateful ideology. Moreover, the vast majority of terrorist victims around the world are Muslim. If we’re to succeed in defeating terrorism we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away through suspicion and hate.
That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. This is a real problem that Muslims must confront, without excuse. Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and al Qaeda promote; to speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.
But just as it is the responsibility of Muslims around the world to root out misguided ideas that lead to radicalization, it is the responsibility of all Americans — of every faith — to reject discrimination. It is our responsibility to reject religious tests on who we admit into this country. It’s our responsibility to reject proposals that Muslim Americans should somehow be treated differently. Because when we travel down that road, we lose. That kind of divisiveness, that betrayal of our values plays into the hands of groups like ISIL. Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes — and, yes, they are our men and women in uniform who are willing to die in defense of our country. We have to remember that.
Ridge, like almost every other Republican, is desperate to explain way the massive popularity of Donald Trump’s racist carnival, but really? It’s Obama’s fault because he didn’t explain the difference between good Muslims and bad Muslims? Even though he did? I guess you can’t blame him for trying to sell it, but Chuck Todd ought not to have bought it.