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Featured Opinion

The coward’s way

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Know a sentence you never hear anyone say?

“Boy, that discrimination really worked out for us.”

Think about it. Thousands of years of discrimination based on race, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation and heritage, but no one ever looks back on any of it and thinks about how great it all was.

That’s especially true in the US.

No one ever fondly remembers the time we turned away Jewish refugees trying to escape Hitler. Or happily brings up the days when whites used to not drink from the same fountain as blacks. Or tells their kids bedtime stories about the days of locking up Japanese-Americans in camps.

Instead, we think about how terrible it all was and we make excuses for family members who participated in such deplorable acts.

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“That’s just the way it was.”

“They didn’t mean anything by it.”

“They just didn’t know any better.”

That’s because these were shameful moments in our country’s history. And it usually takes us only a few years before the overwhelming majority of people realize it.

So, why is it so hard for people to realize it when it’s happening?

Like right now, with Donald Trump’s (not really, but really) ban on Muslims from the super-scary countries where he’s not doing business.

How is it that everyone can’t flash-forward to the 2037 6th-grade history classroom, where the children are being taught – probably via teacher hologram or something – about the awful time in American history when a president attempted a religious test on refugees and banned people from certain countries?

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It’s fairly easy to see coming.

Then there will be a movie, in which all of you who are supportive of this ban will be cast in the same light as the white, southern guys in today’s civil rights movies who spit on the black marchers.

Because that’s the eternal ridicule you deserve.

And you deserve that ridicule because living a bigotry-free life really isn’t all that hard. You only need to follow two rules: 1. Treat others the way you would want to be treated, and 2. Don’t believe stupid, untrue things.

Oh, what a wonderful world this would be if people would only follow those rules. I could spend my days writing columns about bass fishing or something.

Instead, here I sit, in the Bigotry Capitol, trying to understand why the country is becoming more like Alabama instead of less like us.

I mean, look around. What’s the draw? Surely there aren’t people saying, “You know, Alabama has a lot of bigots and look how well it’s doing.”

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I think the problem – the disconnect, so to speak – is that that our standard, usual replies to bigotry and racism don’t affect the bigots and racists in the proper ways. These are not rational people and we are attempting to rationalize with them.

Instead, these folks most often respond more to emotion and simple explanations.

So, maybe it’s time to – as my elders often say – put this hay down where the goats can reach it. In other words, let’s stop beating around the bush and explain it plainly.

Like all of the other instances of racism and bigotry, Trump’s Muslim ban is based on fear. And if you buy into it, you are a coward.

You are a coward who is making America less safe.

Your childlike fears of the boogeyman largely created by fake news organizations has led you to disregard the Constitution of this country and the laws which have helped to make this country the greatest and safest on earth. You are aiding the very people who want to attack us by demonstrating that Americans aren’t the loving, accepting, free people that we claim, but are instead hypocrites who preach one thing to the world and then practice something very different.

America and real Americans will overcome this momentary glitch in our history – of this, I’m certain – and the good people of the country will win out, just as they always do.

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The only question is how much damage the cowards will do before it’s corrected and how much shame we’ll all be left with.

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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