Of Tolerance and Terrorists

The threat of the so-called "crotch bomber" has led once again to some of America's worst impulses. Instead of pulling together after these trying events, people are calling for a certain group of people to be singled out and excluded. That group, of course, is our latest scapegoat: terrorists.

People fear terrorists, so they don't try to understand them and therefore remain ignorant of their ways -- or maybe people are ignorant of terrorists and thus fear them. What is certain is that the combination of fear and ignorance in regards to terrorists leads to hate. Unless the hate leads to the fear and the ignorance -- or it occurs somewhere between the two. Anyway, whenever terrorists are brought up in this country, there is some sort of mixture of fear, ignorance, and hate, and it is eroding America's soul.

Just listen to the rhetoric we often hear about terrorists:

"We should lock up terrorists."

"Terrorists shouldn't be in this country."

"I hope the government is keeping a close watch on terrorists."

"We should hunt down and kill terrorists."

"I hope this restaurant doesn't serve terrorists."

"Terrorists shouldn't be allowed to vote."

"I don't want my daughter marrying a terrorist."

Does any of that sound familiar? Of course it does. Those are the same hateful things that used to be said about many other minority groups. It's almost like we're regressing. Any day now, there'll probably be a proposal for America to have separate drinking fountains for terrorists. Haven't we learned these lessons already?

How about instead of getting all worked up and screaming for blood, we actually think about things for a minute? I know there are those Bible-thumpers who are completely immune to logic, as they're convinced that their invisible sky fairy told them that blowing up people is wrong, but hopefully you and I can be more rational about this.

Terrorists are people just like you and me. The difference is that they are people who like to blow up other people; that's a cultural difference, something we should be sophisticated enough to overcome. I guess we "civilized" people have decided that those ways are weird and wrong; thus you see so many people thinking it's okay to belittle and make fun of the most recent terrorist because of his exploding underwear. Yet we know if some indigenous people worked hard on some beautiful jewelry, it would be pure arrogance to just laugh at it and call it stupid. So why is it okay to mock the similar effort of terrorists in their exploding wearables?