Last Friday, a lone gunman entered two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, opening fire and killing 50. All of these people were innocent Muslims who were simply partaking in Friday prayer. As a result, many politicians across the globe are calling to end hate towards Muslims and increase gun control. Particularly in the United States, though, most of these voices are wildly inconsistent. The majority of Congress, according to voting records and funding they accept, cares very little for Muslims. Or, at least, they have no regard for the ones overseas. In reality, it looks like quite a few politicians are simply using Muslims as a tool to ban guns.
Without a doubt, the social media statements of officials play a key role in American politics. Though not in any way legally binding, of course, influence still exists. Especially with popular rulers, words can inspire many people and be an important voice in times of turmoil. But take this as a fair and hopefully unsurprising word of advice: don’t believe everything they tell you.
Don’t Fall for the Sympathy for Muslims
Since the New Zealand tragedy, countless politicians have voiced their support for the community. Many have joined together to condemn hatred, Islamophobia, and xenophobia. But some, including Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Dianne Feinstein, have clear past actions that don’t quite line up with their statements. Below are each of their tweets.
Heartbroken by the news from Christchurch. My thoughts and condolences are with the families. We stand together with our friends in New Zealand to condemn hate, bigotry and xenophobia wherever it occurs.
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) March 15, 2019
Whether it is antisemitism in Pittsburgh, racism in Charlottesville, or the xenophobia and Islamophobia today in Christchurch, violent hate is on the march at home and abroad. We cannot stand by as mosques are turned into murder scenes.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) March 15, 2019
My heart breaks for New Zealand & the global Muslim community. We must continue to fight the perpetuation and normalization of Islamophobia and racism in all its forms.
White supremacist terrorists must be condemned by leaders everywhere. Their murderous hatred must be stopped.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 15, 2019
Now, at a simple look, it appears that all of these statements are benevolent and caring. Maybe they are. Nobody except for those three people is inside of their heads, and we can’t exactly guarantee their mental states; the very notion is scientifically impossible. Unfortunately for these politicians, though, we can come really close. It doesn’t look good for them.
Back in 2001 and 2003, Feinstein, Clinton, and Biden were all United States Senators. On two fateful days, these three voted in favor of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Since then, their votes have majorly contributed to the deaths of over half a million people. Admittedly, there was no way for them to know the exact death toll, but it was blatantly obvious that tens of thousands at least would perish; that’s how war works. But these three, along with many others, voted for it anyway, showing a complete disregard for Muslim lives. It is an absolute insult to Muslim communities for any politician who enabled mass slaughter to pretend to suddenly care.
Your Guns, On the Line
Since the Christchurch attacks, the New Zealand government has taken some extensive gun control action. On Wednesday, the legislature approved Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s measures, making the ban on most semi-automatic weapons permanent. This comes in spite of the fact that New Zealand, with its relatively lax previous gun laws, had quite low crime rates.
Following these actions, the gun control debate in the United States has reignited itself. Though neither party is a champion of gun rights, and neither is the NRA, Democrats generally support even more gun control than Republicans do. All three of the above politicians have emphasized it in the past; Feinstein even wrote the decade-long assault weapons ban. Clearly, these politicians, as well as many more on both sides of the aisle, are looking to restrict access to guns. After all, President Trump himself signed a bump stock ban into effect.
With that in mind, take another look at the situation at hand. None of these politicians have any value for Muslims in Muslim countries; they send bombs and troops to regularly slaughter civilian and soldier alike. On the contrary, they appear to greatly value gun control. So, why are we supposed to believe that this time, it’s about the Muslims?
Prove To Us Otherwise
The above politicians have never seemed to care about Muslims when it really matters. 50 people dead is a tragedy, but half a million is a genocide, especially when up to 266,000 of them were civilians. Why do those 50 people matter so much more? What makes their lives more significant than the ones they voted to end? Two key differences come to mind; these people are from a first-world, allied country, and they are useful for political ends.
Simply put, the first of these is simply not feasible. Feinstein’s comment proposes standing against hate, but shooting bullets at children in third-world countries apparently is still acceptable. Clinton’s tweet mentions heartbreak for the global Muslim community which she authorized drones to decimate. And Biden’s request to not let mosques turn into murder scenes is tepid when he voted for that very occurrence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This leaves open the second possibility as somewhat feasible. Once again, we can’t see into these politicians’ heads, but the facts line up fairly well. The only way to prove otherwise is to consistently advocate for Muslim lives. Regardless of their beliefs about guns, they cannot claim to stand for Muslims while bombing them. If they want this talking point to have any merit, they need to start by addressing the most severe injustices: the wars they voted for.
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