A few days after 9-11, someone opened fire and killed a man in an Arizona Gas Station, because the man was wearing a Turban. The man was a Sikh, the follower of a peaceful and tolerant religion that developed on the Indian sub-continent, and has nothing to do with al-Qaeda.
Now there’s been another attack upon Sikhs, an even more violent and devastating one. Perhaps this was for the same reason, perhaps not. It probably doesn’t matter very much to the victims and their mourning families.
This was the act of one pathetic man. But we still need to consider: Are we as a nation encouraging this kind of behavior, these kinds of attitudes? Is the angry divisive language of our current political scene part of the cause? Is the media, with their relentless need to force violence and sensationalism upon us in the name of ratings (to say nothing of our mindless acceptance and even demand for such filth), part of the cause? Are Americans being taught religious hatred and intolerance in our Houses of Worship? In our schools? In our homes?
All of this is part of the problem. It’s not universal by any means, and this particular act by this particular thug may have no “scientifically provable” link to any of this. But we all know that these things are contributing to the atmosphere of hatred, divisiveness and violence that we are witnessing. We don’t need a “scientific study” to know the obvious.
We also know that most Americans, of all religions and races, are decent people. We see this in the outpouring of support and prayers for the victims of this latest massacre. And that’s a good thing.
But it isn’t enough.
It is time for all decent Americans to stand up and speak out against the politics of division. It is time for all decent Americans to take a zero-tolerance stand against bigotry, cynicism, fear and arrogance.