NOTE: Mint Press has published my latest piece, offering eyewitness testimony of the Hadil al-Hashlomoun murder and confirming she never held a knife.
This has been a glorious GOP presidential primary. The Party has shown itself resplendent in all its xenophobic, misogynist, racist glory. It’s been a site to behold. One to bless the heart of those of us who embrace progressive political values (not that Hillary Clinton on the other side reflects them). Tonight, I don’t want to talk about the usual suspects: no Donald Trump. He’s too obvious a target.
Tonight, let’s take a look at the guy who’s number 2 in the polls: Ben Carson. Let’s leave aside his astonishingly ignorant (especially for a pediatric neurosurgeon) stabs against evolution and Iran (the first, a theory sent by Satan to tempt Darwin; the second, sending Ayatollah Khameini to dance with the “72 virgins” if he won’t give up his non-existent nuclear weapons program). Let’s dive right into his rampant Islamophobia.
Anyone half sentient knows he told an interviewer that no Muslim should ever be president, presumably because their religion stands for the overthrow of the U.S. government and its replacement with sharia law (that’s the standard far-right “line” on the matter). In response, CAIR, the leading Muslim-American defense organization, akin to the ADL, called for Carson to drop out of the race:
…”For saying today that Islam is “inconsistent” with the Constitution and that a Muslim should not be elected president.”
Any candidate who seeks to deny millions of Americans from their rights as citizens (and running for, and winning the presidency is a right a citizen is guaranteed) is not qualified to be president. If any candidate said no Jew should ever be elected president there would be a howl heard round the world from Jewish defense organizations. And rightly so. They would demand such a candidate’s head–and get it. No donor would ever touch such a candidate with a 10-foot poll; and his support, not to mention his cash, would dry up.
And do you think that the candidate would counter by accusing the ADL of violating its non-profit status by interfering in electoral politics? Just for defending the right of Jews not to be smeared by such anti-Semitic rants?
But that’s just what Ben Carson has done. In response to CAIR’s call for his withdrawal, he’s issued a demand that the IRS revoke CAIR’s 501c3 status. In doing so, he’s made the following claim:
…The organization has brazenly violated IRS rules prohibiting tax-exempt nonprofits like CAIR to [sic] intervene in a political campaign on behalf of—or in opposition to—a candidate.
This is a fair summation of IRS regulations on the subject. But I’d say the chances of this happening are less than zero. Far less than zero. Any sensible American will realize that a brazen attack such as Carson’s on an entire religious group demands a vigorous, assertive response to protect that religion’s rights. No one, except GOP extremists will deny CAIR such a right of reply, regardless of whether this is defined as “intervening in a political campaign against a candidate.”
UPDATE: CAIR released it own reply to Carson’s attack:
“We find it interesting that Dr. Carson seeks to use a federal government agency to silence his critics and wonder if that tactic would be used to suppress First Amendment freedoms should he become president.
“CAIR is not in violation of any IRS regulation in that we did not ‘participate in’ or ‘intervene in’ any political campaign. We, as mandated by our mission as a civil rights organization, merely expressed the opinion of our community that a candidate whose views violate Article VI of the Constitution is unfit for public office.”
My response to this is to pledge a new gift to CAIR. I hope you’ll do the same. Tell Ben Carson where he can get off!
But beyond this I say: keep it comin’ guys. At this rate, you’ve angered women, Blacks, Latinos, Muslims and the LGBT community. Anyone else left you haven’t enraged? Other than white Christian men? Good luck with turning that into an electoral majority.