It’s not a Final Solution, but it’s a start
I’m generally against the idea of forced tattooings and special identification for a reviled minority. But if that minority is the wingnut fringe who fell for this hoax, I’m willing to allow a “DANGEROUS IDIOT” stamp on their foreheads:
WASHINGTON (Dec. 1) — When radio host Jerry Klein suggested that all Muslims in the United States should be identified with a crescent-shape tattoo or a distinctive arm band, the phone lines jammed instantly.
The first caller to the station in Washington said that Klein must be “off his rocker.” The second congratulated him and added: “Not only do
you tattoo them in the middle of their forehead but you ship them out of this country … they are here to kill us.”
Another said that tattoos, armbands and other identifying markers such as crescent marks on driver’s licenses, passports and birth certificates did not go far enough. “What good is identifying them?” he asked. “You have to set up encampments like during World War Two with the Japanese and Germans.”
At the end of the one-hour show, rich with arguments on why visual identification of “the threat in our midst” would alleviate the
public’s fears, Klein revealed that he had staged a hoax. It drew out reactions that are not uncommon in post-9/11 America.
Next we move on to Klein’s reaction. The fact that he is surprised can only be attributed to living in the Beltway among generally well-educated civilized human beings. I wasn’t surprised in the least; however, I grew up in small town Idaho.
“I can’t believe any of you are sick enough to have agreed for one second with anything I said,” he told his audience on the AM station 630 WMAL, which covers Washington, Northern Virginia and Maryland.
“For me to suggest to tattoo marks on people’s bodies, have them wear armbands, put a crescent moon on their driver’s license on their passport or birth certificate is disgusting. It’s beyond disgusting.
“Because basically what you just did was show me how the German people allowed what happened to the Jews to happen … We need to separate them, we need to tattoo their arms, we need to make them wear the yellow Star of David, we need to put them in concentration camps, we basically just need to kill them all because they are dangerous.”
The show aired on November 26, the Sunday after the Thanksgiving holiday, and Klein said in an interview afterwards he had been surprised by the response.
“The switchboard went from empty to totally jammed within minutes,” said Klein. “There were plenty of callers angry with me, but there were
plenty who agreed.”
What really kills me is that so many people who believe this kind of crap ought to know better. I can barely imagine a straight white guy, someone not familiar with labeling and stereotyping and overt discrimination, falling for this hatemongering. It’s unfathomable that there are black, Hispanic, queer, and/or female people who believe it, too, but there are. There are even Jewish Americans who sign on to this disgusting anti-American concept.
Those in agreement are not a fringe minority.
A Gallup poll this summer of more than 1,000 Americans showed that 39 percent were in favor of requiring Muslims in the United States,
including American citizens, to carry special identification.
Roughly a quarter of those polled said they would not want to live next door to a Muslim and a third thought that Muslims in the United States
sympathized with al Qaeda, the extremist group behind the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.
One will never go broke overestimating human stupidity and hatred.