Tuesday, March 29, 2005

What's Going On?

What's Going On?
Published: March 29, 2005
New York Times
Democratic societies have a hard time dealing with extremists in their midst. The desire to show respect for other people's beliefs all too easily turns into denial: nobody wants to talk about the threat posed by those whose beliefs include contempt for democracy itself.
We can see this failing clearly in other countries. In the Netherlands, for example, a culture of tolerance led the nation to ignore the growing influence of Islamic extremists until they turned murderous.
But it's also true of the United States, where dangerous extremists belong to the majority religion and the majority ethnic group, and wield great political influence.
Before he saw the polls, Tom DeLay declared that "one thing that God has brought to us is Terri Schiavo, to help elevate the visibility of what is going on in America." Now he and his party, shocked by the public's negative reaction to their meddling, want to move on. But we shouldn't let them. The Schiavo case is, indeed, a chance to highlight what's going on in America.
One thing that's going on is a climate of fear for those who try to enforce laws that religious extremists oppose....