On June 17, Dylann Roof walked into the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston and murdered 9 of the innocent people he found there. Seizing on the fact that Roof had posed in one picture with a Confederate battle flag, many politicians and media personalities immediately demanded that the Confederate battle flag come down. South Carolina duly removed the flag from the grounds of the statehouse, after legislation authorizing the removal was passed by both houses of its legislature and signed by its governor. This was accompanied by flag makers refusing to make battle flags, retailers refusing to sell them, and proposals to tear down Confederate monuments and even a proposal, in Memphis, to dig up the remains of Nathan Bedford Forrest. These are the sorts of things that Chinese Communists did during the Cultural Revolution. And they continue. On Thursday night, Yahoo put on my computer screen a column by Pat Forde demanding that coaches in the SEC speak out against the battle flag.
The same night I saw the Forde column, Yahoo put next to it a story from AFP about Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, the 24 year old immigrant from Yemen who had just murdered four Marines in Chattanooga. (A fifth sailor has subsequently died from his wounds). The article quoted acquaintances of Abdulazeez describing him as an “all-American kid” and his family as “your average Chattanooga family.” It seems a safe bet that, one month from now, this killing, unlike the one in Charleston, will have been largely forgotten, except by those touched by it personally. Like the murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant who had been deported multiple times until he found that he could evade deportation in San Francisco, a self-proclaimed sanctuary city for illegal immigrants, the murders in Chattanooga will be portrayed as an isolated incident, about which nothing could have been done. After all, there is no way to suggest that Abdulazeez was motivated by white racism, and it is increasingly the case that the media shows little interest in anything that can’t be blamed on white racism. Indeed, it seems that the current attitude is that if a problem cannot be blamed on white racism, there is no problem at all. Thus, after a time, the critical media attention will be devoted not to the Islamic influences on Abdulazeez’s actions, but to questioning anyone calling attention to those influences.
Of course, the sensible response to the Islamic world is for America to have as little to do with it as possible. That would mean both keeping a low profile in the Middle East and severely restricting the flow of immigrants from the Islamic world. Instead, we do the opposite, repeatedly interjecting ourselves into Middle Eastern squabbles that do not concern us, all the while keeping the doors open for people like Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez and the Tsarnaev brothers. But even if there are a few calls to restrict Islamic immigration in the wake of the atrocity in Chattanooga, there is no way that such calls will be taken up by virtually every media organization and scores of politicians, the way the call to take down the Confederate battle flag has been. For our elites, mass immigration and multiculturalism are unquestionably good, and no evidence to the contrary will be allowed to reach ordinary Americans.
Thomas Piatak is a contributing editor to Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He writes from Cleveland, Ohio.