Anti-Islam Crusade Not Reflective of South Dakota [OPINION]
State Sen. Neal Tapio's latest attempt to demonize Islam was defeated in the South Dakota Senate last week.
The Senate voted 19 to 16 against a resolution asking the federal government to identify the root causes of terrorism. This was just a resolution so it doesn't mean anything anyway, but it's the thought that counts.
Tapio -- a Watertown Republican -- sponsored the resolution. He is also a declared candidate for the GOP primary in June for the U.S. House of Representatives.
The fact that this resolution wasn’t approved is good news for South Dakota. The fact that 16 senators voted to approve it is of grave concern for the Republic.
Think about it, this very odd, misguided and non-sensical resolution almost passed. Just two more votes and our state would have made a loud statement that we are xenophobic religious bigots. We’re not that. We’re not this.
Consider this, the last line of the resolution and its supposed purpose: "NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Senate of the Ninety-Third Legislature of the State of South Dakota, the House of Representatives concurring therein, that South Dakota petitions the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Department of Justice to identify the root cause of the global war on terrorism in order to keep our cities and citizens safe." (Emphasis added.)
What is that actually supposed to mean? Neal Tapio and 15 other state senators are asking the federal government for exactly what?
Make no mistake, what they want is for the United States to declare a religious war -- at least a cultural one -- against Islam.
They want to demonize every Muslim in the world – that’s about 2 billion people on the planet, just because their monotheism doesn’t reflect your monotheism. Because their origin myth doesn’t align perfectly with your origin myth. Because their perception of god doesn’t match your perception of god.
Us versus them.
It’s a simplistic version of the world. It relegates all the elements of being human – the fear, the hunger, the passion, the sympathy, the joy and the love of our congruent experience – into a caricature, a boogeyman for all your insecurities.
Anybody who sees this as anything more than Neal Tapio trying to Trumpify the Republican primary for our one seat in U.S. House of Representatives is myopic at the very least.
This is a dangerous path, it’s jingoism in its worst form.
Real patriots would condemn this action as a hateful hijacking of the South Dakota Legislature.
End this charade and go back to the budget and education and agriculture and quit wasting our time in our house.
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