Mitt Romney: No Muslims In The Cabinet

Okay, time for a hypothetical.

Let’s imagine a presidential candidate.  He’s doing well in the primaries, not leading the pack, exactly, but coming up second in nationwide polling as well as having some very strong numbers in key early voting states.  This he has managed to accomplish despite being a member of a minority religion that often suffers from a mischaracterization of worship among its moderate mainstream members.

Got a clear picture?  Good.

Now, let us suppose for a moment that a question is posed as to whether or not he would appoint members of another minority religion to key cabinet appointments.  This religion is also widely maligned in the US as a result of the actions of a few hard core fundamentalist sects. Despite the adversity the candidate has had to face as a result of his own faith, he answers that he would not, in fact, appoint a member of this other religion to his cabinet.

This would be, hypothetically speaking, a gaffe, right?  It would have to be.  There’s just far too much wrong with coming out and saying that point blank.

Right, so by now I’m sure you’ve picked up that my little hypothetical situation is not actually hypothetical, but very very real.

I asked Mr. Romney whether he would consider including qualified Americans of the Islamic faith in his cabinet as advisers on national security matters, given his position that “jihadism” is the principal foreign policy threat facing America today. He answered, “…based on the numbers of American Muslims [as a percentage] in our population, I cannot see that a cabinet position would be justified. But of course, I would imagine that Muslims could serve at lower levels of my administration.”

I quite literally can’t make this stuff up.  Ignoring, at least for the moment, all the calls for religious freedom and plurality that he himself has had to make in order to smooth over the wrinkles his own religion has brought to the table, Romney makes it quite clear that in a Romney administration, Muslims would find no place in the upper echelon of his administration.

Hypocracy?  You bet.  Further, this is exactly the wrong message that we as a country need to be sending, and only goes further to bolster the narrative perpetuated by hotter heads all around that America hates Muslims.

Isn’t this the exact mentality that has made affirmative action necessary, and runs completely opposite of the argument of those on the right who believe such a practice should be abolished?  Affirmative Action was put into place to ensure that qualified minorities are able to reap the benefits of their qualifications without their minority status barring them from these positions based upon prejudices.  Only in a society where employers and administrators in charge of admittance make decisions of selection without racial or cultural bias can we say that Affirmative Action seeks to discriminate as opposed to act as a tool to fight discrimination.

Mitt Romney’s state proves that we are’t even close to being there yet.

Instead he justifies this as being a matter of demographics as opposed to the bald-faced bigotry that it is; a thinly veiled cover up to take away from the point that what should be at issue is the level of qualification of the appointee.

It is an excuse; the same excuse racists might use to justify to someone as to why they only hire white people (there are so few black people around, really).  Hiding that in some clever talk of demographics is simply vile.

As for allowing some Muslims to serve in “lower levels” of government, that’s quite simply a slap in the face; a call back to “house negroes” as though there might be some Muslims out there that are removed enough from their savage roots that we may be able to let come in from the fields.

And this from a man who has had to suffer the slings and arrows of his own faith.  As a Mormon, Romney  has had to fend of the basic premises of his own religion, as well as accusations of polygomy and cultist behavior.  He has had to claw his way into the power centers of a Religious Right that does not recognize his faith while fighting off the misinformation of those who would attack it.

He, who should understand better than any other candidate of his field the difficulties someone of a minority religion may face, shows the utmost disdain for a group of people that carries the same burden.  And it’s true, Muslims suffer, especially in America, from guilt by association.  For those who wish to engage in racial and religious profiling, they will always remain a target of suspicion, and many of the two million Muslim citizens in America will for the forseeable future have to answer for the most radical subscribers to the Koran.

The very premise of Romney’s demographic justification is wrapped up in hypocracy; he bases not appointing a Muslim on their relative low numbers, however as late as 2001, Mormons do not account for a full percentage point more of the US population than Muslims.  Muslims make up .6% while Mormons a whopping 1.4%.

But there is an even more sinister and troubling way to read Romney’s statement that goes beyond using demographics as a flimsy excuse.  Indeed, it shows a blatant disregard for the very spirit that fuels our system of government.

For far too long have we been held in thrall that the “majority rules.”  That’s not how it works.  Our government is structured such that the majority leads but always with the rights and considerations of the minority in mind.  That is why we rightfully have filibusters and vetoes and require supermajorities to break a veto.  That is why fifty-one seats in the Senate and a slim majority in the house does not always necessitate a unilateral governmental mandate.

This statement by Romney flies in the face of this.  It flies in the face of that wholely American ideal that if you work hard enough you can achieve whatever your heart desires regardless of race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation.  It is an abomination in a country that holds the “pursuit of happiness” as one of its dearest, most unalienable rights.

Sadly, there is a great possibility that this is not even close to being a gaffe.  Sure, we on the left may be offended and angered by such a statement, but we must also not forget that Romney is a Republican.  His base believes in profiling Muslims and Arabs.  His base sneers as they mockingly call Islam a “religion of peace”.  His base, like Rudy Giuliani, turn their faces away from the complex make up of the followers of Allah, instead lumping them all in together as evil.

I hope I’m wrong.  I hope Michelle Malkin and Little Green Footballs and Ace of Spades and the like find Romney’s comments as offensive as I.  But I’m not planning on holding my breath for it.

3 Responses to “Mitt Romney: No Muslims In The Cabinet”

  1. Jettboy says:

    I still think the guy lied about the conversation. At least until someone more reputable than a faceless guy on an op-ed asks him the question on camera.

  2. Neal says:

    On tape, Hillary Rotten Clinton makes remarks about middle easteners ALL working at 7-11. Main stream media response Mitt Romney is accuses by a nameless faceless person with NO proof of making a general comment of “no muslims in my cabinet”. God forbid you take someone at there work when they say they were talking about MERIT. Does anyone in the entitlement world know what MERIT means. I suppose it you all knew what MERIT was you would not be nominating Hillary Rotten Clinton.

  3. paul says:

    I think the Muslim belief has a major problem. Many teachers propagate core doctrine that was born out of the time of the crusades you know… holy war- kill the infadels and all that. Until Muslim teaching and doctrine catch up to the current century, I have to agree with Mitt and all the right wing “bushies”. I would not want the potentially wrong Muslim influence or agenda attached to any decision put before me. This kind of Muslim teaching would certainly end religious diversity since convert or die is the end game. Is that profiling? Probably, because I can not know what is truly in the mind and soul of an individual. Better safe than sorry.

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