With just under a year of campaigning left before the big election, it seems as if presidential candidates are pulling out all the stops in order to appeal to the popular vote — even if it means making wildly inaccurate claims. (We’re looking at you, Trump.)
Unfortunately, the Donald’s not the only one who’s riding the Bold Tweets Bandwagon lately, as a familiar face — former New York State Governor and Peekskill mayor, George Pataki — urged America to “declare war on radical Islam” … and then some.
We must declare war on radical Islam. @LorettaLynch I’m not edging toward violent speech, I’m declaring we kill them. Go ahead, arrest me.
— George E. Pataki (@GovernorPataki) December 4, 2015
Ahh. Et tu, George?
A little background, in case you’ve been living under a rock: A series of terrorist attacks connected to members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) — including mass shootings in Paris, France, on November 13 and San Bernardino, California, on December 2 — have incited heated debates about everything from gun control to the United States’ involvement in the Middle East.
Perhaps most contentious, however, is the anti-Muslim sentiment that dominates current political discourse in America, particularly by members of the extreme right. To be clear, ISIL — despite its name — does not actually represent the religion of Islam, a peaceful faith based on daily prayer, charity, fasting, and pilgrimage. Yet extremists, who often announce their acts of terror in the name of Allah (the Arabic word for “God”), have given those devoted to the faith a bad rap, making for perfect fear-mongering fodder for American presidential candidates hoping to stir up the masses.
Enter Pataki. His tweet on December 4 refers to a pledge made by U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to “take action” on speech “that edges toward violence” against the Muslim community after an increase in hate crimes in response to terror attacks. While we’re sure Pataki doesn’t condone hate crimes against innocents, his post effectively justifies “violent speech” — and action — toward those groups of self-proclaimed Muslims who engage in terrorism. Most importantly, though, it includes “Islam” as a keyword in an already-charged statement, further muddying the perception of what the faith really represents.
(The point being that terrorists are not true followers of Islam, because they themselves defy the values of the religion.)
On December 6, President Barack Obama echoed Lynch’s position during his address to the nation, in which he reminded Americans to renounce anti-Muslim rhetoric. Pataki had an answer for that, too, calling Obama’s speech “pathetic” and “as believable as a hostage video.”
#Obamaspeech was as believable as a hostage video. Pathetic response to the worst attack on US since 9/11
— George E. Pataki (@GovernorPataki) December 7, 2015
The Republican, whose numbers have been downright awful lately (he’s dead-last), isn’t known for his provocative statements — and perhaps that’s why he’s lagging. Could this be a new move to help kickstart his campaign, or at least, get him back into the headlines?
After all, it works for Trump, whose outspoken (and oft-obnoxious) approach to politics has catapulted him to the top of the polls for the Republican presidential nomination. Still, we’d hope our hometown politician wouldn’t have to resort to such tactics.