Within the small confines of the Tennessee blogging world and within this country and many many others, a debate is being held on the topics of race, racial profiling, bigotry, bias, prejudice and terrorism.
I noticed a post by Bob Krumm about an incident where he reported to the Secret Service he had seen some dudes of "middle-eastern" appearance in the Belle Meade community in middle Tennessee because they were lost and wanted to know how to find former v.p. Al Gore's home. It seem suspicious he says.
Another blogger, Chris, at My Quiet Life, responded with his own take on Bob's post, and said Bob was showing bigotry, pure and simple, in his reaction to the encounter in Belle Meade. Not unexpectedly, Bill Hobbs chimed in with some insults about Chris in the comments section on this debate at Nashville Is Talking, and R. Neal had some wit and humor to add in the comments on Chris' page.
Some mention is made in these discussions of the concerns about the sale of operations at numerous American ports to a company in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Dubai has been a major port for our Navy, certainly, and now Congress is examining the sale to determine if it should be approved or not. Much of the national and media debate about the sale has been of the "we don't want THEM owning operations in the U.S." (Them apparently meaning "Arabs" or perhaps "questionable allies".)
Let me be plain: there is a palpable paranoia in the U.S. and other countries about non-whites. While some see a value in being skeptical and suspicious about the presence and actions of non-whites, it blinds us to the more pertinent issue, which is that certain political agendas and those who share those political views have been and continue to threaten national security here and in many other countries as well.
So my question is - how can you tell by just looking at someone what their political beliefs might be? In this country, can you tell if someone belongs to the Republican or Democratic party? Or if they are members of neither?
I'm somewhat concerned that the notion of placing a usefulness on the concept of "racial profiling" may soon be exchanged for developing an approach to "political profiling." Arguments could perhaps be made that if our nation could protect it's citizens and security if we had the ability to define an individual's political views, and to be troubled if an individual has no specified political party affinities, then we should then create such a system of "political profiles."
The continuing emotion of Fear is making some very murky perceptions, and that we as both a nation and as an individual then base policy and personal decisions arising from those Fears is only going to make our perceptions murkier and encourage the value of Fear among us all.