There’s a casual thoughtlessness that made a post on state Rep. Jeffrey Pierce’s personal Facebook page so disturbing. On Dec. 3, Pierce, who represents Dresden, Arrowsic, Georgetown, Phippsburg and part of Woolwich, reposted a graph that looks to “connect the dots” between the terrorists behind killings in Boston, Paris, Madrid, Chattanooga, and other places and their religion — Islam.
The repost included the statement (not written by Pierce): “Its time to deport all muslims ,. Its them or us !” (sic)
The post, of course, conveniently ignores crimes and mass-shootings perpetrated by non Muslims, including some notable acts of domestic terrorism (the Oklahoma City bombing comes to mind).
The post also represents an ugly prejudice that is sadly shared by many Americans, including one presidential candidate who recently called for blocking all Muslims from entering the U.S. The post is, simply put, unbecoming of an elected official, no matter how high the office.
The self-proclaimed Islamic State, the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Al Shabaab, Boko Haram and their ilk are all a putrescence on this earth, and there’s no guarantee that our measures, whether through force or diplomacy or some combination therein, will either wipe them out or convince them that it’s time to lay down arms.
Extremism, by its very nature, doesn’t adhere to reason or logic.
Those terrorists listed above number in the thousands, yet are not representative of 1.6 billion Muslims in the world today any more than Dylann Roof is representative of white Americans, any more than Jason Van Dyke is representative of all law enforcement, any more than Robert Dear represents all in the pro-life movement.
Pierce didn’t return repeated calls for comment on the post, but finally spoke when approached by a reporter last week, when he admitted that, no, he didn’t think every Muslim in America ought to be deported.
“It’s a ridiculous statement,” he said.
Yes, Mr. Pierce, it is.
What’s also ridiculous is that Pierce said he didn’t bother to read the message about deporting all Muslims before posting the graph.
Pierce said there are other issues — such as drug addiction and foreclosures — the media ought to focus on (although, neither Pierce’s personal page nor his official house district page address those issues). “And you look at a Facebook post that might have made people feel uncomfortable? Go back to your safe space,” said Pierce.
As a lawmaker, Pierce occupies a position of power and trust. That Pierce does not appear to vet needlessly combative, racist, yet public statements makes us more than “uncomfortable.”
Meanwhile, the House Republican office seems content to let this one go, with a spokesman declining to comment, citing the fact that the post — now removed — appeared on a member’s personal page.
Other Republican house members are going after Rep. Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, for political pandering. It was McCabe, the outgoing house majority leader, who likely smelled the blood in the water when he was alerted to the post, and issued a press release demanding that Pierce apologize.
Now McCabe has incurred the wrath, again via Facebook, of Reps. Lawrence Lockman (R-Amherst) and Joel Stetkis (R-Canaan).
Stetkis’s response to McCabe, which accuses the outgoing legislator of “failing to put Maines citizens (sic) safety ahead of his own political career,” warns that “Muslim jihadists are a clear and present danger” to Americans. However, Stetkis’s response fails to make a distinction between the jihadists hellbent on killing Americans versus Muslims living in this nation peacefully, who are part of the fabric of modern American society.
Lockman goes to a further extreme on a diatribe on his own Facebook page, stating that “Lewiston has been overrun with ‘new Mainers,’ but don’t worry, they have all been assimilated,” referencing, one would assume, Somali refugees. (By the way, anyone who has been to Lewiston recently knows that the city is far from being “overrun.”)
Let’s set aside the sad state of civil discourse — and its alarmist xenophobia — on the right side of the aisle. And let’s set aside the partisan rancor on the left.
The most basic function of our legislature is to make laws in adherence to the state and federal constitutions, both of which provide equal protection to citizens under the law as well as freedom of religion.
If a legislator can’t fulfill that function, then voters ought to look for an alternative during the next election.
Calling for the deportation of 2.75 million people, 81 percent of whom are U.S. citizens, based solely on their religion is both un-American and an extremist position.
Like we said, extremism doesn’t adhere to reason or logic.