The New Red Scare: Why Muslims Aren't Republicans Anymore

The vast majority of Muslims used to be Republicans, with only a thin sliver voting for Democrats. Since 9/11, those numbers have flipped.

Since 9/11, fear of Muslims infiltrating our sacred American democracy has become the new Red Scare, and it continues to taint the 2012 election season. The latest comment comes from a frequent offender Newt Gingrich: Earlier this week, he said the widespread misconception that Barack Obama is a Muslim "should bother the president." He defended those who incorrectly believe Obama is Muslim: "It’s not because they’re stupid," he said. "It’s because they watch the kind of things I just described to you. When you have every bishop in the Catholic Church say this administration’s at war with their religion, you don’t think that has an impact?"

But in Republicans' efforts to appeal to older, white, conservative voters, they're alienating another voting bloc. Frontline recently compiled a range of statistics about American Muslims, and found that an overwhelming 78 percent of them voted Republican in the 2000 presidential election, with only a thin sliver voting Democratic. Since 9/11, those numbers have flipped: The percentage of American Muslims who “lean toward the GOP” is just 11 percent.

Muslim Americans generally have pretty traditional values—many of them are religious, fiscally conservative, and believe strongly in the immigrant "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" mentality. Yet they're steering clear of a party that drums up fear and paranoia about their religion to score political points. They've also been staying away from the voting booth altogether. Muslims report relatively low levels of civic engagement, especially among young people who have come of age in a post-9/11 era; according to a 2009 poll by the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, only 51 percent of young Muslim Americans are registered to vote, one of the lowest percentages among the groups surveyed.

Muslims feel that no candidate has their best interests in mind—and it's not hard to see why. The post-9/11 policies Bush implemented and Obama upheld likely sting just as much as the GOP's anti-Muslim rhetoric. The PATRIOT Act gave the government an enormous amount of power to racially profile Muslim Americans. Just this week, the American Civil Liberties Union released documents showing that federal agents have been profiling Muslims in Northern California for at least four years, attending services at local mosques under the guise of "community outreach" in order to gather information. Perhaps the saddest thing about the United States' growing discrimination against Muslims is that it has alienated ordinary Americans from engaging in the very democratic system we claim to protect with our Islamophobic, anti-terrorist policies.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user longislandwins.

via Honor Africans / Twitter

The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

Keep Reading Show less

Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.

Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet