Over the past two years, I've written numerous blogs about how those on the right attempt to hide their true intentions to save face. Examples of this include the tea party notion of "taking our country back" (apparently from immigrants, Obama and government-enabling liberals); pushing for "neighborhood schools" (de facto segregation in many areas); "rewarding success" (tax kickbacks to the rich on the backs of everyone else); and passing laws demanding birth certificates of presidential candidates (well, you know).
That last example is indicative of the latest trend in Republican legislation: passing seemingly benign laws that reassure constituents without being effective or particularly constitutional. Well, once again, we have another sterling sideshow in this circus. It's not the first of its kind, but it's catching on.
The House in the state of Missouri, my alma mater, has voted to ban Sharia law. Phew! Well, no. Technically, it bans any foreign law from being the law of the land. Which is interesting, because the U.S. didn't exactly draw up its own legal code from scratch. To say nothing of Louisiana's reliance on Napoleonic Code, which should be interesting if the state legislature decides to draft a bill similar to Missouri's.
But of course, probably no one thought of the implications of such broad language when drafting the bill. Instead, the emphasis was on, "Let's make sure we don't work the terms Sharia or Islam into this law, because that would make us look like bigots." Yeah, wouldn't want that.
Such overreach in Missouri reminds me of the law Louisiana voters passed in 2004 that outlawed gay civil unions. Of course, in an attempt to make the legislation seem less anti-gay, lawmakers sought to outlaw ALL civil unions. I'll bet a lot of heterosexual common-law families who couldn't vote yes fast enough were absolutely rocked when they figured that one out.
Like the civil union fiasco, a ban on sharia law is the worst kind of reactionary pre-emption. It's a way of dealing with a threat that isn't even a threat. We might as well pass a law that forbids the nuclear annihilation of America. That'll show 'em!
Even if you're certain that, any minute now, fundamentalist Muslim forces are ready to swoop into the United States, uproot our government, force every woman to wear a burqa and force every man to vote for Democrats, do you really think some symbolic legislation in Missouri is going to stop it?
Things would have to have gone pretty far south for Americans to give up that easily. As I recall, we fought pretty damn hard — at times, even with each other — to earn and preserve an independent United States. But to listen to these lawmakers, it's about to evaporate at any moment. Come on now. As long as you're harping on faith, guys, why not have some faith in the resilience of our legal system? And of our people?
It's not Sharia law I fear. It's fear law I fear.