It’s a tragedy that a few whackjobs with bombs managed to kill and maim so many at the Boston marathon. There’s no reason to believe that this is part of any trend, or that we need change our attitudes about diversity and inclusion. Ron Brownstein:
The 9/11 attacks unnerved and staggered the U.S. in many ways, provoking responses that politically divide the nation even now. But two very bad things that might have happened did not. One was a systematic backlash against American Muslims. Prejudice obviously exists: In a comprehensive 2011 Gallup Poll, Muslims were more likely than Americans of other religious backgrounds to report discrimination. But Muslims never faced anything comparable to the recoil against foreign communities in the U.S. during World War I or World War II; the examples of places resisting the operation of mosques, for instance, draw attention precisely because they are exceptions. (One 2011 study found more than 2,000 mosques operating in the United States.) The 2011 Gallup survey concluded, “A majority of Americans of every faith see Muslim Americans as being loyal to their country.” The poll also said that U.S. Muslims are as satisfied as Americans from other religious backgrounds with their lives today—and more optimistic about their prospects five years down the road.
One of America’s greatest strengths is its almost infinite capacity to include, absorb, and integrate new groups. It’s a revealing coincidence that the Boston attack took place on what Major League Baseball now observes as Jackie Robinson Day—celebrating the achievement of a racial pioneer whom many in his day scorned and resisted. In America, walls fall, sooner or later.
Our amalgamating capacity obviously doesn’t erase all of our differences. Our politics are ominously and stubbornly polarized along overlapping lines of race, generation, education, region, and religious faith. But a society forever absorbing the new dissolves alienation and disrupts radicalization. So long as the instinct to include remains common in America, attacks like the one in Boston will remain rare.
This is Jackie Robinson’s country, not Pam Geller’s.