July 17, 2015 12:15 PM

Dear Former Gov. Bobby Jindal,

I read with interest your take on the tragic events in Chattanooga Thursday and marveled at the breathtaking speed with which you managed to exploit a tragedy for political gain.

Indeed, it does appear that the murderer in Tennessee was a radicalized Muslim, and mainstream media were quick to characterized the shootings as a terrorist attack, which dovetailed perfectly with your press release in which you claimed the tragedy “underscores the grave reality of the threat posed to us by Radical Islamic terrorism every single day. It’s time for the White House to wake up and tell the truth.”

I’m racking my brain to discern how the Obama administration is denying that radical Islam exists, much less lying about it, and I’m combing the googles to remind myself what you had to say after the Charleston massacre? What was it? Something about the victims and Christianity, and not being able to know what Dylann Roof’s motivations were?

What I don’t remember you saying — because you didn’t — was anything about “the grave reality of the threat posed to us by” radical right-wing terrorism, because it sure seems like that’s what Charleston was: a racist young man who swaddled himself in the Confederate battle flag and the iconography of Apartheid killing nine black people — a white man with a “manifesto” about blacks taking over America.

Former governor, have you missed all the analysis, the talking heads, the news reports over the last several months about how many Americans within America’s borders have died since 9/11 in mass killings that were by most accounts politically or religiously motivated? Did you miss the report on homegrown terrorism by the New America Foundation that finds that 26 people — let’s raise it to 30 to account for Chattanooga — have died since 9/11 at the hands of Muslims while 48 Americans have been killed by non-Muslims, mostly, as NAF’s VP and Director of Studies Peter Bergen put it on NPR, “people with extreme right-wing, racist or antigovernment views”?

They’re people on the far margin of your side of the political aisle, Mr. Jindal. People who refer to folks like me on the left as “libtards” and “communies” and “statists.” People who traffic in racial slurs, who hate Mexicans and Central Americans and can hardly bear another day with a black man in the White House; people who are watching through binoculars with squinty eyes a military training exercise in the American Southwest known as Jade Helm 15. They’re your people, Mr. Jindal — the paranoid, angry, disenfranchised, white men who are hooked up to the 24-hour intravenous tube of hate and bile that ushers forth from the maws of Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly and the many esteemed guests and “experts” on Fox News, where the lines between news and opinion are so blurred and blended they resemble foam on a cappuccino.

Thirty dead by Muslims acting misguidedly by their religion. Fifty dead by (almost entirely) white Christians acting misguidedly by theirs.

It’s not just from the margins of the increasingly narrow tent protecting your ideology from the light of reason that we hear that government is bad, that immigrants are taking our jobs and raping our women, that liberals and Democrats are abortionists and communists who want to confiscate guns and march American patriots into FEMA concentration camps. It often comes from the center of the tent, think Donald Trump, although the cries are often coded in dog whistles about “small government” and “states’ rights” and “traditional family values.”

Eric Rudolph, Timothy McVeigh, Dylann Roof, the militias and gun nuts. They’re yours.

What again, former Gov. Bobby Jindal, is the “grave reality of the threat” facing these United States?


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