Professionally, Bill Maher will die some sort of Islamophobic martyr. Long after he's been fired, his battles -- both against the tenets of Islam and those assholes who told him he shouldn't say such destructive things -- will live on in YouTube infamy.
He'll find an audience in Ben Carson, removed from an ill-fated run at presidency.
It's hard to imagine a candidate -- or human being -- rivaling the vulgarity of Donald Trump, but kudos to Carson for trying. Sans puckered lips and a terrible hairpiece, the Detroit native is proving to be every bit as destructive as the Trumps and Ted Cruzes of the world. As The New York Times' Charles M. Blow puts it:
Carson says in low register what others shout in anger, and he gets a bit of a pass because of the discordant message and method of delivery.
Just because a person is soft-spoken doesn't mean that he is well-spoken.
Much like Maher's comments, Carson's latest came at the expense of the Muslim community. On an episode of NBC's Meet The Press which aired earlier in the week, the second-leading GOP candidate stated that he would "not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation."
"I absolutely would not agree with that."
Carson's comments have to -- at least in part -- be veiled attacks on President Obama, the psychopathic antithesis to the model politician Carson is attempting to sell himself as. He also could very well not trust or understand the Muslim world.
When asked to justify, Carson -- like Maher -- went on the offensive. AMERICA IS SOFT! CULTURE IS BURNING! YOU'RE TOO POLITICALLY CORRECT!
Carson, the Republican presidential candidate gaining ground on the frontrunner Donald Trump in recent weeks, told reporters that "political correctness" bears the responsibility for the criticism he has faced since Sunday, when he said he would "not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation."
"Political correctness is imposed by the secular progressives and those who wish to fundamentally change our society," he said to applause. "Therefore, they make things off limits to talk about, but you know what? I'm going to talk about it anyway."
"Hi. My name is Ben, and I'm not afraid to go there." ~ Ben Carson, Real World contestant
His critique is nothing new, but you have to love how he draws out what's so obvious to see about anyone on his side of the PC coin: some sort of conservative* bias, or at least a fear of what's different. According to Carson, agents of political correctness -- in this case, the progressives he's referring to are probably the Anti-Defamation League -- just want to see a changed world, using political correctness to muzzle those happy with the status quo. And, if we're following that train of thought, then Carson is a soldier in the fight to Keep Things The Way They Are and his words are damaging to human progress, which should be clear in a vacuum.
But this all comes down to political ideology; Carson's Islamophobic comments are almost cartoonishly conservative, as was his attack on a large portion of the general public for, you know, being offended by a racist comment (shocking). It's easy to see if you're in any way left, but if not, you very well might have defended Carson, claiming that he's not racist, that we're the problem.
But the damages of Carson's comments and his behavior after extend beyond politics.
Like in North Carolina, when three Muslim UNC-Chapel Hill students were murdered in February.
[The victim], who lived next door to Hicks, wore a Muslim head scarf and told her family a week ago that she had "a hateful neighbor."
"Honest to God, she said, 'He hates us for what we are and how we look.'"
Or in Chicago, where a teenager is being charged with a hate crime after attacking a Sikh** man.
Or in Texas, with Ahmed Mohamed.
Or... literally anywhere in America -- pick a state, pick a city -- where 5,922 hate crimes were reported in 2013.
If we're to rid ourselves of this disgusting byproduct of racism -- or, you know, racism in general -- we have to attack this type of thinking and explain the consequences. Every time a Carson or a Maher gets on stage with an opinion that can put down a group of people, we all, collectively, lose. Most of the people reading this are smart enough to know that Carson is an idiot. And even those who agree with his message probably won't act on their biases. But one outlier -- fed a steady diet of hate -- is all it takes to claim countless lives.
And for Carson to not acknowledge that his words are cogs in this never-ending machine? To not only point the blame at us for being too "politically correct," but to rub his sincerity in our faces by telling us how much money his hate is worth? That sort of behavior is more than bad; it's dangerous, and prevents us from conducting the type of necessary dialogue needed to change the ugliest parts of American culture.
But here I am, talking about change. I'm probably a bit too sensitive.
* * *
*Which makes Maher's opinions so odd, but let's not make this about him.
**Sikh and Islam are obviously different cultures, but the teenager was said to have called the 53-year-old a "terrorist" in the midst of the attack; make no mistake, it was about skin color.