Twitter locked State Senator Jason Rapert out of his account the other day. And he evidently continued to exist despite no longer having his favorite platform with which to pontificate from Faulkner County.
If there's one thing that sets Rapert off about as badly as gay folks its Muslims, neither of which exist in what could be described as abundance in his District. Nonetheless, what got Rapert the heave-ho, from Twitter, at least for the time being, were certain comments he put out to the Twitterverse in which he expressed his alarm over the participation of Muslims in the recent midterm election.
On November 30, he shared an article from something called DC Clothesline which stated that 95% of Muslim voters participated in this year's midterm election. To which he added, "Do you want them ruling everything in America?" Then according to KTHV's website he tweeted the following to another Twitter user "If you read this article and don't see real political concerns then you have a problem perceiving news."
As if the foregoing was not sufficiently idiotic, Rapert decided to consult history's immortal scroll, or the section that suits his purpose at least, to respond to someone who criticized him for these views,"[I]t was not a group of Baptists, Jews or Mormons who hijacked planes and killed thousands of innocent people on 9/11/2001-they were all radical Muslims."
It goes without saying that these statements are irresponsible. But I'm going to say it anyway. These statements are irresponsible. And here's why. In the first place, you have a Constitutional right to be a Muslim. Or a Baptist, a Jew or a Mormon to use his examples of "a group" of non-Muslim folks that most assuredly did not fly planes into those buildings on 9/11. Or you can be nothing at all if you so choose. Accordingly, your right to vote may not be conditioned upon your religious persuasion or lack thereof. As long as you otherwise qualify to cast a ballot, the fact that you are a Scientologist, or a Muslim may not be taken into consideration. It is irrelevant.
But to Rapert and his ilk, Muslims participating at a high level in participatory democracy raises "real political concerns." And this is at the heart of voter suppression schemes. Not election fraud, of which there is precious little, and certainly none on a widespread systemic level. Not even in Louisiana. And not the prospect of American courts dishing out Sharia law if the Muslims "take over" either. The fact that the electorate is becoming more diverse and that it resembles crackers like Rapert and me less is the "political concern" that I'm betting is the real driving force behind these paranoid tweets.
It also goes without saying that Rapert lives in a "context free" zone. But let's go ahead and apply some to his tendentious "9/11" trope. Yes, the hijackers were Muslims. But they, along with Osama bin Laden, were also predominantly Saudis. Whom we consider an ally. Albeit one whose Crown Prince has evidently ordered, and thus far has gotten away with, the brutal murder and dismemberment of a journalist that was critical of him. Is this, or 9/11, representative of Islam? Of course not. No more than not hijacking planes is representative of the views of the Southern Baptist Convention.
No more than the guy that shot up the synagogue in Pittsburgh represents white males. Or Christianity.
And no more than Jason Rapert does come to think of it. And thank God for that.
Of course, Rapert has vowed to appeal Twitter's decision to knock him off the air. And meanwhile back at the Ledge, a Republican representative filed a bill that would allow legal action against social media companies that "censor" content posted by users. There being evidently no matters currently more pressing than this in the Lower Chamber.
Maybe I should get a Twitter account. The more I'm thinking about it the more I'm basically good with suppressing the Scientologist vote. Mine is a voice that needs to be heard. Which makes me a megalomaniac.
And also makes me a hypocrite I suppose. Good deal. I will fit right in.