Ben Carson seems to enjoy following in Donald Trump’s footsteps. Just days after Raw Story reported that Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner, refused to rule out requiring Muslims in the U.S. to wear or carry special IDs identifying their religion, Ben Carson compared Syrian refugees to “rabid dogs” while discussing the hot-button issue in remarks he made while speaking in Mobile, Alabama, on November 19. Carson’s controversial analogy comes less than a week after the Paris terror attacks that killed 132 people. In the wake of those attacks, U.S. citizens and politicians (particularly Republicans) have become increasingly vocal about their opposition to relocating Syrian refugees to the United States.
According to a report by NBC News, Ben Carson made the remarks while addressing concerns his potential constituents have about Syrian Muslim refugees being resettled in the U.S. Ben Carson is neck and neck with Donald Trump in many GOP primary polls, and like many of his Republican brethren, he appears to be milking the recent trend of Islamophobia in America for all it’s worth. Carson’s words about Muslims are a stark contrast to his treatment of the conservative Christian community, which is the GOP’s voter base.
While speaking to potential voters in Mobile, Carson chose to draw on the fears parents have of being able to protect their children. He compared the fear of being unable to protect one’s children from Muslims to the fear of being unable to protect them from rabid dogs running loose in the neighborhood, reports CNN.
“If there’s a rabid dog running around in your neighborhood, you’re probably not going to assume something good about that dog, and you’re probably going to put your children out of the way…We have to have in place screening mechanisms that allow us to determine who the mad dogs are, quite frankly.”
Carson has become among the most recent conservative politician to capitalize on the nation’s growing wariness of Syrian refugees and Muslims in general. Since the Paris terror attacks, more than half of the governors in the United States have publicly stated that they would refuse Syrian refugees in their states, Washington Post reports. While Ben Carson was referring to them as being comparable to rabid dogs, the governors are doing everything in their power to keep them out of their jurisdiction. They, like Ben Carson, are publicly denouncing refugees for political gain. Because political gain is all they can hope to achieve with their bluster.
Under U.S. law, governors have no authority to keep refugees out of their states. The role of the states in dealing with refugees is very limited, with the President of the United States having the definitive authority. In short, states’ roles in the refugee resettlement process are limited to nothing more than consultation and advice-giving.
The difference between governors grandstanding about refugees and Ben Carson comparing them to rabid dogs, though, is that Ben Carson is running for president. If Carson is successful in his presidential bid, he will have the authority to admit or deny refugees from anywhere in the world to the United States. While believing that people trying to escape one of the most war-torn areas on the planet can be accurately compared to rabid dogs.
Not surprisingly, word of the analogy made by Ben Carson didn’t take long to reach social media. Republican politicians pandering to their potential voters seem to think all Americans are afraid of or opposed to the idea of accepting refugees. The Twitter responses to the thoughtless words of Ben Carson, though, don’t reflect that stance.
in GOP race to the bottom, Carson compares Syrian refugees to 'rabid dogs' https://t.co/ExZx5gpayc— Philip Gourevitch (@PGourevitch) November 19, 2015
I continue to be amazed that a guy who does brain surgery can be such fool about everything else https://t.co/L8Uz6BPtRf— Justin Barasky (@JustinBarasky) November 19, 2015
That time when Dr. Ben Carson compared refugees to rabid dogs... less than an hour ago— Brittany E. Morris (@brittemorris) November 19, 2015
In fact, more and more people and groups are coming out of the woodwork to show the Islamic community that they are not, as a whole, accountable for the actions of a few within their community. Prior to Ben Carson making hateful remarks about Syrians, two chapters of the Satanic Temple publicly offered to assist Muslims in their areas.
Prior to Ben Carson making his distasteful remarks in a pandering attempt for votes, governors in a handful of states confirmed their compassion and publicly committed to not just accept refugees, but to welcome them.
It’s heartening to realize that even though Carson and others with his same priorities are willing to dehumanize people for political gain, many more are not. It’s a certainty that Ben Carson and other candidates will continue to say outrageous things for free publicity. It’s also a certainty that the U.S. public will continue to call Ben Carson and the rest out out when outrageous speech crosses the line and becomes hateful.
[Image Courtesy Of Ethan Miller/Getty Images]