Share This Page

America's empty slogan

| Sunday, April 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

In brief remarks to the nation on the Boston Marathon bombings, President Obama said that “we all have a part to play in alerting authorities. If you see something suspicious, speak up.”

In Washington, D.C., electronic signs urged commuters to be on guard. Law enforcement, big-city mayors and security experts all echoed that famous post-terrorism refrain: “If you see something, say something.”

But who really means it?

In post-9/11 America, the truth is that our politically correct guardians want you to see, say or do something only if it can't be construed by grievance-mongers as racist, sexist, Islamophobic, homophobic, nativist or any other “-ist” or “-ic.”

Face it: We live in a self-defeating culture that pays lip service to heroic action in times of crisis, yet brutally punishes the very kind of snap judgments and instant security profiling that make such heroism possible in the first place.

Just take a look at some of the caustic reactions to citizens and watchdogs who stuck out their necks during and after the Boston Marathon bombings.

A quick-thinking spectator at the race reportedly tackled a 20-year-old Saudi Arabian student visa holder he believed was acting suspiciously. The student is not considered a suspect at this point, but remains a “person of interest” in the case. Time magazine correspondent Michael Crowley clucked: “It'll be a real shame if a Saudi guy was tackled and held simply for running in fright — and for being an Arab.” Gawker editor Max Read declared: “(T)his poor Saudi kid should sue the guy who tackled him.”

For what? For taking all those “See Something, Say Something” ads seriously?

If the Saudi student tries to sue, we already know who will provide legal aid and comfort. In 2007, when passengers reported concerns about a group of rowdy flying imams, the Council on American-Islamic Relations threatened to sue the unnamed “John Does” who went to authorities. Thankfully, Congress passed legislation protecting whistle-blowers.

As Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Bill Shuster said at the time: “No American should ever be sued because they tried to stop a terrorist act. No American should be forced to second-guess a decision to alert authorities that could save the lives of others.”

The Shut-Up Brigade struck again after a U.S. Airways plane at Boston's Logan Airport was evacuated Tuesday because of suspicions about two passengers seated apart and speaking Arabic. “Racist paranoia,” blogger Shymala Dason decried. “This is ridiculous,” fumed Arabic language educator Jinanne Tabra.

Ridiculous? Tell that to shell-shocked marathon runners and their families traveling home after the Boston terror bombing. They were the ones on the plane, at the very airport where Arabic-speaking 9/11 jihadists hijacked two flights and brought down the World Trade Center.

Hindsight hypocrites will give you immunity from public excoriation only if you can guarantee in advance that your fears or suspicions are 100 percent right. And no one can.

To hell with the “See Something, Do Nothing” cowards who sit on the sidelines wielding their “racism” and “Islamophobia” cards in the aftermath of every terrorist attack. I would rather be damned if I do than dead if I don't.

Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2009).

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.