Iowa Congressman Steve King is not new to controversy. But this week, he went too far in drawing contours and boundaries of civilizations in a self-styled manner that could only be termed as un-American.
While expressing his support for far right Dutch politician Geert Wilders’ anti-immigrant thinking, King tried to suggest that America existed as an island unto itself, with a link to just one part of the contemporary civilization – a negation of the concept of the world’s most diverse and unique democracy.
“Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” the Republican Representative said.
His statement drew both rejection and embrace. While those wanting to deprive America of its distinctive pluralism and massive advantages that it brings to the country, celebrated his tweet, others believing in the ideals of liberty and freedom for all condemned it.
King’s outburst against immigrants as “somebody else’s babies,” and his backing for a Dutch politician who calls for shutting down mosques, means he wants to kick all people of color out of the country, and destroy the norm of the diverse American culture. History is repelte with examples how that kind of thinking has destroyed societies and countries around the world.
It also undercuts a basic principle of the American Republic and ideals of the founding fathers, especially the reality that, in the words of President Thomas Jefferson, all men are born equal. The U.S. Constitution guarantees that equal status for all individuals irrespective of the color of their skin or their religious affiliation.
Such exclusivism, as propagated by the Congressman, not only seeks to divide our society along racial and ethnic lines, but it also threatens to underminr America’s future prospects as an example of inclusive democracy with equal rights for all.
What will happen, if somehow, King expels all immigrants? America will lose the advantage it has over its international rivals as millions of highly talented immigrants will find some other place that welcomes them. As citizens of this country, we abhor even the thought of such an eventuality.
Need we remind King and followers of nationalism that Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian immigrant?
Similarly, millions of skilled and hardworking individuals working in many fields of science, arts, defense, national security and economy are doing a huge service to the civilization, which is essentially a result of contributions from the East, West and all faiths.
It’s a welcome sign that top Republicans have censured King for his misplaced prognosis.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, while brushing aside that kind of thinking, struck a right chord upholding the U.S. Constitution and the Law, when told Fox News that the “condition of your birth doesn’t determine the outcome of your life” in the United States.
The majority of Americans agrees with Speaker Ryan that the United States is a great melting pot, where everyone is entitled to equal opportunity and where people from around the world come, benefit from its promise and contribute enormously to keeping America great.