Whatever the question, politicians have a way of working their issue of the day into the answer. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) took that tendency to new heights today.
Asked on Morning Joe to explain the disproportionate amount of terrorism against the United States that emanates from the Islamic world, Ellison, the first Muslim Member of Congress, asserted that it is the struggle for democracy, not the Islamic faith, that motivates the terrorism. In a giant leap, Ellison then compared people in Islamic countries "who don't want to yield power to the vast majority" . . . to the struggle in the United States over "income inequality." View the video after the jump.
Ellison never explained why the struggle for democracy in Islamic lands prompted the murder of thousands of Americans on 9-11, the Fort Hood massacre, and other Islamist attacks on the West.
Note: Give historian Jon Meacham credit for having asked the question about the disproportionate amount of terrorism coming from the Islamic world. The rest of the panel eschewed the controversial while interviewing Ellison about his latest book.
Note Dos: Ellision surely can't be claiming that the Islamist terrorists who flew the planes into the WTC did so in the name of the struggle for democracy. To the contrary, al Qaeda explicitly rejects democracy and seeks to impose theocratic rule.
JON MEACHAM: How do you talk to people -- you must have constituents. You must have people who say what is it with the Islamic world? Why does such a fundamental threat to our national security seem to come disproportionately from that world of faith?
KEITH ELLISON: You know what? What I tell them, it's not about the faith. What it's really about is in some parts, particularly in the Arab world, there has been, quite frankly, a lack of democracy. We all just saw the Arab Spring ripen into the Arab Winter and now in Egypt we don't know what's going to happen in Syria, wow, what's going to happen there. But it's really not the faith. What it is is, you know, people who don't want to yield power to the vast majority and people are struggling over that. And people struggle over that all over this world. We struggled over it here, which is why I named the book, "My Country 'Tis of Thee." And right here in the United States today, we're trying to struggle for a greater amount of inclusion and democracy and when you look at income inequality, I mean, this is a real challenge.