When a news story reports that a recent poll shows that nearly half of all
Americans believe the U.S. government should restrict the civil liberties
of Muslim-Americans, people ought to take notice.
The survey, conducted by Cornell University, found that 44 percent of the
715 people questioned favored at least some restriction on the civil
liberties of Muslim Americans.
The good news, I suppose, is that 48 percent said liberties should not be
restricted in any way.
Asked if “we need to outlaw some un-American actions, even if they’re
constitutionally protected,” 36 percent of the people surveyed agreed.
One-third of the people in the survey said that the news media should not
cover anti-war protests during a time of war or crisis and 31 percent said
the news media should not report the comments of individuals who criticize
the government during such times.
While those numbers may be surprising to some people, I think it’s
important to point out once again that the vast majority of the people
surveyed said that the news media should cover protest demonstrations and
report comments critical of the government.
Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, I’ve been telling people that I
fear the reaction of my fellow Americans should another terrorist attack
occur on U.S. soil.
And there are hints in this poll that my fears are well-founded.
Even now, 27 percent of the population believes Muslim-Americans should be
required to register their whereabouts with the federal government,
according to the poll