News outlets are now calling Newt Gingrich the GOP frontrunner. The former Speaker of The House is leading in the polls, now that Herman Cain has bowed out of the race. What this apparently means for “Election 2012” is that a second term for Barack Obama is pretty much fait accompli.
Think about it. This is the same Newt Gingrich that back in 1994, suggested that aid to economically disadvantaged single mothers be stopped, and that their children be removed and placed in orphanages. This is the same Newt Gingrich that posited the Drug Importer Death Penalty Act of 1996, the Draconian Gingrich idea which proposed that we would execute those bringing illegal drugs across our borders.(1)
Newt Gingrich’s ignorance has not waned over the past 15 years. Just a few blog articles back, I covered Mr. Gingrich’s evident lack of faith in the economically disadvantaged’s ability to raise children with a solid work ethic, which shows that his disdain for the poor hasn’t changed. Now, in a recent interview with The Jewish Channel, he turns his ignorance towards the Palestinians, referring to them as an “invented” people and completely ignoring the millennia of history that predate the Ottoman Empire that Gingrich mentioned in his comments:
“Remember there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire. And I think that we’ve had an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, and were historically part of the Arab community, and they had a chance to go many places. And for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940’s, and I think it’s tragic.”(2)
Before continuing to eviscerate Mr. Gingrich and his ignorance, let’s look a little bit at the Middle East and its storied history. Since at least 1010 BCE, there have been various established “states” and kingdoms in the area of land that is now occupied by Israel, the land area referred to as “Palestine.” The land has changed hands numerous times since antiquity, from the ancient Jews to the Babylonians, to the Achaemenids, to the Seleucids, to the Hasmoneans, then to Rome for a period of time from the “BCE” to the “CE.”
Right around 636 CE, the area became part of the Islamic Empire under the Rashidun Caliphate, immediately following the Battle of Yarmouk. Shortly thereafter, construction was started on the Dome of The Rock, which was completed around 690 CE. From that point, it was a succession of the Umayyad, the Abbasids, the Seljuq Empire, Crusaders from western Europe in 1099, Saladin and the Ayyubids, eventually leading up to the Ottoman Turks. It is at this point that Newt Gingrich’s history class picks up. (smh.)
Now that we’ve had our little “quickie” history lesson, back to Newt the Brute. In my not-so-humble opinion, this was Gingrich playing to the Jewish community and talking down the Palestinians by calling them an “invented” people. What this actually was though, was Newt again showing us just how ignorant he is…or is he? Aren’t we Americans equally as “invented”? We cleaved ourselves out of the British Empire back in the late 1700’s, but even before that we were referring to ourselves as “Americans,” by virtue of the fact that we were living in America. What do we refer to the original occupants of this land as? “Native Americans.” Are Native Americans an “invented” people as well? Maybe Mr. Gingrich should seek those answers, before making poor attempts at painting himself as “pro-Israel” by talking down Palestinians, who have definitely been in the area since long before the Ottoman Empire.
If this was a History final, Mr. Gingrich gets an “F” and must repeat the course. Given the many moronic positions that he has taken in the past, I shudder to think what his frontrunner status in the polls indicates about the majority of Republican voters; either they’re not paying attention, (which they need to, if things are to get any better for the U.S. in the future!) or they’re just as willingly clueless as Gingrich himself. I hope it’s the former and not the latter, because the former at least can be fixed, and we can all move to the head of the class.