A nation divided, and coming apart at its seams

If you’ve walked the earth for any length of time and have a reasonable amount of intelligence, you have to wonder if we’re witnessing the end of a civilization that was able to keep things together — more or less — for most of the period after April 9, 1865.

The nation is divided. It is coming apart and each day brings new evidence that it may not long endure.

Courtesy of Advocates for Human Rights

The reaction to Deepinder Mayell’s op-ed in Wednesday’s Star Tribune is as significant as the story he tries to tell about what he says happened to him at a recent Minnesota Vikings game.

Mayell, an attorney and director of the Advocates for Human Rights’ Refugee and Immigrant Program, was born in New York and has lived in Minnesota for four years. But he says he was acosted by another fan who demanded to know if he was a refugee.

“He didn’t know that if he were speaking to a refugee, he’d be speaking to someone who feared persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or social group,” he writes. “He didn’t know that many refugees are victims of some of the worst human-rights abuses occurring on the planet, ranging from being sold into sexual slavery to being killed in mass executions. He didn’t know that being a refugee is a badge of resilience and honor, not danger.”

Other people did not speak up for Mayell, he says. And when he and stadium security confronted the man after he walked away, he apologized.

Mayell didn’t want an apology.

Rather, I wanted him ejected from the stadium because he made me feel unsafe.

The security staff talked with him privately. I don’t know what was said. He was not removed. Apparently, the Vikings do not think that hate speech and racism are removable offenses.

My gameday experience was ruined. I tried to focus on the players, but I continued to take glances at the man who sat just a few yards away. I couldn’t help looking over my shoulder, wondering if he had inspired someone else. It was clear that I would not be bringing my family to a Vikings game.

The hate is a smoke, he writes. It is about to become an unstoppable fire.

Most of the commenters to the op-ed don’t believe it really happened. They didn’t believe the woman who wrote last week of her encounter in a jetway at MSP airport. They didn’t believe that Abdi Mohamed of Minneapolis could have the same dreams for his family — and was entitled to have the same dreams for his family — that other Americans have for theirs.

“Hate speech is free speech, if you do not like it don’t go to the game,” opined one commenter who has never read a story of a Supreme Court ruling.

We were told this week that the Department of Homeland Security is going to soon announce a new terrorism warning system to replace the system that replaced the color-coded system.

If it has any degree of accuracy, it will say that America is currently at Threat Level: Stupid.

Update 8:07 pm The Vikings have released this statement:

Eden Prairie, MN (December 9, 2015) – The Minnesota Vikings first learned of the incident that occurred during Sunday’s Vikings-Seahawks game when Mr. Mayell’s op-ed was printed in today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune.

What Mr. Mayell conveyed is disturbing and certainly not within the values that we consistently promote throughout our organization and in the community. Creating a positive, respectful and safe game day environment for our fans has always been paramount to the Vikings. We do not condone discrimination at any level and have implemented many tactics to prevent and/or report offensive behavior, including an anonymous texting system that is permanently displayed throughout TCF Bank Stadium and a full-page fan “Code of Conduct” inside The Playbook, which is free and available to all fans upon entering the stadium.

We have reached out to Mr. Mayell and our Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren is scheduled to discuss the incident with him directly. We are also in discussions with our internal security staff, who were unaware of the situation until this morning and are now in the process of investigating the incident. We will have further conversations with University of Minnesota security to create the most effective infrastructure to ensure an unfortunate incident such as this does not happen again, but if it does, that it is properly reported and handled.

Related (maybe): Fire at Grand Forks Somali restaurant intentional, marshals say (Grand Forks Herald)

Cruz Won’t Criticize Trump, But Offers His Own Plan To Bar Refugees (NPR)