Peter King’s petulant hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims began this Thursday, much to the delight of the nation’s bigots and deceased Senator Joseph McCarthy. Most everyone not listed above have expressed their discontent with the Congressman, especially the Muslim community.

Representative King is well aware of the criticisms surrounding his tax-funded witch hunt. He began the hearings with a monologue defending their very existence. It included the phrase “not un-American.”

“Not un-American.” That’s just a way of saying “sure, this doesn’t comply with the values this country was founded on, but it’s not like McCarthy and FDR haven’t done it before” using a double negative.

What’s most remarkable about these hearings is that they are occurring in 2011. Maybe that’s because Republicans are out of control and don’t have a leader to rein them in.

That’s right. The age-old tactic of racial scapegoating revived by Peter King (and all of the Republicans who felt that a man with an expressed anti-Muslim agenda would make a good committee chair) is destructive in ways that even former President Bush couldn’t bear to be associated with.

George W. Bush listened in on phone conversations, he looked into bank accounts, and locked prisoners of war away in Gitmo, but he always knew the importance of distancing terrorism from mainstream Islam. King has a thing or two to learn from his friend on the radical right.

Bush declared war on terror. He went after suspected terrorists. He justified incredible encroachments on our civil liberties as a way to defend us from Islamic extremists.

See how he was able to properly identify our enemy? Sure, he acted like the whole world was his enemy, but he did his best to curtail the inevitable racial fears that would result from 9/11.

King, on the other hand, has waged war with the ordinary American Muslim. His list of grievances include seemingly reasonable acts such as mosque-building and using the internet to speak out against American injustices.

He’s not defending our country by persecuting a broad spectrum of radicals who demonstrate a capacity to commit violence like he should, he’s accusing an entire subset of the population of being open to insane ideas because of their religious beliefs.

Most people, including George Bush, understand that bigotry demonstrated by public officials only leads to more bigotry and anger. Peter King doesn’t, despite his access to friends in the IRA who could tell him all about it.

King should be investigating radicals, not the process by which American Muslims are apparently turning into said radicals. He should not be using his seat in Congress to spread racial fear. To the rest of the world, this makes Americans seem like a bunch of radicalized Christians.

And that’s a dangerous group Peter King would never dream of investigating.