Watching the American television news cycle, it is as though the country had been occupied by an army of Islamist radicals. The criminal actions of two young American men are derailing the sense and composure of the world's only superpower.
Rightwing pundits are exploiting Boston to revive their pet policies on immigration control, and fueling hatred of Islam. Ann Coulter demanded Tamerlan Tsarnaev's wife to be jailed for merely wearing a hijab, and Sean Hannity wanted to waterboard the suspect. Both wanted to kill, not arrest, try, and convict. No, do not dismiss them as "marginal" – they opine on prime-time television in America's largest cable television network, Fox News.
Many on the American left have an altogether different impulse: denial and deflection. Melissa Harris-Perry and her guests at MSNBC thought Islam had as much to do with Boston bombings as Ben Affleck movies. She was wrong.
Cooler heads must prevail. Between bigotry and denial, there is a sensible middle ground that offers ways forward.