So what if we’re out of tune with the rest of the world?
Whenever this gets raised, the implication is that there is something wrong with being an Arab-American or a Muslim. And the media is complicit here, too.
I am, and have been since the beginning of this campaign, incredibly disgusted with the amount of implicit racism and ethno-centrism that has been tolerated since Obama announced his canidacy. No, Barack Obama is not a Muslim. Yes, his father is Kenyan. Yes, his middle name, or rather his whole name, is indicative of his father’s cultural roots. Barack is, in fact, both a Christian by baptism, and an American by birth.
For a voter like me, these factors make little or no difference in how I will vote. With the exception of being an American by birth, there is no other standing clause in the Constitution that suggests a cadidate for the presidency must be a Christian, or an Anglo-Saxon, or of European descent. For someone like me, who takes little to notice of a candidate’s religion and therefore could care less which god he or she does or doesn’t pray to, these arguments have never been important to me.
What is important to me is the fact that I am still receiving emails, this late in the game, suggesting Obama is unpatriotic and will “raise the Muslims up” and will defend his middle-eastern brothers. And like Ms. Brown, I would ask: So what?
When did it become socially unacceptable, and to some, downright threatening, for a holder of public office to be a Muslim? The answer, rather unfortunately, was September 11.
Unfortunately, because September 11 was carried out by a rouge handful of people who also happened to practice Islam, the American mindset has been entrenched for the past seven years in anti-Islam and anti-Arab rhetoric. As such, the unforseen (or who knows, with this administration, possibly it was deliberate) consequence of establishing an “Anti-Terror” mission statement has been an extreme and encompassing Anti-Anyone-Who-Doesn’t-Look-Like-Us, You’re Either With Us Or You’re Against Us mentality.
So yes, there is a logical moment in people’s minds when it suddenly did become threatening or wrong to be a Muslim, to be an American-Muslim. (Even one of my family members, upon my return from Bosnia, asked in a rather sneering tone, Mosques? As in, Muslim mosques? when I showed her a photo of the central mosque in Sarajevo.)
The problem is that by finding fear in the unfounded notion that Barack Obama is a Muslim, we’re doing ourselves, and the idea this country was founded upon, a staggering disservice. The beauty of America has always been that it is a place where everyone is welcome; where any religion can be practiced; where anyone can have an opinion and that opinion can be, if not agreed with, at least tolerated.
To take that idea and pervert it, to spread lies about a candidate’s ethnicity or religion, for the sake of fear-mongering a percentage of the electorate that is largely under-educated or just flat-out ignorant, is disgusting.
This may be the one time in my life where I compliment John McCain over Hillary Clinton, but I have to give him credit: He took the microphone away from the crazy grandma who said she didn’t trust Obama because she’d read that he was an Arab and he refuted it, albeit, in a round-about way, saying, “No Ma’am, he isn’t. He’s decent, a family-man, a citizen.” He never explicitly said, Obama is a Christian. But, he did silence her. Hillary, when asked the same question during a 60 Minutes interview with a few families in rural, southeastern Ohio, during the primary, didn’t even bother denying the suggestion that Obama is a Muslim. She gave a small chuckle and said, “What?”
Anyway, I’m just glad to see something that has been brewing around my brain for the last ten months finally put to print. Even if it is too little, too late, at least someone is finally bringing this up.
Filed under: politics | 3 Comments
Tags: annoyed, CNN, election 2008, finally