We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
America Is Better Than This
Will someone answer this question for me? What is wrong with being a Muslim? There are Muslim doctors, lawyers, teachers, policemen and policewomen. There is a Muslim congressman from the great state of Minnesota named Keith Ellison. We encounter Muslim Americans in every facet of American life. They are part of the American tapestry. When did it become un-American to be a Muslim?
52% of conservative Americans believe Barack Obama wants to institute Sharia Law. I’m sure if you also asked those polled what Sharia law is, they couldn’t tell you. Since it’s associated with Islam and Muslims, it must be terrible– and this president must be in support of it. Everyday more of his American identity evaporates in the eyes of these people–if it were even there at all. Why? Even in the face of substantial proof–evidence that is insurmountable–these people insist on painting the president as some foreign enemy of the state.
Where is the media culpability in this? Fox News pushes a bitter narrative, asking questions about Obama’s American legitimacy and his faith. They allow this meme to be explored on a routine basis. They harbor vicious anti-Muslim views, and foster an unseemly climate of Islamophobia. Yet one of their major shareholders is a Saudi Prince named Al-Waleed bin Talal– a man who owns a 7 percent share of NewsCorp, parent company of Fox News. A man who contributes heavily to Islamic groups Fox conservatives believe are terrorist organizations. A man who in his homeland of Saudi Arabia, rules UNDER Sharia Law. Where is their outrage?
Shouldn’t Sean Hannity be condemning this bold expansion of the Sharia law in American media? If right-wingers fear Sharia tentacles tethering themselves to American institutions, why not start with rebelling against the power structure at Fox News?
These people are not defenders of American justice. They hide behind euphemistic attacks–which are not only cowardly– they’re craven and treasonous. They are dishonoring their patriotism, perverting it in order to gain political advantage.
When Byron York, staunch blue-blood right-wing pundit, indulges in fantastically simplistic reporting, by placing blame directly on the president–he noted that Obama has brought much of this on himself by choosing to play golf or basketball Sunday mornings, rather than attend church–you realize just how cynical and foolish the tone of this debate is. I did not realize that is what made one a Christian. You must attend church on Sundays. If Americans need this type of affirmation– seeing video clips of the president attending church to answer questions– perhaps they have the wrong questions. Amazing. Some of us are choosing to embrace religious radicalism to support our notions of nationalism. That’s not the America I know.
These people are cowering in fear. They are racing to a corner of self-doubt and pity, trying to resist change. There they are, waving flags of self- pity and anger because of their reticence to accept the wave of change on the precipice.
This isn’t what this country is about. It’s not how we were founded. If Islamist fundamentalists choose to burn bibles and American flags, should we meet their wretchedness and hatred with our own? No, and that is what makes us better than the enemy.
This is where we find ourselves. Struggling to discern who we are as a people and a nation. We used to have an identity. We used to stand for something righteous, mighty, and right. We used to stand proudly for tolerance–at least most forward thinking Americans did. We used to debate fairly, cogently, and intelligently. Now we’ve become an empty husk, filling with anger, mistrust, hatred and fear. Now we disavow our own laws callously in order to marginalize some of our citizens. We should be better than this.
America stands for something more because we don’t devalue our idealistic principles, and we don’t deviate from our values. We set the pace for virtuous action, and let others follow our example. Our discourse has been hijacked by pretend patriots, who’ve warped constitutional moralities into fluid, politically expedient landmines. America is better than this.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
How does that happen? Mostly, it's the result of a mixture of hubris and inadvertence. Humans, stuck on themselves, think they know it all. Others are convinced "all it takes is the idea" (the ExxonMobil slogan) and, as it was in the beginning, man says the word and nature is obedient. Fortunately, the age of electronics has made it possible to virtually eliminate inadvertence. We can look ahead and simulate what will happen, if we repeat the mistakes of the past. That's what James Holland is doing with the various projects at Cannon's Point in the marshes on the coast of Read on →
She told her joke by asking, “What is black and yellow and goes zub, zub, zub?” Of course, the answer is a bee going in reverse. Thus we rode this joke off into another round of high-energy talking, joking, and drinking some less than satin wine. If I were to compare her to some famous author, perhaps the Nobel-prize winning Doris Lessing would come to mind. She’s funny, yet serious at the same time. She’s a loving mother and grandmother, yet has a life of her own and has mastered how to sail through the narrows and out into the sea. She seems to Read on →
The ethical man keeps his hands to himself and does not destroy what he admires and loves. The ethical man does not subscribe to the excuse that “you always hurt the one you love. The ethical hurts no-one at all. Most of the electorate is probably too young to remember the perverse responses Jimmy Carter’s admission of having lusted in his heart occasioned among Republicans. In retrospect, it seems rather obvious that people, who live and die by the euphemism, were ready to believe that Carter had uttered a prevarication, as they, surely would have done themselves. Moreover, because it came out Read on →
Recently my wife and I attended a reunion of her first cousins (and their spouses). These cousins are the children of the children of a couple of Swedish immigrants who settled in Iowa to farm in the late 19th century. What a wonderful family event! Just enough people to fill all the seats around a table not so big we couldn't all converse together. In all our time together, there wasn't a single hurtful word. Even the spouses, like me, were embraced in the family feeling, all glad to be together. All these cousins -- except for the two children of those Read on →