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.

Matthew Wright

Matthew Wright

Matthew Wright, originally from Connecticut, is a blogger and budding freelance writer. He is heavily interested in politics and public policy. His aim is to encourage real debate between real people. Real change begins on the grassroots level, not in the media. He attended the University of Hartford in West Hartford,Connecticut, and now makes his home in Atlanta, Georgia. He also makes a mean lasagna.