Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ready to Storm Obama's Playing Field

There was much made - and is still being made - of Barack Obama's links to Muslims and Islamic entities during the recent presidential election. Some people were/are concerned with his father's Muslim beliefs. Some were/are concerned with his history in Pakistan. All were/are still concerned about the huge amounts of donations from foreign nationals in Muslim nations. The Bench also wrote about some of Obama's connections to Islam, but strove to do so in a way that examined facts, not conjecture or rumor. The Bench passed on a number of "stories" that readers sent to us, because after we cross checked them we found that they were false myth or perilously devoid of hard facts. Then there were those driven by anti-Muslim bigotry, and while The Bench does not run from calling an Islamic terrorist an "Islamic terrorist," we also acknowledge that the vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists. Five weeks after Obama won the election, The Bench still gets such letters. The Internet still throbs with such items. Let us stress that bigotry against Barack Obama for any past or present Muslim influence in his personal life is no more acceptable than the hateful bigotry thrown at Republican contender Mitt Romney. Romney, a Mormon from a long line of Mormons, was savaged by bigots in both the Democrat Party as well as his own. Perhaps one day we can judge a person by the content of his character and not by the flavor of his religious beliefs. (That said, I confess that I would be a bit nervous about a candidate for any office who was known to be a Satanist.) A recent letter came to The Bench, in which the well-meaning author expressed concern about Obama's intention to deliver a major speech in the capital of "a Muslim nation" shortly after his upcoming inauguration. That, the reader wrote, as well as his Muslim campaign donors, is supposed to be a signal that Obama is really some kind of stealth Islamist. She stopped short of speculating that Obama owns a closet full of suicide bomber belts, but she might as well have written that, too. My response to her, and my advice to people who are still all worked up about Obama's Muslim ties, follows: Dear Reader: As for Obama and the Muslims: First, take a deep breath, hold it for ten seconds, then... let ... it ... out slowly. Now then, let me play Devil's advocate: Proceed with caution on this, because we do not know absolutely that he is a Muslim. In fact, overwhelming evidence is that he's not a Muslim. Think about it: The drug use years ago. The way Michelle dresses (like an average Western woman). The fact that he does not bow down five times daily to pray or attend mosque services as a worshipper. For argument's sake, let's agree that he was born to a Muslim father. So what? My dad was Jewish, my mother was non-denominational Protestant. I grew up agnostic but converted to Christianity after a personal epiphany, but have never prayed in a church. I pray at the beach or under a tree or wherever I want (because God hears all, everywhere, anytime). What does that mean? It means nothing, and it means everything: We are all unique, and one of the great things about the US, and the West in general, is freedom of choice and freedom from familial bondage to any particular religion or set of customs. So, is Barack Obama secretly Muslim? Only he knows, but I seriously doubt it. If he's some kind of sleeper agent or Manchurian candidate, well, we can't know that yet. In the meantime, I have to go with the overwhelming evidence (of his actions) that he is not Muslim. Is he sympathetic to the Muslims? No doubt he is. Is that, in and of itself, a bad thing? It depends upon the degree to which he sympathizes with them. Does he have the right to feel an affinity for Muslims? Yes. Does he have a right to make a speech in any city he chooses? Yes, he does, and I think the reason that he is making an announcement in "an Islamic capital" is that the subject of his speech will relate directly to Muslim and/or Arab concerns and affairs. That should not be suspicious, necessarily. We are, after all, engaged in friendly diplomatic relations with many of the Arab nations. We have invaded two Muslim nations recently. We import a huge portion of our petroleum from that region. We need to strengthen relations with them, not by appeasing, but through mutual cooperation in matters of security and military coordination, as well as a broad range of mutual concerns with all things economic. I could go on and on, but I think you see where I'm going with all of this. Just because he has Muslim contributors is not necessarily an indictment of his character or intentions, either. Any candidate who runs an election campaign for any office higher than dog catcher is likely to receive contributions from unsavory characters or controversial entities. I guarantee you that every Republican got contributions from neo-Nazis or Klan members. Does that make the Republican politicians Nazis or Klansmen? Of course not. Pedophiles, litterers, jaywalkers and all kinds of people donate to both parties. So, a large number of Muslims donated to Obama. What does that mean, really, except that they are anti-White, anti-Western and/or see Obama as somebody who might take us in a direction more favorable to Muslim countries. That, by the way, does not necessitate an anti-Israel stance. We cannot assume, and we cannot know, how many of the tens of thousand of Muslims who donated to Obama's campaigns (IL Senate, US Senate, President) are disloyal Americans or in favor of driving Israel into the sea, or may be terrorist sympathizers. My guess (and there is no way for anybody to measure this) is that the vast majority of them are average people who donated to a particular candidate (Obama, in this case) for average reasons: Ethnicity, their personal religious orientation, liberal political orientation, socio-economic history and status, and on and on and on. Let's sit back and enjoy the show. We, you and I, are spectators for the moment. Let's let the referees on the field officiate the game. If there is foul play down there, we trust that the referees will throw a flag down and issue the appropriate penalties. Like British soccer fans, however, we hold in reserve the option of storming the field if the referees don't do their job. RELATED: Obama Mulls Speech in Muslim Capital (The Washington Independent) Obama Reveals Plans To Reach Out To Muslim World (Huffington Post) Right Truth: Obama's World Apology Tour (RightTruth) Plans major speech in Muslim capital to 'reboot' America's image (WorldNet Daily) Here comes the Great Man complex (American Thinker) A Cairo speech? (Politico)