I’m tired of it all.
I’m tired of the insinuations about Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) because his dead father was a Muslim. I’m tired of the insinuations about his middle name—Hussein—and the racist/bigoted insinuations that I’ve seen on the Right that flow from there. I’m even tired of the assertion that the senator isn’t even really a black American (whatever that means to a group of people who are demonstrably of mixed-race for the most part) because he has a white mother and a non-American black—i.e. African—father and, yes, since his father and my father were/are of the same tribe and nationality, I take that last bit of information quite personally.
Like me, Senator Obama wasn’t even raised by his biological father* and, though he had an Indonesian step-father who was probably a Muslim, he says that he is a Christian. And, like me, Obama has been long interested in knowing more about his heritage--probably since, like me, Obama was born and raised here in our beloved USA with a zero amount of it, outside of our middle and surnames. And, unlike most black Americans, the senator and I are blessed enough to know at least some part of our African heritage--something that is very prized among the mostly slave-descended black American population.
But Debbie Schlussel determines such interest as something else. Well, guess what. I was raised as a Muslim also. My mother and (black American) step-father subscribed to the creed of the Nation of Islam back in the day. And like Obama, I went to a Muslim school—for longer than he did. I even have a high school diploma from Clara Muhammad Elementary and Secondary School, obtained when I was fifteen, since the school didn’t take summer breaks.
But things change. Both my mom and my step-dad are now Bible-believing Christians, as am I. Dad is now even a Methodist pastor. However, I wonder whether our conversions will be questioned as Senator Obama’s is being even now by Schlussel, who calls the senator’s middle name “a Muslim name.” Well, no. It’s an Arabic name. And there are many Arab Christians who, obviously, have Arabic names. Here’s one. Here’s another one.
In spite of our shared heritage, I wouldn’t dream of voting for Senator Obama, no matter how "well-spoken" and "handsome" he is. (And, in my opinion he isn't "all that.") His stances on abortion, economics and the Global War on Terror--to name a few issues--are an anathema to me, though they are no more Left-leaning than, say, Senator Dick Durbin's (D-IL). However, when I look at many conservative opinions on the man in question--he who appears to be being groomed for the number-two slot for the Democrats in the 2008 presidential election--I see all too much bigotry being put forth as reasons not to vote for the candidate who will probably be Senator Hillary Clinton’s choice for running mate.
Is that how the Right wants to portray itself?
BTW, there are a lot of black Americans with Arabic first names—my youngest sister is one of them. She was born in the late seventies when my parents were still “Muslims,” but she is also now a Christian. She and millions of other black Americans were dubbed names like “Ayisha,” “Amira,” “Jamal,” and “Malik,” but are no more Muslim than is
Lt. General John Abizaid (aka "the Mad Arab"). Does the Right want to alienate such people?
Considering that most black Americans vote Democrat anyway, perhaps some on the Right believe that black America is a lost cause as it relates to bringing a substantial portion of that number over to the Republican Party. Well, if some of you keep going down the road you’re going with respect to Senator Obama, you can count on that number approaching 100% and kiss the White House goodbye. As a conservative Republican, I couldn’t bring myself to vote for a ticket with the too-Liberal/Leftist senator on it. However, no group of people can stand having his/her heritage being insulted for very long—an issue for which any person has no choice.
Vote for the person who stands for what you believe in—and leave the bigotry at home.
(Thanks to Hot Air)
* My biological father is an atheist. Note how much that affected my belief in a deity.
UPDATE: Not really related, but since General Abizaid is mentioned here, I'd like to note that he's retiring in March of next year, after thirty-four years of service. Wonder if he's interested in running for president. :-)
UPDATE (February 15, 2008): I notice that as Kenya implodes and as Obama's campaign surges, I'm getting some hits on this year-old post. Well, a couple more items for readers to chew on are here and here. While you're reading these items, remember this axiom: if the rock didn't hit you, don't yelp. --JAO