“I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America’s story.”
6/4/2009 - Barack Obama, Cairo, Egypt
Words can be construed in many ways, often to intentionally lead people to “hear” one thing while the speaker is actually “saying” something else. Whether intentionally misleading or poetic license, impressions are made. It is ALWAYS best to base those impressions on the truth.
IF you are an ACTIVE member of today’s online society, from smart phone to ipad and all the rest, it’s important to keep that in mind that NOT everything that crosses your desktop is true and good. Email is a part of our lives, it’s a great way to communicate, but I HATE “bad mail”. Over the past few years, I’ve gotten control of most of the JUNK aspect of the problem… which is a large volume indeed. But I still receive miscellaneous messages from friends and family, some of whom are less sophisticated “users” (coming from a tech perspective), and are urgently passing along the “latest warning message” about something when, in fact, it’s been well discussed on snopes.com for at least 4 years. Usually a hoax or lie.
It’s just a waste of my time.
(nod to Sonny Carolla)
I got one of these emails recently and, just before I deleted it, something caught my eye… I decided to take a closer look. My radar was right, there were errors… but, after stitching a few facts together based on that mass email… a political slam inspired at the time… the message is largely the same. Stronger, even. It makes you wonder why it wasn’t accurate to begin with. Maybe the original writer… it’s probably passed many hands… was just basing it off of having heard the speech just once, had the light come one, and put down his thoughts and feelings about America.
It IS an Obama quote, but it was inaccurate… yet still relevant. A couple of key facts seemed missing… so I added them. If you are a citizen of the United States, see what you think:
- Pilgrim landing, Native American Indians
- First Thanksgiving, Native American Indians
- Constitution signed, no Muslims
- Declaration of Independence/Bill of Rights signed, no Muslims
- Declaration of Independence signed, no Muslims
- American Revolution, no Muslims fighting England for our freedom
- Morocco is first country to recognize the new American Republic, a Muslim country
- Civil War, no Muslims fighting to free the slaves
- Civil Rights Era, marching Christians (MLK)
- Women’s Rights, common Muslim/Sharia views inherently contradict with our American legal system
- World War II, most Muslim countries aligned with Adolf Hitler (supporting Nazi’s in killing Jews).
- September 11, 2001. Radical Muslims make an impression on the U.S.
Now, when the President said “I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America’s story.”, what do you imagine his audience OF MUSLIMS heard? I have no clue. How was that actually TAKEN?
When you examine the history even briefly, you don’t actually see much Muslim involvement at all. Early on, there were the Barbary PIRATES… but that doesn’t help perceptions.
As an everyday American, I ask what you think, how you feel. Should our President… ANY PRESIDENT… propagate the notion that Muslims, radical or not, are a memorable part of our nation’s heritage? No… it is simply not the truth. I acknowledge that there is a Muslim component to the American fabric, most notably of late, but they have been largely below the radar. Again, this isn’t so much about religion and such, it is about projecting a picture that is either distorted or misleading. People need clarity. In particular, people of different cultures need clarity if they are to have any hope of living together peaceably.
So, WHY WOULD the President say that? I believe I know the explanation, but it still doesn’t make it right:
Barack Obama had an unusual upbringing compared to an “everyday American”. This has nothing to do with race or any political leanings of his family, it simply has to do with the life he lived as a kid, growing up, and as a student throughout his younger years.
- Traveled internationally and actually lived in other countries… nothing wrong with it, but it is not typical. Probably more in common with some military brats doing tours abroad (no disrespect to the families).
- Exposed to foreign languages and customs during earlier years… again, knowledge is good, but you cannot expect the local culture NOT to be absorbed by a formative human being. It MUST affect their perspective (which is neither good or bad, just DIFFERENT!).
- You know, I’ve heard of various books and movies that probably describe some of this stuff better… the 2 items above should be enough to make my point. They ARE significant.
All this isn’t to say our current President’s upbringing and background are either good or bad, that’s a separate (very long) discussion. Nor does it question patriotism. Not the point.
Beliefs in the heart and mind are developed as we grow up, and that time period will affect the ideas and opinions we have. My point is that it is DIFFERENT. Not the same that MOST Americans “feel” since there are big differences. I probably has many shared aspects, but it inherently will have distinct differences. I suppose the question comes down to: does that difference MAKE A DIFFERENCE? Other than “flavor”, does it materially affect decisions made?
- Have you ever been to a Muslim hospital?
- Have you ever heard a Muslim orchestra?
- Have you ever seen a Muslim band march in a parade?
- Have you ever witnessed a Muslim charity?
- Have you ever shaken hands with a Muslim youngster raising funds for a good purpose?
If not, WHY not?
Maybe we need to revisit the Treaty of Tripoli. The U.S. conflict with the Muslim world (not those within our society, those outside it) is a serious issue and must be resolved… or we just fence off that part of the world and let them destroy themselves. Add this to my case for the latter:
To this very day, Muslims are still among the largest traffickers in human slavery in the world… and are openly racist towards others, including other Muslims (Arabic vs. black).
It is NOT judgmental to say that this is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR in today’s world. AND, if Muslims sincerely do have a problem with the “western world” (good definition needed here), then I respectfully request that Muslims CLEAN UP THEIR OWN ACT before objecting to the lesser acts of others! Part of this means “good Muslim” groups… those who are not RADICAL, people we WANT to be friends with… are responsible for speaking out against their own when their brothers step out of line.
And “clean up” includes taking care of your own people. You want to compare POVERTY in the U.S. to ANY predominantly-Muslim country? Or standard of living? Or healthcare system? Notice where your KINGS and MULLAHS go when they really need medical care and how well they advocate for the poor.
A Muslim country was the first to recognize the U.S.A. in the world community. I didn’t know that. Look at the differences that part of the world has been through… and then compare it to what happened in America. BOTH cultures could have accomplished the same things as the other. America surged in greatness for a couple of centuries while the Middle East… what’s the right word? languished? shut out the rest of the world? just kept doing the same old things? was slow to adopt modern ways?
Despite many notable achievements in their rich history, it seems that most of the Muslims living in the Middle East are in a very confused state/condition… a cultural frame of mind that has them dizzy with too much incongruity. That’s my theory… and US involvement in that area (as well as many other countries throughout history) hasn’t helped. Their traditions span many, many centuries and it is firmly ingrained in their every hour. They have become a juxtaposition of modern technology (smart phones and explosives) and ancient tribal rites (warring for territory, gold, and women). It has also become a culture where males outnumber females (!) and, considering certain years during a young man’s development, the multiplier effect could mean DANGER.
Maybe more on this at another time.