Sunday, October 19, 2008

Army Spc. Kareem R. Khan


I'm sorry. Really I am. I'd give anything to have things to say about anything that wasn't politics.

But then I read something like Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan posted by Karen Tumulty, which heavily quotes an article written by Shruti L. Mathur.

And reading that, no matter how much I'd rather write about the TV shows I'm watching or books I'm reading or ideas I have for shitty things I could be or should be writing or how people celebrate Halloween, things I enjoy a million times more than politics at this point in my life... but they just seem to fade away.

Today Colin Powell asked, "Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is no. That's not America. Is there something wrong with a seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing he or she could be president? Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion that he is a Muslim and might have an association with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America."

That man, pictured above, was a year younger than my baby sister. I'm a big brother by a long distance on that one, so I'm probably more amazed by that fact than I ought to be.

Looking at his face, the rabble we've seen so much at the McCain/Palin rallies, who are encouraged by the thinly veiled attacks of both Republian candidates, whose fears and ignorance are stoked by both Republican candidates, who openly and contemptuously speak their hatred and ignorance to open cameras in public places shift from being troubling but expected figures to being evil monsters, ogres who mock and aim to destroy the things that make this country great... or that should make this country great or are supposed to make this country great.

And all through this, John Sidney McCain III sends out subtly encouraging messages to these people, he allows and publically defends the robocalls made by his campaign that are obviously intended to subtly - perhaps "subtly" should have been in quotation marks there - encourage the kind of hatred that this man - I have to fight the urge to type "boy" every time - gave his life in part to defend against.

If Senator McCain were seated next to me, I'm sure he would repeat his claim that he has and does repudiate such hateful actions, all in the same dismissive tone he takes every time this comes up. It's a nice trick, if done correctly you appeal to the people who believe these things should be repudiated without having to actually repudiate them.

Half-assed explanations that Sen. Obama is not an "Arab" but a "He's a decent family man and citizen." Of course, this leaves casually open the idea that "Arab" is the opposite of "decent family man and citizen".

Others have, rather kindly, assumed that in the moment he merely didn't speak correctly, but I'm not so sure of that. Leaving that open means those who aren't so sure that Obama isn't an "Arab" will still be inclined to vote against him.

Sen. McCain owes it to America, if he hopes to be our next president, or to be an honorable servant of the nation and statesman, to openly, vigorously and wholly repudiate any and all statements made by people speaking for him, with him, around him or through him that would bring disrespect to American Muslims and Arabic Americans who serve as good citizens and decent family men (and women).

Anything less is as bad as nothing at all, which seems to be what he and his campaign are counting on.

4 comments:

Dr. Scarabus Lapper said...

Well Fox, I am happy to say that two friends of mine, who have voted Republican as long as I can remember, told me they can't do it this year. I will not say when, just because I prefer to keep these things to myself, and it was some time ago (not in the 2000's definitely) but I also opted not to vote for the Democratic candidate at one time. I for one do not understand people feeling they have to vote for who their party puts up. That's not thinking, it's the behavior of sheep. I am not sheep. Given the overwhelming, cascading avalanche of information available to us about the untruths and deceit of the McCain/Palin campaign, I simply have to assume anyone casting their vote for them at this time is a sheep of the party. Someone who willfully refuses to think for themselves.

My friends are in agreement with me that the Republican party is no longer the party of Goldwater or Eisenhower or even the first George Bush, the one who signed tax regulation when he understood it was necessary for the economy. One who was willing to do things outside of party lines because the country mattered more. This Republican party is an empty shell of the one that used to be. I don't understand how people cannot see it when conservatives from George Will to Christopher Buckley to Andrew Sullivan have pointed this out time and time again. Will and Buckley have made mention several times how Obama is the true conservative candidate in this election and how people should not cast a vote for him in protest but in actual conservative support. And yet...

And yet...

There are still people who will not do it. They will go into the voting booth and cast their vote for a man who has shown himself not to be the honorable maverick so many thought he was before but a dirty campaigner who seems willing to eschew all dignity for the hope of election.

I am glad my two friends, who have always understood as I have, both sides of the coin, as I have derided Democratic leaders and they Republican ones, that voting isn't about hypnotically going with your party of choice like a robot, but about thinking about and following both candidates and making an intelligent choice.

Dr. Scarabus Lapper said...

By the way, Neil, I have no idea why I called you Fox. Sorry about that. This McCain bullshit probably had me thinking Fox News.

EVIL CLOWN said...

Lapper must be ill or something.

Anyway, well done Neil. This is good stuff. I agree with all of it and am a little embarrassed to say that I thought it was good that McCain said that Obama was a "good, decent man" all the while not thinking that it was suggested that Arabs are somehow not good and decent people. But it was not lost on me that McCain in trying to stand up and do what's right never said that Obama was not an Arab, which is curious.

I was not surprised to read that Karl Rove is slithering in the shadows again. He is no doubt behind this, somehow. It's the Gay Marriage issue. Scare people into voting for you. It's despicable.

Neil Sarver said...

Thanks to both of you.

Somehow writing this post seems to have - for now at least - drained me of my politic-writing powers. Hopefully for the season!

So, you'll both have to make due with my appreciation for your kind and thoughtful responses.

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