From John Steinbeck's "Travels with Charley"
While I was still in Texas late in 1960 , the incident most reported and pictured in the newspapers was the matriculation of a couple of tiny Negro children in a New Orleans school. Behind these small dark mites were the law's majesty and the law's power to enforce--both the scales and the sword were allied with the infants--while against them were three hundred years of fear and anger and terror of change in a changing world. I had seen photographs in the papers every day and motion pictures on the television screen. What made the newsmen love the story was a group of stout middle-aged women who, by some curious definition of the word "mother," gathered every day to scream invectives at children. Further, a small group of them had become so expert that they were known as the Cheerleaders, and a crowd gathered every day to enjoy and to applaud their performance.
Last week I mentioned that I heard a brief snippet on Bill O'Reilly's radio program of a frightened woman asking O'Reilly if it were true that Barack Obama is a muslim who insisted on being sworn into the senate on a Koran.
The very next day I received an e-mail from a woman who is the wife of one of my husband's high school friends. I'll post the entire e-mail in comments. I'm guessing that it was the radio woman's source for her Obama misinformation, since it not only contains the Koran/swearing in nugget, but claims that Obama refuses to say the pledge of allegiance and turns his back to the flag and slouches when it is being said in his presence.
It ends like this
"The Muslims have said they plan on destroying the US from the inside out, what better way to start than at the highest level - through the President of the United States, one of their own!!!!
----Remember he only move [sic] to this country three years ago. It is scary. Who is funding his campaign? Who is pushing to get him in!!
How did he rise so high in 3 years?"
I was really angry after I read the entire e-mail. I thought of about eight different ways to respond to the e-mail. The first three started with 'fuck you, moron'. Instead, I put it away for a few days. Yesterday I wrote my answer. Here it is:
Snopes.com has a decent rebuttal of the claims made in this e-mail. You can read it here: http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/muslim.asp
Without even going to Snopes for clarification, I should think a few glaring errors would have shown this e-mail to be highly flawed, such as the declaration that Obama has only been in the US for only 3 years, or that a United States' senator would refuse to say the pledge of allegiance.
I am saddened that this piece of bigoted misinformation is making the rounds. I respect anyone's right to make an informed choice about candidates-preferably based on their stand on the issues. But this hatchet piece reeks of the same kind of religious hatred used against John F. Kennedy in 1960.
The tenor of anti-muslim hatred in this country is fast approaching the German hatred for the Jews in the 1930s. I would like to think that if I were a German living then I'd have spoken up per the words of Reverend Neimoller who said
"First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up, because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me." Well, as an American in the new millenium, I will speak up for the muslims. This e-mail is just wrong.
I would like to point out that much of the misinformation printed here came from a piece in the Washington Times - owned by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, just so you know your sources.
In the mean time, Mike Huckabee was hosted yesterday by a southern baptist minister who wrote the following:
"I'm going to submit to you that as believers in Christ Jesus, we are not even of America," Wilton said. "We march according to a different drumbeat. Ours is not the Constitution of America; ours is the constitution of the Almighty God."
That frightens me a whole lot more than a Harvard Law graduate community activist member of the United Church of Christ (Obama) running the country. That is a christian saying that christians are above the constitution. I imagine that if those words were uttered by a muslim you'd realize how frightening they are to those of us who aren't christian.
I tried to send my e-mail to everyone this woman had sent it to, but my e-mail editor doesn't allow me to do a batch mailing unless I set it up putting everyone in my address book. I would do it, but you can't change idiots with such complicated devices as the facts. I'm afraid I would be wasting my time.
If you get this e-mail and you would like to reply, feel free to use mine. And thank you internet lords for Snopes.