Senator and presidential candidate John McCain betrayed more than a passing ignorance of all things Middle Eastern when he reassured a woman at one of his rallies last week that his opponent, Senator Barack Obama, is not an Arab. McCain self-righteously believed he was defending his opponent, which, if he really knew what he was talking about, would leave little question as to his opinion of this ethnic group, and by extension, all other ethnic groups.
We believe McCain was confusing Arab with Muslim, which says something even more important about this man: He has no business being put in charge of this country when he cannot distinquish between a major faith and an ancient culture and when he harbors such bias in his heart for both.
That the woman attending the rally made the assertion in the first place is not surprising. Who can blame the average American for misunderstanding the Arab culture and the Islamic faith when biased people like John McCain are actually running for president?
Not to say that Senator Barack Obama is performing any better. He praised McCain for defending him, without ever mentioning that there is nothing wrong with being an Arab. Imagine if the woman had said she was afraid of Obama because he’s an African American. Or because he was a Jew? Would that have been virtually ignored by everyone?
Once the shining hope of Arab Americans and American Muslims, Obama has lost the support of many in these communities by bowing so low in servitude to the pro-Israeli lobby.
He never condemned, for example, the apartheid wall in Palestine, even when he gave a speech in Berlin about apartheid walls.
He moved to the right of George Bush on the issue of East Jerusalem, saying it should be the “undivided” capital of the Jewish state.
In a Detroit event, women in hijab were removed from the sight of cameras. And two Muslim outreach coordinators have been subjected to stricture for guilt by association.
He hasn’t met with Arab American groups or Muslim organizations, nor has he requested their endorsement.
There is a disease afoot in this land that threatens our very existence. The intentional slandering and ignorant misunderstanding of Arabs and Muslims gnaws away at the central premise of our nation: Land of the free and home of the brave. We are not free when we are enslaved by ignorance and not brave when we are too fearful to confront the element in this country which is beholden to another land and working endlessly on its behalf.
One would hope that candidates for president of the United States would stand up against defamation of an entire ethnic group of people or the faith of a billion and a half Muslims.
And one would hope that those candidates would put America’s interests ahead of Israel or any other nation.
If we don’t do both soon, what makes America great will be gone.