Sunday, October 12, 2008

My Fellow Citizens

I would like to take this moment to state that "Arab," "family man/woman," "decent," and "American citizen" are not mutually exclusive categories. Though the word "Muslim" was not part of these conversations, I think all know it could have been.

So I want to say to all my Arab and Muslim fellow citizens (an overlapping but not identical group), the cranky old man and his angry, crazy followers do not speak for me.

I am glad we are both parts of the same country. I believe we must stand together.

Who is with us?

Leave a comment...mention a post you wrote and I will link to it.


  1. Yes. Thank you. And as a Jewish American, I hate that they think that they are pandering to my vote every time this issue (or variations thereof) is raised. And I hate even more that at least some of the time, they're right.

    In fairness, though, I read the quote you're referring to and it didn't sound to me like McCain meant it the way it is being interpreted. Did you hear or read it differently? Or are you just responding to the fact that clearly there are many people in this country who DO think they are mutually exclusive and were pleased to hear (or think they heard) him say so?

  2. Could you please link to the quote you're referring to?


  3. I don't think he was intending to say that Arab-Americans are not decent citizens, at least not in the sense that it was in his mind, and I expect he would say that isn't what he meant. On the other hand...well, I don't know what he thinks.

    Still, it is certain the way the conversation keeps going, isn't it? I wrote the post not because I was really upset with McCain at that moment. In fact, I was pleased that he did finally correct his supporters. It was reading so many commentators talking about the tone of the campaign and not talking about the anti-Muslim prejudice.

    I wrote the post thinking about the two women whose offices are near mine. One is a tenured professor, one is visiting. Both are Muslim. I was thinking about how that conversation must have read for them.

  4. Process, Here is one news account of it:

    You can also find video of the exchange.

    As I said, McCain was trying to do the right thing and that is good. It bothered me the same way it bothers me when someone "defends" someone else from the charge of being gay.

  5. Here is another link. You will find a video that include the initial exchange between McCain and a supporter and an interview with the McCain supporter after the rally.

    And again, I am less bothered by this particular exchange and care less about what was in McCain's mind than I am concerned about the prevelance of the attitudes.

  6. Thanks, Yondalla. Absolutely the fact that a reasonable person could have thought that he meant that, could have thought that was a remotely acceptable thing to say, is horrifying even if that wasn't the intent.

    It makes me indescribably angry that we scream anti-semitism every time someone says anything remotely critical of Israel, and yet it is considered socially appropriate to believe that a Muslim should not be president of the U.S. (I know that Obama is Christian, but that seems to be unclear to an amazing number of people). Allowing those types of comments and beliefs to go unchallenged is harmful to everyone who ever has or will be a minority, and those who have suffered from racism or sexism or anti-semitism should be the first and loudest to call foul, not the ones hiding the in the corner being glad it's not us for a change.

    And while I'm ranting, let me also say that one can love and support Israel (and how much did Biden and Palin sound like two kids arguing over who loved mom more?) and still be a vocal critic of their government when appropriate. Those are also not mutually exclusive, any more than being a proud and patriotic American who thinks Bush is an idiot. I am not the only Jew who is proud to have Muslim neighbors both here and in the Middle East.

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