“Has it really gotten this bad?” my wife said to me as we listened to NPR yesterday morning while getting ready for work.
Mara Liasson was interviewing a group of swing voters about their presidential leanings, and one of them said: “I don’t trust Osama.”
Slight, deliberate pause. “I mean Obama.”
“It’s only one letter difference,” Mr. Fasano helpful explained.
Then he walked further down the path of prejudice: “His middle name is ‘Hussein.’ He comes from a Muslim family.”
You could almost hear him leaning into the microphone at this point. “It’s not right,” he scolded. “I fear for America if he comes in.”
I guess Mr. Fasano missed the part in Obama’s 2004 DNC speech when he talked about “the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes America has a place for him, too.”
After reading Andrea Elliott’s New York Times piece about the marginalization that Muslims have felt in the Obama campaign, I wonder if Mr. Obama needs to revisit that speech also.
Every Presidential campaign is an opportunity to affirm America’s core values – to ourselves and the world. I hope this campaign starts living up to one of those values, best articulated by Senator Clinton… “there are no acceptable prejudices in the 21st century in our country.”
Not against somebody’s gender. Not against somebody’s race. Not against somebody’s religion.
Which makes me think about the time John Edwards said, back when he was in the running, that he didn’t want the votes of people who refused to vote for Senator Clinton because of her gender and Senator Obama because of his race.
What if Mr. McCain put on his homepage tomorrow that he doesn’t want the votes of people like Mr. Fasano who proudly proclaim that they are not voting for Mr. Obama because they don’t like his name or the religion of his grandfather?
After all, it is America’s openness and tolerance that is allowing McCain and his wife to raise an adopted daughter from Bangladesh in this great country. It is an open and tolerant America that McCain has fought for as both a warrior and a statesman.
There are many things that Republicans and Democrats, rightly, argue about.
There are some things that all decent Americans, rightly, should stand up for.
You’ve done it before for this country, Senator McCain. Now is the time to do it again.
The first in a weekly series about people and programs bridging the faith divide.
After Aubrey Rose heard Imam Yayha Hendi speak at her Catholic Church, the 15-year-old set out to create an interfaith project. She met Ziyad El Baz, a Muslim high school student, at the same event, and together they organized a Day of Interfaith Youth Service (DIYS) for their town, Frederick, Maryland. The students who participated cleaned and landscaped a house for Way Station, Inc., which serves people with mental disabilities. Their interfaith group has already begun brainstorming future events to continue this movement of interfaith service and dialogue. At only fifteen, Aubrey Rose has helped to bridge the faith divide.