Saturday, November 1, 2008

Steve Clemons Takes a Step in the Right Direction; Let's Go All the Way, I Say

Yesterday (Hallowe'en) was a great day for this blogger. Steve Clemons posted a very interesting piece on HuffPo.

Obama's Team Needs to Drop Phobia Towards Arab-Americans and Muslims

A couple of well-placed insiders have told me that US Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad is going to make a quick split after the November 4th election. Some think he is going to position himself to run for the presidency of Afghanistan -- which I sincerely hope he does not do. Others think he has lined up a financially lucrative perch at an investment house. The problem with the latter scenario is that I was informed by my sources of Khalizad's departure agenda before the financial meltdown.

Khalilzad has been an effective and important successor to John Bolton at the UN on a number of levels, but one aspect of his service and identity that rarely gets attention is that he is the highest-ranking Muslim in the Bush administration.

America needs Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans in positions of responsibility in our government -- and not just dealing with Arab-American and Muslim issues. This is important as America needs to keep open the doors of civic opportunity to all Americans however hyphenated.

Yesterday, Justin Vogt of The New Yorker wrote a piece titled "Imagined Community" for the new Abu-Dhabi based The National. His article is one of the most serious and comprehensive discussions of the state of Arab-Americans in American politics I have read. I had a few quotes in the piece including the comment that "Both Muslims and Arab-Americans have been ill-treated in this political environment."

But the reason to read it is that we do need the 'likely' Obama administration to immediately suspend its generalized phobia of most things Muslim and Arab. McCain and Palin have been trying to slander Obama for relationships with "questionable" Arabs and have through a variety of means allowing a whisper campaign that he may be "Muslim."

I agree with Colin Powell. Why should it matter?! Muslims and Arab Americans are no less American than anyone else reading this blog -- or reading or listening to Fox and Friends in the morning.

Although, shame on Tom Ridge for jumping on the bandwagon of hysterical demonization and slander of Columbia University Rashid Khalidi and Barack Obama even though Ridge said on Fox's show Tuesday morning that he knew nothing about Khalidi or what he had written or said -- but that this showed Obama's tendency to associate himself with terrorists and questionable people. That was outrageous.

Some of these Fox critics ought to dig into the founding entities of the Likud party in Israel and apply some historical objectivity.

-- Steve Clemons publishes the popular political blog, The Washington Note

So who's driving "the bandwagon of hysterical demonization and slander" anyway? Could it be people whom 'the effective and important successor to John Bolten" calls his fellow neocons? Clemons sounds like he's saying, 'Let's get a Muslim in the next administration, no matter that he's a charter member of the Project for a New American Century and oversaw our criminal occupation of Iraq?

How the hell will that help?

knowBuddhaU See Profile permalink

O brother, my Brother Steve! A step in the right direction. Let's go all the way. It isn't just Muslim and Arabs who have been ill-served: we all have.

Did you see the movie, _White Squall_? On a plaque below the ship's bell was inscribed the best phrase I've ever read: "Where we go one, we go all."

Where we smear one, we smear All. Where we imprison one, we imprison All.

Until we get beyond the absolute dualism of 'Us Good Guys Here' vs. 'Them Evil-Doers Over There,' we'll be doomed to repeating the wars of the past.

[[[Absolute Supremacy / The Commons///[[[{{{Absolute Subjugation}}}]]]]]]

The brackets and slashes represent the walls we hide behind, including the most fundamental wall of all: the self / other divide. As you can plainly see, a dominant groups asserts privileged access to the Commons, while simultaneously denying access to an underclass. Substitute any dom/sub pairing you like.

beloved/UNION/Beloved is our more perfect Union. It's of the same pattern as these words right here: silentspace/SOUND/silentspace.

Humanity is impaled on the twin horns of the same bull: 'is,' or 'is not?' Good, or Evil? Left, or Right? Democrat, or Republican? "To be or not to be" is NOT the question! Being and nonbeing are an irreducible pair.

Until we include all of us in at least one group, the dread methods of _dividum et imperium_ will continue to succeed.

Posted 09:18 AM on 10/31/2008

Immensley impressed with my self, I began asking for the opinion of others. At the same time, I kept replying to some of the more outrageous comments.

NeoStar9 See Profile permalink

He needs to be elected first. Keep this in proper prospective please. In order to get elected he can not have any stance on this issue or he will be attacked for it. That's just how the process works. If you see that as one group being thrown under the bus then I guess that is what needs to be done. You have to look at the big picture here.

Posted 10:05 AM on 10/31/2008

knowBuddhaU See Profile

If you don't mind, may I ask, are either of the groups so thrown your groups? Are you volunteering to throw yourself under the bus for the greater good?

Looking back down the path of this "bus," sure seems like the same people keep getting thrown under it. The road we've traveled is paved with some groups, and driven over by others.

Maybe the whole "under the bus" metaphor is at fault. I understand the need of a candidate to get the job, then do the work; we've all been through that. But how much are we willing to sacrifice, is it too much to ask, and why do we expect the same people to just lie there and take it?

Take a look at my post below. I'm curious to hear what you think.

Posted 10:38 AM on 10/31/2008

knowBuddhaU See Profile

For any whom I've asked to read this this and tell me what you think, but don't know what to say: silence is golden, yes, but a word or two won't cheapen it a bit.

Thumbs up? Thumbs down? Hand held sideways ;-) ?

Posted 11:44 AM on 10/31/2008

Finally, I began getting responses.

legosmom See Profile permalink

I don't believe its entirely fair to call the Obama campaign "phobic" - a more fair headline might read "McCain/Palin race bating and fearmongering have poisoned any environment conducive to the inclusion of ALL Americans in the 2008 campaign". This is of course nothing new - that's the bad news. But here is the good news. Starting November 5th, the Obama transition team will begin shaping up the cabinet that will serve President elect Obama. I have little doubt that we will witness the most inclusive administration in the history of the United States. Look for both Republicans and Democrats, people of all colors, religions. Hopefully Gays and Lesbians too. Please please, do not blame Obama for shying away from muslims and arabs - if you must cast blame, and I don't think that moves the national discussion that we need to be having further,go ahead - I guess that is your right. But please, by all means, hold the McCain/Palin ticket, as well as others accountable.

Posted 11:46 AM on 10/31/2008

knowBuddhaU See Profile permalink

Agreed, legosmom. Please see my reply above, then kindly let me know what you think of the first post on this thread.

Posted 12:16 PM on 10/31/2008

yes I read your post and you make some excellent points. My favorite:

Where we smear one, we smear All. Where we imprison one, we imprison All.

I think that this is the universal appeal of an Obama presidency. One nation, one people, not red states or blue states, but a United States.

Maybe we will have a chance at that "more perefct union"

Posted 12:46 PM on 10/31/2008

knowBuddhaU See Profile I'm a Fan of knowBuddhaU permalink

Very kind of, legosmom, thank you very much.

Posted 12:55 PM on 10/31/2008

pros54 See Profile permalink

Yes but you cannot engage in a thousand fights at once. You choose those you can win at and hopefully the win will enable you to tackle the others more effectively and with a better chance of winning. That is judgement, tactic, strategy and skill. That is what I want in a leader and that is why I will vote for Obama because he has them. The so often lauded experience is nothing.

Posted 12:47 PM on 10/31/2008
knowBuddhaU See Profile I'm a Fan of knowBuddhaU permalink

Nice batch of trusims (sayings that go without saying). Can you please address my questions? Thanks.

Posted 01:21 PM on 10/31/2008

If I try this method again, next time, I'll just say "thanks," instead of making a smart-ass remark like that.

In my comments, I was trying to make the case that we have all been ill-served by the Fear of the Other. The title confused many of the participants in this dialogue. I might have titled it, "How the Fear of the Other Keeps Obama from Embracing Downtrodden Groups, and Why He Needs to get Over It."

knowBuddhaU See Profile permalink

OK, instead of "phobia," how about saying it like this: aversion to embracing in public a presently down-trodden group, (hopefully) in order to get into office where he can then act on the better angels we all share?

Posted 03:32 PM on 10/31/2008

The comments to which I refer below were deleted contemporaneously. So I retracted my "growing from both ends" statement.

knowBuddhaU See Profile permalink

WOOHOO! We're burning this candle from both ends, do we, the HuffPo virtual community, rock this world, or what?

The comment I mean is here:

Posted 01:24 PM on 10/31/2008

Please pardon my enthusiasm. I retract this statement (but not the compliment!) until further notice.

We speak in terms political, physical, even psychical, however outdated; doesn't anyone speak in terms poetical anymore?

Posted 03:46 PM on 10/31/2008

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