I have two friends who I chose to reach out to for their view of the ongoing attacks by those associated with the McCain-Palin campaign on Senator Barack Obama's ethnicity and religious beliefs and ties. I spoke to Tyrone, a mid-management employee of a large corporation. I asked him to share his take on the recent slurs. This was his response:
I find the growing vitriolic anti-Muslim heckling that has found its way into the presidential campaign deeply troubling. It speaks to efforts by certain right wing elements of society that take advantage of the ignorance of the large segment of the American public that know little of the of Islam except the sensational headlines depicting violence by radicals that act under the guise of the religion, to paint the entire religion with a broad demonic brush. The propaganda has no better evidence as in a DVD being distributed, largely in the battleground states, titled "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West."
This hateful effort would be akin to having all of Christianity represented by the heinous actions of the Klu Klux Klan. People are using Barak Obama's middle name almost as a pejorative. When a people are demonized, they lose their humanity. Otherwise well intentioned people will turn a blind eye to all sorts of atrocities committed against them because they are the evil others. It frightens me that I or my children could one day face persecution because of a name that my family chose out of religious identity. Never mind that I grew up with the Beverly Hillbillies and my children Barney and Jimmy Neutron. In other words we are as essentially American as the next Mr. and Mrs. Smith. By the way, so is our next ESPN watching president.
The other response is from a woman who is a devout Muslim, and from whom I learned a great deal about the actual Muslim faith. A lot of which most of the general public does not know or understand about the reality of the religion. And the most interesting twist is that when she chose the Muslim faith she also chose to marry a man in that same Muslim faith. A man who is white, and of German heritage. Which makes it very interesting for those who assume that the Muslim population is made up of African Americans, who are often stereotyped in the perceived terrorist profile.
I find that the matter of race and religion in this political campaign to bear a certain egregious stench. All of the classic stereotyping that comes with the placement of careful wording by the McCain/Palin campaign is all racist. Mention Muslim and one is automatically led to think of bad, terrorist, and probably African American. Most do not know or want to know what Muslims actually believe. Most Muslims are not terrorists. Many Muslims are not African American. And all Arabs are not Muslims, just as all Muslims are not Arabs.
What I have determined, after reading the interview of Gayle Quinell, after watching the videos of the people in Palin/McCain rallies, that these people have neither the capacity nor the desire to hear the truth. They don't want the truth, they want to be right, they want to believe that "White is right." And that is frightening when combined with the delusional behavior of Sarah Palin, who simply does not understand, comprehend or has the faintest idea as to what she has done wrong in Alaska, what harm she is doing in this country with her focus on making lies become the truth by continual repetition. And the McCain campaign is not stopping her. She is incredibly dangerous to this country on so many levels. We have to take this seriously enough to make sure that every single vote is counted, every one we can reach out to votes. Forget the polls, forget the noise. Every vote counts this time. Our future, our country depends on it.