The radical actors of the Muslim world, in destroying the troublesome symbols of free thinking, are destroying their own cultural vitality and dynamism. In truth, their Islamist culture of death has resulted in a death of Islamic culture. The urgent task for Islamic pluralists is to lift the shadow of violence from the Islamic culture and recall Muslims to their traditions of an empathetic civilization that feels another's sorrow and does not need an enemy for its sustenance.
To celebrate his 80th birthday in October, my sister and I traveled with my father to India. He had been back only once, with my husband and brother-in-law ten years ago, since graduating in 1952. This time around, my sister and I were not going to miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime father/daughter adventure.
Tragically -- and it is indeed one of the great tragedies of American history -- as soon as he became president, Obama left behind that powerful force of the spirit into which he'd tapped as a candidate. As the Republicans tried out their "make him fail" strategy in opposition, he did nothing to rally America to its better angels.