The recent reports that Barack Obama is distancing himself from Muslims are detailed enough to be taken seriously, and to be the subject of serious concern. A lot of us rejected Hillary Clinton in part because of her blatant opportunism and implicit and explicit appeals to racism during her campaign. We wanted a more principled candidate, one who will not just say or do anything to get elected. In other words, a candidate who will tell people what they need to hear, not what they think they want to hear. We've already heard Obama pander to the Israel lobby in the worst possible way, and to some extent this has already backfired on him; will he now pander to those who think that being a Muslim is somehow a negative thing, or who have confused being a Muslim with being a terrorist?
Oh, I know, he needs to do this to get elected and then he can pursue the righteous path of respecting civil rights and bringing us all together. Isn't that what all politicians tell themselves? Isn't that essentially what John McCain is telling himself when he plays to the "politics of fear" in his campaign against Obama? That he needs to attack Obama in this way so he can get elected and protect the nation from its enemies?
Here's a novel idea: Instead of pandering to "where people are at" in order to win votes, how about trying to win votes by changing minds? What's that you say? That's what Obama thinks too, that is his new politics? Okay then, let's see it in practice.
Photo: Uncredited on the exposebarackobama.com Website.
Addendum: Speaking of what people need to hear, the International Herald Tribune today features an opinion piece by UCLA professor about the incredibly stifling, totalitarian nature of Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands, with a focus on the bureaucratic nightmare the occupying power has created. The writer, Saree Makdisi, does us the service of stating what the real intentions of Israeli policy are:
Partly, this occupation of everyday life enables the Israelis to maintain their vigilant control over the Palestinian population. But it also serves the purpose of slowly, gradually removing Palestinians from their land, forcing them to make way for Jewish settlers.
What we are seeing, while the United States and much of the world try to pretend that it is not happening, is the slow fulfillment of the original Zionist strategy of taking over all of Palestine (for evidence, be sure to read Ilan Pappe's "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.")
Update: The latest Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll shows Obama with a 12 point lead over McCain among registered voters. It appears that McCain is suffering from a "passion gap" among conversative voters who just can't get very excited about his candidacy. The opposite is true of Obama supporters, the poll finds. We already saw how Clinton's pandering backfired on her, let's hope that Obama will campaign from that position of strength rather than appearing weak on his principles--as did both Gore and Kerry, with disastrous results.
LANDMARK! Sometime in the last 24 hours, this blog welcomed its 2000th visitor since it opened for business in April. Not all that impressive, perhaps, but hits are up (and comments too) which means I won't be shutting down operations any time soon. The life of a blogger can be lonely sometimes, but nice to know at least someone is reading my spout-offs. Thanks to everyone.
Update (June 26): In a column in the New York Times today, Roger Cohen suggests that Barack Obama visit a mosque as a statement against anti-Muslim prejudice. Not a bad idea.