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Full Frontal Assault

Friday, January 26, 2007, 23:08 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

Have you heard about Barack Obama? You’ve heard of him—he’s the attractive, charismatic U.S. Senator from Illinois. He’s running, along with about a thousand others as of this morning, for the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination. But did you know he’s a dangerous Islamic militant?

That last part is the claim of someone with too much time on his hands who composed and began circulating an e-mail claiming that Obama is “a radical Muslim” who as a child lived in the predominantly Muslim nation of Indonesia, where his stepfather enrolled him in “one of Jakarta’s Wahabbi [sic] schools” And as if that weren’t enough, his middle name is Hussein. A smoking gun if ever there was one! It certainly doesn’t help matters that Obama’s Democratic senatorial colleague, Ted Kennedy, once called him “Osama Obama” in a speech at the National Press Club. (Have another martini, Ted.)

Ironically, the attack is reminiscent of smears against John F. Kennedy, who as a Presidential candidate in 1960 was viewed with distrust by the large anti-Catholic contingent of WASPS who feared that as leader of the free world, he would be obligated to “take orders from the pope.” Haven’t we gotten beyond such innuendo-driven hysteria?

Let’s be clear. If Sen. Obama truly were educated at a radical Wahhabi madrassa, we would have legitimate cause for concern. The extremist Islamist and jihadist indoctrination that pervades such schools is well known and denied by no one of credibility.

If Obama truly were a dangerous radical, we would have legitimate cause for concern. The idea of a President who embraces hatred of “infidels” under the guise of religious piety is no more acceptable than it would be to elect someone associated with the World Church of the Creator or Westboro Baptist Church.

If Obama’s loyalty to the United States truly were trumped by intolerant religious ideology, we would have legitimate cause for concern. And we would have seen inklings of it during the past two years of his service in the U.S. Senate, or in his previous time in the Illinois state senate, or from people who have gone to church (a Christian church, by the way) with him.

But there is absolutely no evidence to support any of it, as snopes.com, a reliable urban legends web site, recently pointed out. While Obama is an unknown entity to many Americans, it is ridiculous to accept absence of details about his background as proof that he is the dangerous seditionist-in-waiting the reactionary e-mail implies he is.

Each of us is free to vote for or against Obama or any other candidate, and I would hope that most people’s decisions would be based on issues. Does Obama champion programs you think are ineffective? Don’t vote for him. Is his legislative voting record one with which you virtually never agree? Don’t vote for him. Many people will have many real reasons not to want him to be President. There’s no need to bring fabrications into the equation.

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