Yet this nutty guy is merely speaking his mind – and in America, we regard this as constitutionally protected “free speech.” For much of our nation’s history, Americans have possessed an attitude that says “I may disagree with what you say, but I’ll fight to the death for your right to say it..”
But we now seem to have turned a corner on this type of freedom. In this instance, some of the most powerful people in our government determined that if this one private citizen were to exercise his legal right to burn copies of a particular book, such an excursion in human liberty would threaten the security of Americans both domestically, and abroad – and thus, this one private citizen should not exercise his legal rights.
A President who was more appreciative of the uniqueness of American liberty, might have taken the opportunity to explain that American freedom is a good thing, and that freedom itself is not a problem. Yet when one lacks the discernment as to how to wisely exercise their freedoms, therein lies a problem. That could have been a true moment of presidential leadership - a “teachable moment” if you will – but that is not how President Obama and his Administration has responded to the rhetoric of our nutty fellow American.
Second, the fact that mere rhetoric can incite “death to America” demonstrations in Afghanistan and can rise to the level of a national security threat says something about the predominant Muslim culture, and President Obama’s assessment of that culture.
In June of 2009, our President delivered a now-famous speech at Cairo University, wherein he stated “I've come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles — principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings…”
Those were beautiful words, words that were perhaps meant to inspire. Yet polling conducted by the Brookings Institute two months ago shows that President Obama faces a near 65% disapproval rate in the Middle East, and the Muslim world remains as hostile as ever towards the West.
If indeed Americans and Muslims shared the “common principles” of “tolerance and dignity of all human beings” as President Obama has stated, then American lives would not be endangered because of the words of one man in Florida.
Rather than honestly acknowledging the serious problems of Muslim culture, the Obama Administration has instead chosen to define American freedom as a problem.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.