A deep dark admission: lately — and by lately I mean this era I worked so hard for, when a liberal person of color, a man who resembles my own father, would be our president — I’ve found myself thinking secretly, were certain things better in the George W. Bush era? Was it easier to be Middle Eastern then?
Just six days after 9/11, at the Islamic Center of Washington, President Bush said, “Those who feel like they can intimidate our fellow citizens to take out their anger don’t represent the best of America, they represent the worst of humankind.” He added: “The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace.” Did that assurance mean more to white Americans coming from someone who looked like them?
Xenophobia and racism still abounded, but the lid stayed on the pot.
Really? "Xenophobia and racism still abounded"? Was that before -- or after -- Americans voted for an African American president whose biggest accomplishments were speeches? And if xenophobia and racism "abounded," what explains the strange paucity of anti-Muslim attacks in the days following 9/11? Even the embittered author offers only two examples of grievance -- one being the called-off Koran burning. It's likewise worth pointing out that the Ground Zero mosque controversy has nothing to do with the issue of mosque-building itself; rather, it's the imam's bullheaded insistence on doing so at Ground Zero, site of 3000 murders committed in the name of Islam, albeit an ugly distortion of it.
Insultingly, the author suggests that "white Americans" were more willing to listen to President Bush's calls for tolerance than President Obama's because the former was "someone who looked like them." And there, my friends, is where she -- and her friends on the left -- get it all wrong.
Distrust of President Obama has nothing to do with his skin color. It has to do with a palpable and growing sense that, as Dorothy Rabinowitz has written, "this president's sense of identification lies elsewhere, and is in profound ways unlike [a great part of America's]. He is hard put to sound convincingly like the leader of the nation, because he is, at heart and by instinct, the voice mainly of his ideological class." He is a man who routinely apologizes for his country, loves it only for how he can transform it -- not for what it already is, stands for and has done -- and routinely blasts large swathes of its citizens as greedy, heartless and corrupt.
Americans are tolerant people. But they want, and deserve, the same respect for their sensibilities that are routinely demanded by and accorded to everyone else. The imam's decision to press forward with a Ground Zero mosque, indifferent to the division it's causing -- and rejecting all efforts at compromise -- has started to suggest to Americans that they're being held to a different, higher standard than that expected of those who are accusing them of intolerance.
Finally, even as this op/ed's author denigrates Americans (and, by extension, America), it's worth noting that she's enjoying a load of freedom here that she wouldn't enjoy in Iran. For someone who is supposed to be such a victim, I bet few of us (or she herself) would prefer to be an Iranian of American descent (can anyone even ponder such a thing?!) as opposed to an American of Iranian descent. And that fact, if nothing else, highlights the disgraceful ingratitude of her attitude. I feel proud and grateful and blessed to be an American. Does she feel the same way?