Aug 16, 2010

 
The President's recent waffling on the purposed Mosque cultural center in NYC really got my head and heart hurting.  So proud was I when President Obama made the statement on Friday at the beginning of Ramadan, that Muslims have as much a right to religious freedom as everyone else.  I was proud because his statement was true.  This is a country whose foundation is built upon that of religious freedom.  I was also proud because it was politically dangerous for him to make such a statement, but yet his principle was more important.  For me, that is something to be admired in a person.  I admire people who stand for principle regardless of what it may cost her/him. 
 
But imagine my shock when the Obama Administration started backing away from the President's statement.  Instead of reaffirming what he said, they started clarifying it, and we all know what clarifying means in the political realm.  Instead of standing firm on the Constitution, that so many Republicans claim to be in support of, he again allowed his opponents to shake him.  Maybe that's what my frustration with President Obama is.  Maybe it is the perception of weakness that I am being fed that is causing me to cringe.  It is the constant bending over backwards to appease the Republicans but yet to see any gains that is causing me to become disillusioned.  I mean don't get me wrong, I still have a tremendous amount of hope for this President and his presidency, but I do feel myself becoming disenchanted.  I want to see more glimpses of Candidate Obama...
 
Do you remember Candidate Obama?  I know 2-3 years can be a long time in the political world, but I actually remember Candidate Obama quite fondly.  Candidate Obama was the one who gave that soul stirring speech about race at Constitution Hall in Philadelphia.  That was Candidate Obama.  You see Candidate Obama would have given a similar speech, much like that of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, when discussing the Mosque cultural center near 'Ground Zero'. 
 
Of course there are raw emotions surrounding 'Ground Zero', but Candidate Obama would be able to navigate all of this in his speech.  He would talk about our founding fathers and what made the ideal of religious freedom so important to them.  He would stand on the tenets of the Constitution (because remember he was a constitutional law professor).  He would then express sincere understanding to the families of the victims while not failing to mention that victims of September 11th came from all religious backgrounds which included Muslims, but the commonality amongst the victims was the fact that they were Americans.  He would remind us that we were not attacked by Islam, but instead we were attacked by al Qaeda. 
 
The attacks on September 11th were meant to frightening us and take us away from all the things that makes this country great.  In that way, the terrorists have succeeded.  Candidate Obama would express how we cannot throw away our Constitution because we are frightened or because we were attacked, but rather that is the very thing we should stand upon because it is what makes this country so great.
 
Candidate Obama knew how to touch upon those things that united us instead of faltering on issues that drove us apart.  Candidate Obama knew that just as much as the sensitivities of victims are not allowed to mess with the 2nd amendment so shall the sensitivities of victims not be allowed to interfere with the 1st.
 
Whether you are Muslim, Christian (which I am), Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist, Agnostic, etc., Candidate Obama (the Great Communicator) would have helped you to understand this.

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