One of my childhood friends is in the city for work and she brought her brother with her. Last night she took me out for BBQ and we ended up in the East Village having a few drinks. At some point they asked me if I regretted voting for Obama, to which I obviously said “no” and they both informed me that they hate him. I wasn’t surprised; they’re both white Southerners from very red states. I was just shocked that the reasoning had nothing to do with gay marriage or the economy or the war…it’s because he’s a Muslim.
It’s the first time I truly grasped that political beliefs and theories about our government are not opinions. What you believe is what you believe because it is a fact and there’s nothing anyone else can tell you to make you think otherwise. I do believe I generally work under the assumption that “what I’m telling you is the truth and what you’re telling me is just some crazy opinion cooked up by Fox News, and by explaining myself to you, I will cause you to believe what I believe, because what you think is crazy and what I believe is the truth.” That’s how I feel about people who have political beliefs so at odds to my own.
I never realized they were thinking the same thing about me. I would no more be able to make my friend and her brother believe Obama was a Christian than they’d make me believe he’s a Muslim. Because I *know* that’s a crock of shit made up by Conservatives and Republican news sources. I know this to be true. But, they know Obama is a Muslim and that the left-wing media and Democratic politicians are covering it up.
So let’s talk about what they believe. These are the three points of evidence that were presented to me before it became clear that I wasn’t going to debate about it in a bar with a lot of booze in all of us.
Obama doesn’t put his hand over his heart during the pledge of allegiance.
Usually, people have seen this pic accompanied by some “version of the truth” and they run with it.
Firstly, this picture was taken during the national anthem, not the pledge.
Secondly, a lot of people don’t place their hand over their heart during the anthem. I know I don’t…because I don’t even remember which one I’m supposed to use. I don’t even remember the last time I was at an event where it was sung. I don’t go to ballgames or political rallies, so I haven’t voiced the anthem in a decade probably.
Thirdly, modern custom doesn’t really hold fast to that rule anyway. Besides, you do know our national anthem is based on an old drinking song, right? People used to get drunk to it, but we’re worried about a hand over the heart? From Politifact:
Modern custom does not require a hand over the heart, said Anne Garside, director of communication for the Maryland Historical Society, home of the original manuscript of the Star-Spangled Banner. “I think the bottom line is that you show respect with your demeanor,” she said. “Whether you put your hand over your heart, hold your hat at shoulder level or waist level, is really in this day and age irrelevant.”
She pointed out that “the tune of the Star-Spangled Banner was originally a drinking song. If they can put the words to the tune of a rousing drinking song, to quibble over whether you put your hand over your heart is really ridiculous.”
And Lastly, Obama has addressed this himself and there are tons and tons of pictures and videos of him with his hand over his heart. He says his (white, American) grandfather taught him the pledge when he was two years old: hand over the heart for the pledge, stand at attention and sing for the anthem.
Obama wasn’t inaugurated with his hand on the Bible.
I’m actually surprised that this one is still around. Last night when it was brought up, my first thought was “If this were actually true, a whole hell of a lot more people would be talking about it.” But then I realized that depending on where you live in this country, a lot of people probably do talk about it. Living in a highly liberal area, you forget that there are other places where conservatism is the norm and these are things that the majority of the people believe.
It’s completely false. The lie first started back he was sworn in as a Senator from Illinois, but Obama was sworn in on a Bible, his own Bible that he brought from home actually. People also say there are pictures of Obama being sworn in on a Qur’an, but that’s actually a Representative from Minnesota by the name of Keith Ellison. Ellison was indeed sworn in on the Qur’an, the copy he used actually having been owned by Thomas Jefferson, one of our founding fathers.
During his Oath of Office for the presidency, Obama was sworn in on the same Bible used by Abraham Lincoln and Michelle held it for him.
Obama is a practicing Muslim who’s even pictured dressed like them.
He’s definitely dressed as a Muslim. In a visit with an elder in Somalia, Obama donned traditional garb of the area…just like every other President and many other notable politicians.
Please scroll through these photos of Dubbyah, Bill Clinton, and Hillary all dressed in the local traditional fashions. I’m not even going to a waste time posting them all. But if Obama is a Muslim because he’s dressed like one, then I guess George Bush is Vietnamese now.
So, that’s all I heard before the topic changed. I tried to understand why it would even be a problem if he was a Muslim. There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the President has to be a Christian. Many of our founding fathers weren’t even Christians.
That’s when I had another realization: Those who genuinely believe these types of conspiracies cooked up by the Right also genuinely believe that if Obama is reelected, there will be war. He’s already letting in Muslim terrorists. There’s a plot right now having to do with gas stations and Muslims shutting them down because all up and down the interstate, all of the people who own gas stations are Muslims. (I tried to google that conspiracy and I couldn’t even find it on the Internet…I guess technology is a liberal).
But the point is, the politicians and political pundits who invent these claims are preying on the fear of “other.” Obama is the most “other” President we’ve ever had. A black man with Kenyan roots who doesn’t come from money? That’s at odds with everything “American.” The people who construct the beliefs of the Right know that “otherness” incites a fear of the unknown and they prey on it. “Obama is already an other…let’s take it to the extreme. Everybody will believe it because they want to believe it.”
But again, that’s just how I feel. After I write this, people who believe Obama is a Muslim will still believe Obama is a Muslim. And that’s what’s scary to me about the current state of American politics: You can make up anything. If you repeat it enough, people will believe you.