Armageddon Election

Category: Americas, World Affairs Topics: Government And Politics Views: 5717
5717

"I don't trust you or any Arab in this country anymore. You are not out for America, you are out to turn this country into a Muslim country and we will not let this happen. Just remember that the Arabs are terrorists...they are monsters and talking peace will not do it."

"Go back to your homeland."

"Why should any real American care who you vote for...I find you disgusting."

"There's something pitiful about Arab and Muslim American leaders using the democratic process here to defeat a President who has done so much to promote democracy in the Arab and Muslim worlds...I do not trust Arabs and Muslims here in the US and abroad. There are millions of evil Arab-Muslim terrorists who need to be eradicated now."

"Of course you terrorist loving piece of garbage are supporting Kerry...pigs like you should be rounded up and deported back to where you came from."

Had enough? That's just a smattering of the e-mails I received last week after I sent out my endorsement of John Kerry for President. I share them with you as a reminder that in the post-9/11 world "it's still ugly out there." Hate and anger have been unleashed and have not been brought under control.
All of this occurred in the same week in which the FBI arrested yet another person and charged him with a hate crime for threatening my life.

A few days after that arrest I was on a national television program debating the impact the Patriot Act was having on our democracy. In response to my claim that it had, in fact, done damage, another guest on the show, a conservative commentator, called me a "terrorist sympathizer." Only after the other guests on the program demanded that he apologize on air, he relented and did so.

The lesson I am learning is that even more damaging to our democracy than the behavior of some government agencies, is the unchecked hate that is eating away at our national unity.

Why should my endorsement of Kerry have unleashed such venom? It was posted on a number of right-wing websites in a provocative manner, designed to produce anger.

The common themes in most of the e-mails deserve attention. There is a xenophobia, a bigoted fear of Arabs and Muslims-who are conflated into one enemy-and an intolerance for reasoned discourse.

Of course it doesn't matter to these writers that I was born in the US (my father was an immigrant in 1922 and my mother's father came to the US in 1898) or that I am a Christian. What matters is that I am a proud Arab American and, I might add, a Democrat. If I supported their conservative agenda, I suppose, I might have been given a pass as "almost white."

But I do not, and, as an American, I object to the direction my country has taken in its policies at home and abroad. And for that, I have earned their special wrath.

This divisive anger is not new. It has marred our national discourse for decades. What's new, after 9/11 is that it targets Arabs and Muslims and has fed into our deeply divided partisan debate.

When my brother, John Zogby, refers to this as the "Armageddon election" this is, in part, what he is observing.

What is needed is national leadership to challenge those who seek to divide Americans on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, or party affiliation. For a brief moment, after 9/11, President Bush exerted such leadership. President Clinton did much the same when he launched a national dialogue on race with his "One America" campaign.

Whoever wins in November will face this challenge anew. After all that has transpired, this effort will require more than words. A serious and prolonged campaign must be launched to re-civilize our discourse and unify our people. The discourse of hate must be treated before the sickness spreads.

For comments or information, contact [email protected]

Dr. James J. Zogby is the President of Arab American Institute


  Category: Americas, World Affairs
  Topics: Government And Politics
Views: 5717

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Older Comments:
A K FROM CANADA said:
Hate comes from fear, ignorance and lack of true knowledge of reality of things. As Mahatma Gandhi said even if you find something wrong in an individual, donot hate that person rather dislike the actions that were wrong. Therefore education and knowledge plays a major role in shaping of a society. Unfortunately, as we see in the media and other places there a lot of misconceptions and lies being propagated about Islam and Muslims. If someone is constantly being fed with false and negative information then after a while it does make an impact on that persons behaviour. This is one of the factors responsible for hate crimes being committed. One thing we have to realize is that God has created us to help one another for a peaceful co-existence. If we go the other way and start hating each other then there is no end. An eye for an eye will make the whole world go blind. Therefore, wise people look beyond superficial things and they live and let other live in peace and dignity.
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KARIM A. TALIB FROM AMERICA said:
Salaam on Ramadhan: We shall see,in the future,this Arab "thing".We,in America,are now fielding superior Imams,to challenge the Arabs.
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ADAM FROM USA said:
I am sorry that the author has recieved such hate, I am a Christian and belive that all Americans have a right to freedom of speech and expression. Please don't generalize, we're all not hate mongers!! No matter what political choice we make....peace.
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CARL FROM USA said:
This is an email I just sent Dr. Zogby:

I read your article and feel like I should apologize for other Americans who seem to be pinheaded and ignorant. Every time I read or hear about this type of mistreatment, bigotry and smallmindedness I am shocked and dismayed.

I wish I could see a better future for our country than the one that seems to loom so menacingly on the horizon, but I am afraid the future is dim. With luck we might see Kerry get elected today, but even that is no antidote to many of the problems we face. I really think if Bush gets elected that we will see a very dark time in our nation's history.
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G. R. JAFARIZ FROM USA said:
May God guide all of us to straite path specially people like the person who has sent you that hate mail lets all of us pray for this particular person specially
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VICTOR said:
i thank us americans for the millions of poeple in third world countrys thank we suck the blood out so we can live in our beautiful homes sit and watch tv when were stuffing our fat asses with fast food food claiming were going to vote but were to dam lazy to get off our asses we americans are number 1 we killed ,cheated, lied ,and murdered to get us in this position but thats all good as long as we know for every 1000 poeple we kill we do it for the name of freedom 1 of us americans killed is worth 10000 foreiners killed with our bombs well i gotta go and stuff my .. with food
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BAHUI FROM UNITED STATES said:
I would like to ask what is wrong with sympathizing or atleast empathizing with terrorist, we are all human beings. Their plight is especially worse than ours in the western world from any point of view every day innocent women and children die in islamic countries from US or US backed forces, and the ignorant cheer these things on, most never realizing what's actually happening. The media in the US is a governmental tool to manipulate the populus's opinion. To date the civilian casualties on our side have been limited to 2 attacks more than 10 years apart, we in the west have no idea the horrors of reality of the world in which we live. In Iraq for every dead american soldier since the begining of the war there has been nearly 13 iraqi CIVILIANS killed. The real importance of 9/11 is that it shook the false sense of security that america had, we believed before that we were invinvible. This is what you are taught in america from the start of life "we are the greatest, we are invincible...ect" so to the younger generations in particular this was a wake up call, yet in many ways they've hit the snooze button and went back to sleep. Many people mainly supporters of George W. Bush have decided they prefer their prior fantasy lives where everything is perceptionally okay this is akin the scene in the first matrix movie, making a deal to be reentered into the dream state so that one doesn't have to deal with the actuality of his existance. Mentally americans do this every day, any one in the working class whom supports Bush or Kerry (both are multcratic neofascist) are only deluding themselves into thinking that either has their best interest at heart. They serve one nation under the dollar with liberty and justice for none; unless you're rich. In the words of a great african american prophet..."They don't give a f**k about us"... Money is the new king in america the people have made it's thrown and crown, it is up to us to dethrone this cruel master of our destinies.
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AN AMERICAN SISTER FROM USA said:
To all,

I am a bit disturbed by the attitude of many Americans who see me as a threat. I am often mistaken for arab-muslim that is forced by a tyrant to wear hijab and unable to understand english. The truth is that I am an American, who served in the military with my husband, and not to mention countless friends(also muslim americans). I can not speak on their behalf but I can tell you that most of them including myself have received death threats, were suddenly honorably discharged w/out misconduct, stalked, verbally and physically assaulted and all the while serving with all their hearts for a country that hates them. This only serves to make people like us stronger in faith and some days I thank allah for those experiences because it teaches us as muslims tolerance for your fellow man.Ensha allah this will teach many people experiencing feeling a fish out of water in their own country to use allah's love and the powerful knowledge in the quaran to smoother all the wild fire across this country that is slowly burning person after person with ignorance and hate. I will also say that we should not allow ourselves to be affected by a handful of people with narrow views but to use our status as americans and muslims to stand out as the excellent citizens that many of us indeed are! As salam alaikum!
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MARY FROM U.S.A. said:
The reason be is I do agree we should never hate any one BUT I also agree we should never go after and kill Christians and Jews. God Loves ALL men
whether he be Christians or Jews or Islamic or whatever the belief,MURDER is SIN!! A very Deadly Sin!!!
Thanks Be To God
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LT FROM USA said:
These are the opinions of few...not of the many. I am a Christian and have several Muslim friends - all who I trust. We work together, share together and are at peace. During this time of fasting...I am praying for my Muslim friends throughout the world and in my life.
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XBOT FROM UK said:
Good piece James. Those emails you got are the sort of scum who attacked innocent men and woman in the streets following 911.
I think its high time christian evangelical terrorists start being tossed out of Muslim countries, starting with their phony charaties.
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