Us Against Them

In the last week, two related stories have grabbed the American public’s attention.

The controversy surrounding the proposed construction of an Islamic cultural center and place of worship in New York has taken on a life of its own.  And then there’s that recent poll which shows that nearly 1 out of every 5 Americans surveyed believes that President Obama is a Muslim and not, as he truly is, a Christian.

It’s striking how, in both cases, a large segment of America views Islam as “not-like-me” or, to take it a step further, “not-American.” 

Many of us, still hurting from the horrors of 9/11, find it easy to see those extremists who attacked our country and more moderate Muslims who peacefully follow their faith as one in the same. 

Meanwhile, as his approval ratings continue to sag, some of President Obama’s uninformed political adversaries contend that, at its core, his belief system deviates from what the average American citizen values.  Speaking out last week in favor of green-lighting the Islamic center near Ground Zero, while the majority of Americans say they oppose it, only helped to reinforce the “Obama’s a Muslim” misconception.  

Simply put, what we have here is the old, dangerous “logic” of Us Against Them.  But this time some of us have gone so far as to paint our commander-in-chief as one of them.

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