As Senator Barack Obama courted voters in Iowa last December, Representative Keith Ellison, the country’s first Muslim congressman, stepped forward eagerly to help.
Mr. Ellison believed that Mr. Obama’s message of unity resonated deeply with American Muslims. He volunteered to speak on Mr. Obama’s behalf at a mosque in Cedar Rapids, one of the nation’s oldest Muslim enclaves. But before the rally could take place, aides to Mr. Obama asked Mr. Ellison to cancel the trip because it might stir controversy. Another aide appeared at Mr. Ellison’s Washington office to explain.
“I will never forget the quote,” Mr. Ellison said, leaning forward in his chair as he recalled the aide’s words. “He said, ‘We have a very tightly wrapped message.’ ” [complete article]
Editor’s Comment — I’ve never been a fan of the word “hope” as a campaign slogan. Hope’s easy to come by — most people are able to carry at least a morsel of it all the way to their deathbed. A resource that’s in much shorter supply, yet the one that is really the only antidote to fear — especially when for so many years fear has become the political air that we’ve been compelled to breathe — is courage.
Political courage requires a certain amount of recklessness. It means reaching beyond the dictates of political tactics. If Obama really wants to end the mindset that led us to war, he needs to challenge an element that’s right at the heart of that mindset: America’s fear of Islam. So far, all he’s done is bow down to that fear.