Identity Politics At Its Dumbest

Over at the Huffington Post, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh (who’s pretty much been resting on the laurels of My Lai for almost literally my entire life) discussed how the United States needs to elect Barack Obama as president if we wish to mend our relations with the Muslim world.

(Hat tip: my colleague Steve Crickmore at Blue. By the way, Steve, Hersh did not “break” Abu Ghraib; the US Army broke the story itself. He was just the first to actually report what they said.)

I read Steve’s piece, then over to HuffPo (after having all my shots) and read the piece. In a nutshell, the fact that Obama’s biological father was a Muslim (as was the man his mother married next) will somehow win over those who currently dislike and distrust us.

This is so barkingly stupid, it can only have been first published at HuffPo.

First off, the rumors of Obama’s alleged Muslim upbringing have been bounced around for some time, and each time they have been greeted with howls of derision and rounds of denials. His biological father (who divorced his mother and returned to Kenya when Barack Jr. was two) is described as an athiest. His stepfather, who oversaw Barack Jr.’s upbringing up to the fifth grade, is described as a “non-practicing Muslim.” And rumors that Obama attended militant Muslim schools while in Indonesia have been strenuously refuted and denied.

But let’s presume that both Obama Sr. and Mr. Soetoro were both fanatical “stealth Muslims” who were both fixated on turning young Barack Jr. into some sort of “Manchurian-by-way-of-Mecca Candidate” and the above allegations are true. he got out of their influence at the age of ten, for heaven’s sake.

But that’s just the stupid part. Now we move to the really stupid.

Remember the “Mohammed cartoon” riots a few years ago? It turned out that the most inflammatory cartoons (the one of Mohammed being sodomized by a pig, for example) weren’t even part of the original set. They were made up by some Imams to fire up the Muslim masses — and it worked. A lot of people died from those riots. And a lot of people let themselves be intimidated into obeying the strictures of Islam — out of fear of physical violence.

Remember the “Koran down the toilet” riots? It didn’t matter that the “insult” being alleged was physically impossible. The Muslims rioted again, people died, and again a lot of people let themselves be intimidated into obeying the strictures of Islam — out of fear of physical violence.

Now, of all the major religions in the world, Islam still maintains a death penalty for apostasy — for leaving the faith. Renouncing one’s Muslim faith is grounds for death, usually by stoning, but far more informal methods are just as acceptable.

Whether or not Obama ever was a Muslim is pretty much irrelevant — as we see, reality and truth are no barriers to Islamic rage. All we need is for a few Imams torqued at the US (and lord knows there are no shortages of those in the world) to say that Obama had, indeed, committed a valid conversion to Islam as a youth, and now calls himself a Christian. That makes him an apostate, and from there it’s a simple hop to say that it is the holy duty of every Muslim in the world to either bring him back to Allah, or send him there directly. And what would it say of a nation that it would elect as its president a man who had seen the glory and truth and greatness of Islam, but rejected it?

OK, that’s the really stupid part. Now we have to move on to the mind-bogglingly stupid part, the part that so offends common sense that it could only have been published in the Huffington Post.

As I said in the title, this is about Identity Politics — the notion that WHAT we are is more important than WHO we are, that our ancestry and genetics and affiliations matter far more than what we say and do and think for ourselves.

Senator Obama has already demonstrated his grasp of foreign relations quite thoroughly. Some time ago, within the space of a few days last August, he not only promised to not use nuclear weapons in any circumstances whatsoever, but to invade Pakistan — a Muslim nation and a nuclear power.

As we’ve seen (partly thanks to Osama Bin Laden’s “strong horse/weak horse” statement), Muslims tend to respect strength. Here he have a would-be president of the United States threatening a Muslim nation while simultaneously tying one arm behind the United States’ back.

But under Identity Politics, that’s irrelevant. That Obama is half-black and the son of a Muslim and has a Muslim name (Barack Hussein Obama Jr.) will trump everything else.

Personally, I think there’s plenty of reason to reject Obama. The guy’s a lightweight, an empty suit. He’s a Rorschach blot of a candidate, allowing people to project whatever they want in a president on to him.

And to give any weight to how the fundamentally irrational Islamists might or might not feel about who we elect as president is just wrong. By that logic, we ought to not elect Hillary Clinton, because women have no place in poltics in the Islamist world.

Thanks, but I’ll pass.

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