Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Friday, November 17, 2017

Barack Obama himself has never had the guts to say it.

Indeed, while it is famously difficult to prove a negative, it seems apparent that few people in all of politics and media have had the guts to say it. Did John McCain ever say it? Did Rick Santorum or Bill O’Reilly?

So let us plant a little flag for, mark with a yellow highlighter, the thing Rep. Raul Labrador said Sunday on “Meet the Press”: that “it wouldn’t matter” if President Obama were a Muslim. And if it seems rather much to be handing out medals for such a modest statement of principle, well … the principle has been under fire for so long that even a modest statement feels momentous.

In recent years, public figures have made news for refuting (like McCain) or failing to refute (like Santorum) the canard that Obama is a follower of Islam. But outside of Colin Powell, who did so a few years back on “Meet the Press,” it is difficult to think of many — or any — who have dared to confront the notion implicit in the lie. Namely, that being a Muslim is incompatible with being an American.

This is taken by some as self-evident truth even as Muslim soldiers risk their lives on our battlefields, Muslim cops risk their lives on our streets, Muslim teachers teach our children, Muslim reporters report our news, Muslim politicians help to make our laws, and Muslim-Americans struggle against those who believe our sacred ideals cover other people, but not them.

Thus, a fleeting statement that should have been obvious to the point of mundanity feels instead like a water station in the Mojave.

Labrador is no fan of the president’s. His comment about Islam was made en route to a contention that Obama’s policies have “weakened” the nation. Labrador is a Republican and a conservative from a very Republican and conservative state, Idaho. It is his political and ideological kin who are most responsible for pushing — and believing — the Obama-as-Muslim narrative. All of which imbues his remark with a welcome patina of political courage and moral clarity.

16 Responses to Leonard Pitts Jr.: Jolted By A Rare Truism

  1. Thank you, Mr Pitts, for this commentary. Oh, to see the day in this country when no one is labeled. I happen to be a 70 year young, caucasian heterosexual, “liberal” female. This is what I am, not who I am. I am also an American, and am no better or worse a person because of my “what” labels than any other American, no matter their “whats.”

    And thank you, Rep. Labrador for saying what should have been said a long time ago.

    • My Dear Young Lady, did he say what he truly means, or did he mouth something without considering the gravity of what he mouthed. In other words did he thoughfully say a statement that he considered factual or did he just mouth some words hoping it would garner him a few more supporters?
      With his track record one must question his sincerity!

      • You make a good point, sir. I know nothing about Rep Labrador. The point, however, is that it doesn’t matter whether or not he was sincere. He said something that needed to be brought to the collective American conscience and for that, I am sincerely thankful he said it. What he said gives us a chance to discuss it, does it not?

  2. The criticism of Obama for not saying it is un-warrented. It would have been yet another lighting post for the right to criticise him. The idea that a staunch Right wing Republican said it is showing that some of that party have actual morals. SAntorium talked of Christainaty, yet by non-correction of his parties consistant howeling about Obamas’ religion and his birth record, he not only disrespected the country by allowing this verbaledge to go on, but he disrespected the Bible and the Ten Commandments, the ninth of which is thou shal not give false testamony. if what the Evangelicos say is right about Mormanism, which I doubt, then romeny gets a free pass about disrespecting the Bible, but not the leader of the United State. It’s quite a double standard , when a man tells Chaney that he is scum bag, and gets arrested, yet Jan Brewer can make threatening jesters directally to Obama on camera and he forgives her.

  3. The truth is it should not matter, but the President is not a Muslim he was born in this Country and was raise and is a Christian. So why are we even talking about this in reference to the President. I do think the article is thoughtful and agree with just about everything Mr. Pitts said, but Rep Labrador will have my thanks when he stands up to people who accuse the President of been foreign born, a Muslim and Socialist, the way John McCain did during his run for President. Until the leaders of the Republican take a strong stand against the unjustified claims about our president and support his legal right to be president, they will get no thanks from me.

  4. The problem is that the Republican party is mostly made up of white Christians, and lacks the diversity of the Democratic party, so a charge, 1st made by Palin that he is a Muslim, has no group with in the party to condemn it. This is a party that gets it’s news soley from Fox, and we know what they say. Fox and friends also gave life to the birther movement, as did Lou Dobbs. I’m not amazed that someone came out and said it was ok. I’m amazed it took this long and was done by an outlier Rep. from a small state. It will have more meaning for me if Rush, Glen, Sara or Sean says it.

  5. hypocracy comes in all flavors, colors and titles. religon does not belong in government. the bible beaters should shut-up and crawel back under their rock. killing for god is still killing. end the crusades before the crusades end us. more people have been murdered in the name of some bloody handed church then any other cause on earth.

  6. “This is taken by some as self-evident truth even as Muslim soldiers risk their lives on our battlefields, Muslim cops risk their lives on our streets, Muslim teachers teach our children, Muslim reporters report our news, Muslim politicians help to make our laws, and Muslim-Americans struggle against those who believe our sacred ideals cover other people, but not them.”

    Thank you, Mr. Pitts, Jr!!!
    I have had the pleasure of calling many American muslims coworkers and friends. They are no less devoted to the our country a christian. I find that muslims are FAR more tolerant and accepting of of other faiths- moreso than many christians I know. It’s a shame that time and time again, bigotry overides the greater virtue of searching for peaceful coexistence and tolerance. Christians, do your homework instead of sitting in judgement. The muslim faith is strikingly similar values, morals and standards as the christian faith!! Religious radicals are found in virtually every religion and are the minority.

  7. After 8 years of Repugnican governance, and an additional three years of their insurgancy against governance – with all their lies, their vitriol and their hypocracy, I can understand William Deutschlander’s cynicism. That said, it’s hard to imagine how Congressman Labrador stands to benefit from his remarks. It should be obvious that they will only garner him fewer supporters.

    The Repugs have spent the last three decades hammering away at the best institutions of this democracy. They’ve brought us (we, the people) to our knees. It seems to me inevitable that some on the dark side will come to understand that their policies are unsustainable and counterproductive – and that they’re destroying the nest. Eventually, some will come to their senses; then others. Then, suddenly, we’ll all be rowing in the same direction, and on the true course. And America will be saved. But it’s going to be like turning a battleship.

    As to the subject of this piece, let me add my sentiments vis-a-vis Muslims. I served 14 months in Turkey in the early 1980s as a member of our armed forces, and I can tell you that I have never before, during or since that time met a Muslim that I didn’t like. Like most of us, they’re just good, hardworking, faithful, decent people. Wake up, you Repugnicans!

  8. Since the rev wright’s church is a christian church. How is it that President Obama can be a muslim AND a member of rev wright’s congregation? I know logic is not in high fashion over at the far right these days ,but even you guys should see this inconsistency.

  9. It seems to me that it shouldn’t take a politician saying something before reporters and journalists comment on the subject. By which I mean, why haven’t reporters and journalists been giving the country lessons on Americanism when people (politicians and pundits and handlers) have said the opposite. This business of President Obama being Muslim has been around for a long time — where have the journalistic voices been? They should have been reporting right along that a) Obama isn’t Muslim, and b) it wouldn’t matter if he were. Why not some articles about our constitution and our history and stories about Muslims in America who aren’t terrorists. Profiles of those military members, police officers, firefighters, etc., who are Muslims AND Americans AND regular people — just like other Americans. What the h**l good are journalists if they only report “news” (ie: what someone said) and never report on the other aspects of the story. I think current journalists and reporters are failing the American people.


  10. I applaud all those who wish to be an American under our laws. But faith based cultural laws that govern a community like extremist cults regardless of affiliation always run into problems and then want the constitution to allow them an exception. That includes polygamists and Christian affiliated bombers and race supremacy militias.

  11. It is very hard to say what strengthens America. Liberal policies may in fact be better for the survival of the nation. Conservative policies sort of work until enough people take them seriously and then you risk active rebellion from the people. After all the right wing in America is the group that would not relent on slavery. They wish to deny human rights and ignore fairness and decency. In a way that can build things up a bit but then the toggle point is reached and the heads roll in the gutters. Violent revolution inside the US is a very real threat and we have made so many enemies world wide that many nations would most likely help fund a rebellion here. It’s time to make things better for everyone or if we must suffer then all of us must carry a portion of that suffering or we will all perish.


Leave a reply