Sunday, January 25, 2004

The Unelectable Candidate

Let's say we're at the Democratic Party convention. After a raucus primary and caucus season, the nominee is chosen. He gets up to give his acceptance speech. He shocks the nation with a bold and aggressive speech demanding action on multiple fronts:

--National health insurance
--A national low rent housing construction program
--Raise the minimum wage
--Increase direct Federal funding of schools
--Expand Civil Rights
--Reduce the national debt by taxing the rich
--Gear any tax relief to benefit those with lower incomes
--Fund pubicly owned energy sources.

On foreign affairs our candidate endorsed a huge foreign aid program and the United Nations, saying "we must see that the United Nations continues a strong and growing body, so we can have everlasting peace in the world."

Summing up his campaign, he brands the Republican Party as favoring "the privileged few and not the common everyday man." He says of his campaign is "attacking the citadel of special privilege and greed."

Surely Karl Rove is licking his chops by now at the strident radical left wing rhetoric of this candidate. Surely the Democrats have shot themselves in the foot playing the "class warfare" card and backing unpopular spending programs. Who is this hapless candidate that every pundit said was unelectable? Dennis Kucinich? Al Sharpton?

No, that was Harry S Truman. The year was 1948. The liberals of his day walked out on him because he wasn't progressive enough. 56 years of red baiting right wing control of the terms of debate has sent us so far to the right that Harry Truman appears to be a leftist radical. Only he wasn't. And those ideas weren't. They were, and are, mainstream American values.

Here's his whole speech. The Democrats should be proud of what they stand for. It won in 1948 when no one thought they would. 56 years later, we can do it again.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Clash of Civilizations?

It's become quite popular to brand Islam a backward and evil religion spawning all manner of violence and barbarity. Neocon pundits have pushed the idea of the "clash of civilizations" between the enlightened West and backward Islam.

Over the holidays, I was fortunate enough to be able to relax at Myrtle Beach with my family. Walking along the beach on Christmas Eve, I looked up and saw Venus shining brightly very close to the crescent moon. This, I had heard, was the Muslim symbol of peace. Somewhere, centuries ago, someone a half a world away looked up at this same sky with the same desire for peace. A small, quiet moment of shared brotherhood across time and space.

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to be a part of an interfaith delegation for peace meeting with Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, my Congressman. One of my fellow committee members, Recco El-Amin of the Masjid Al-Inshirah, wrote a small message describing the Islamic viewpoint for world peace. I thought it powerful enough to scan and post here.

"In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

January 12, 2004

Interfaith Coalition for Peace


Nuclear Weapons Policy

Surah 99, Ayat 7 and 8. "Whosoever performs an atom's weight of good deed will see it (rewarded accordingly). And whosoever performs an atom's weight of evil shall see it".

Over 1400 years ago, the Holy qur' an had already discussed the weight and size of an atom in relationship to man's good deed. On the contrary, if one performs an evil deed compatible with the weight of an atom, one will be rewarded accordingly. It is the responsibility ofthe international community to research the mysteries of (atoms) atomic energy Inuclear energy and to discover their positive and negative effects and to implement its positiveness to the benefit of mapkind and not for their destruction.

Man should put in every effort within his capability to ensure total peace, happiness and prosperity of mankind based upon the fear of G-d and of course, rid the world of atomic and nuclear warfare. In their endeavor to establish this noble command of the Almighty G-d and should they put in an effort compared to the weight ofthe atom, they will be rewarded accordingly. This is the practical solution to the World's problems and crisis. What does Islam say on using weapons of mass destruction in combat? As I know, our religion is peace and it never encourages such brutality to be displayed during warfare. Remember the atomic bomb was what had 'earthquaked' Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We want to say also that Islam cares for keeping mankind, and the environment clean and pure so that man can lead a better natural and healthy life free from any diseases or illness that this calamity might bring.

A Security Perspective

Surah 16, Ayat 126. "And if you catch them out, catch them out no worse than they catch you out: But if you show patience, that is indeed the best (course) for those who are patient."

It may be that each country, has it's own sets of controversies, human right struggles, disputes and fights, coupled with their international differences. But we believed that each country should take the best course that G-d has set with the strictest equity, that you are not entitled to give a worse blow than is given to you. But those who have reached a higher spiritual standard do not even do that. They restrain themselves, and are patient. Lest you should think that such patience only gives an advantage to the adversary, you are told that the contrary is the case: the advantage is with the patient, the self possessed, those who do not lose their temper or forget their own principles of conduct in war. It is those positions that we take that is known best to G-d. ."

Recco EI-Amin
Representative of the Office of
Iman Mutee Mulazim, of Masjid Al- Inshirah, Inc.
The Mosque Cares"

Thanks to Recco El-Amin for permission to post this.