Should the Political Winds Shift…

The oth­er day at work, ((Dis­claimer: I work for Wal­mart, and the views expressed in this post may or may not reflect those of Wal­mart or any­one else but me.)) a fair­ly long polit­i­cal dis­cus­sion broke out, large­ly cen­tered around Barack Obama.

What I found most inter­est­ing was the bit about one of my cowork­er’s fam­i­ly mem­bers hav­ing had read Dreams from My Father; a par­tic­u­lar phrase from the book stood out, appar­ent­ly, and was shared dur­ing the dis­cus­sion. Evi­dent­ly, this phrase has been much talked about, but some­how I’ve missed it:

I will stand with the Mus­lims should the polit­i­cal winds shift.

Short and to the point, no?

And if an Amer­i­can politi­cian is say­ing some­thing like that, that is cause to be con­cerned. I know I’m gross­ly sim­pli­fy­ing things here, but it’s not ter­ri­bly dif­fi­cult to see fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ences between so-called “Mus­lim nations” and “Chris­t­ian nations.”

Today, I tried to find more infor­ma­tion about the quote. Well, turns out that not only was that quote a far-too-para­phrased excerpt of a larg­er quote, but it also came from an entire­ly dif­fer­ent book!

In actu­al­i­ty, the quote in ques­tion comes from The Audac­i­ty of Hope, and it goes a lit­tle some­thing like this:

Of course, not all my con­ver­sa­tions in immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties fol­low this easy pat­tern. In the wake of 911, my meet­ings with Arab and Pak­istani Amer­i­cans, for exam­ple, have a more urgent qual­i­ty, for the sto­ries of deten­tions and FBI ques­tion­ing and hard stares from neigh­bors have shak­en their sense of secu­ri­ty and belong­ing. They have been remind­ed that the his­to­ry of immi­gra­tion in this coun­try has a dark under­bel­ly; they need spe­cif­ic reas­sur­ances that their cit­i­zen­ship real­ly means some­thing, that Amer­i­ca has learned the right lessons from the Japan­ese inter­ments dur­ing World War II, and that I will stand with them should the polit­i­cal winds shift in an ugly direction.

Bot­tom line? If Amer­i­can pol­i­tics got ugly and hatred for Arab or Pak­istani (read: not nec­es­sar­i­ly Mus­lim!) Amer­i­cans start­ed to grow, would you want a leader who would stand up for them or who would allow them to suf­fer the same fates as Japan­ese Amer­i­cans did decades ago?

I don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly sup­port Barack Oba­ma — indeed, I dis­agree with him strong­ly on cer­tain issues — but if you’re not going to vote for him, at least vote against him because of truth. ((If truth is not on your side, you’re just wast­ing your time. Period.))






11 responses to “Should the Political Winds Shift…”

  1. Senior Avatar

    Well done!!

  2. Sandi Avatar

    Yes, I agree, well done! Wish you had know all this at the time of the actu­al dis­cus­sion :) Now, where is my Dev­il answer?

  3. Rick Beckman Avatar

    San­di: You could’ve asked Nicole today where she came from. ;)

    Sor­ry I did­n’t know all this at the time of the dis­cus­sion… but… you’re the Oba­ma-fan, what’s your excuse? :D

    Senior: Heh, thanks!

  4. Donace Avatar

    I may be lost or con­fused as my knowl­edge of the Japan­ese in Amer­i­ca is lim­it­ed but Rick are you say­ing that you would not vote for Oba­ma sim­ply because he would sup­port a minority?

  5. Donace Avatar

    ah I see, well Oba­ma is IMO bet­ter then Macain; then again not being in the US I haven’t been lis­ten­ing much to their speech­es just the gossip.

  6. Rick Beckman Avatar

    Donace: Nope, I have plen­ty of oth­er rea­sons not to vote for Oba­ma. Per­haps my post was unclear, but I tried to indi­cate that I was glad Oba­ma felt the way he does about the Irani & Pak­istani Americans.

  7. Rick Beckman Avatar

    Donace: I’m not entire­ly pleased with any of the can­di­dates we’ve been giv­en this elec­tion sea­son. I sup­port­ed Ron Paul when he was vying for the can­di­da­cy ear­li­er this year, but I could­n’t even do that today after hav­ing giv­en it more thought.

    As a Chris­t­ian, I’m inclined to oppose lead­er­ship which refus­es to stand against some­thing like abor­tion using the full extent of their posi­tion to do so. As I under­stand it, Oba­ma is one of the most pro-choice elect­ed offi­cials in Amer­i­ca, and I sim­ply can­not vote for him in good conscience.

    I real­ize being a “sin­gle-issue” vot­er is often derid­ed — at least here in Amer­i­ca — and that there are cer­tain­ly oth­er issues to con­sid­er when vot­ing for Pres­i­dent. Maybe Barack Oba­ma’s eco­nom­ic plans will help my fam­i­ly finan­cial­ly; maybe John McCain’s plans will finan­cial­ly hurt my fam­i­ly. I don’t know. That’s where faith comes in, I suppose.

    Jesus encour­aged His dis­ci­ples to seek the King­dom of Heav­en first, pay­ing no mind to tem­po­ral mat­ters (Matthew 6:25–34).

    Not vot­ing for Oba­ma is a gam­bit I must take to be true to my con­science and my faith.

    I’m also not a fan of Oba­ma’s desire to “redis­trib­ute the wealth”; I’m all for peo­ple vol­un­tar­i­ly giv­ing out of their abun­dance to those who have need (indeed, that’s part of Chris­tian­i­ty which far too many ignore and which I def­i­nite­ly fall short on myself), but should such redis­tri­b­u­tion be some­thing enforced by the gov­ern­ment? I say no — the Con­sti­tu­tion does­n’t pre­scribe such a func­tion to the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment, nor do the Scrip­tures pre­scribe such an activ­i­ty to any civ­il body.

  8. Sandi Avatar

    Thanks for at least using pro-choice instead of pro-abor­tion. We’ll have to address the term redis­tri­ibu­tion of wealth lat­er. One step at a time :)

  9. Rick Beckman Avatar

    San­di: Redis­tri­b­u­tion of wealth is any­thing which takes more from those with more — the “rich” who have $250,000, $200,000, or $150,000 — in order to pro­vide extra ben­e­fits or what-have-you to those who are less fortunate.

    I dis­agree with arbi­trar­i­ly tax­ing cer­tain peo­ple more than oth­ers and am per­son­al­ly for the Fair Tax.

    I also whol­ly dis­agree with plac­ing econ­o­my before moral­i­ty; the love of mon­ey is the root of all kinds of evil, and God hates those who shed inno­cent blood.

    It can be argued that the gov­ern­ment has no place in out­law­ing abor­tion, but if the basis of that argu­ment is that reli­gious or per­son­al val­ues can­not be leg­is­lat­ed, then it makes no sense to believe that the gov­ern­ment would then be capa­ble of doing any­thing at all about the abor­tion epi­dem­ic — to say that pre­mar­i­tal sex (pro­tec­tion or not), abor­tion, or even rape is wrong is to require some sort of sys­tem of absolutes… absolutes which can only exist if there is a God to define them.

    (It can fur­ther be argued that things like rape or mur­der are wrong because they have vic­tims, but that in and of itself does­n’t ascribe a moral judg­ment of good or bad to the acts. Sep­a­rate from God, it makes no sense to say that it’s wrong for a human to hurt anoth­er human when nature is inhab­it­ed by thou­sands of species which attack, kill, and even eat their own. Sep­a­rate from belief, going only by nat­ur­al obser­va­tion, there can be no right or wrong… at least none that aren’t com­plete­ly and utter­ly arbitrary.)

    I’m get­ting off my soap­box now.

  10. Hilary Avatar


    This is a nice post. It reminds me of an arti­cle I read here:

    I think it’s great that you clar­i­fied that gross mis­un­der­stand­ing about Oba­ma that peo­ple are quot­ing every­where! I am real­ly tired of peo­ple quot­ing things like that with­out first doing a lit­tle research.

    Take care,


  11. Rick Beckman Avatar

    Hilary: Hey, long time no talk!

    You’re right, it is tire­some that the same tired things are repeat­ed. Still, every­one does it. Athe­ists have their canned argu­ments against Chris­tians. Chris­tians against athe­ists. Evo­lu­tion­ists against Cre­ation­ists. Pirates against nin­jas. A lit­tle truth nev­er hurt anyone.

    And besides, there are far bet­ter rea­sons not to have vot­ed for Oba­ma.

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Rick Beckman