POLITICS-I know, I know...I'm not supposed to question the intentions and actions of our President, because then I'd be disloyal and (even worse) probably more than a bit crazy. But let's just pretend for a moment that I want to hold our President to the same standards as his predecessor, George W. Bush. Disloyalty to that guy was for very long dismissed as anti-American and hater-centric, and that paradigm was debunked after the criticisms became increasingly valid...so how about now?
Lots of folks who voted for President Barack Obama once or even twice are beginning to show concerns about his recent actions and statements as to which side he's on. Or if he represents only one part of America, and resents if not despises other parts of America.
Or if he cherishes America and wishes to strengthen it for future generations, or if he has a big problem with its past and present and wants to remake its historical teachings and create a singular changing point that negates its reputation and history (even the parts that virtually all historians claim make America a good influence to the world).
In other words, does he want to help shoulder the burden of creating a brighter future for all Americans, or does he just have a chip on that shoulder and wants payback, revenge or some other untoward happenings for perceived damage that individuals and nations have suffered under the rise of America and its influence (including those democracy, constitutional/civil rights, foreign aid components)?
In other words yet again, "hope and change" for...who?
It's not helpful going down the road of "Obama is a Muslim". We've got Muslims in the U.S. Military who give their all like anyone else, and we've got Muslims in American mosques who regularly work with the FBI and Homeland Security to catch and arrest rogue Americans who have ensnared themselves in Radical Islam (which many if not most moderate Muslims don't believe is Islam at all).
Furthermore, some of our most valuable allies abroad have roots in both Islam and Western ideals. Egypt's President Al-Sisi is a pro-West, military and presidential leader who's trashed the Muslim Brotherhood's civil rights because when the Muslim Brotherhood held power in Egypt, secular and Christian Egyptians died at the hands of Radical Islamic mobs.
(Historians note that Ataturk did the same thing in modernizing Turkey a century ago.)
Furthermore, Al-Sisi's efforts in reducing the efforts of the Muslim Brotherhood and its counterparts in the Gaza Strip (Hamas) to take over the Sinai Peninsula is nothing short of a vital security effort that's as important to regional security (both Egypt and Israel have a stake here) as any.
If it's a choice between anarchy on one hand, and fighting and reducing the civil rights of Radical Islamic mobs on the other, it's no choice at all. Jordan has now gotten into the fight against ISIS, and they're a Muslim nation that merits more of our support. Ditto for the Kurds, for whom Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for having their own nation of Kurdistan.
Yet why does our President show more support for Morsi than he does for Al-Sisi (who is as vital to Israeli and Egyptian security as he is for somehow restoring the Libyan anarchy that President Obama helped create)?
Why is there a lack of sufficient support for Jordan and the Kurds? Why does President Obama appear to have more love for Iran (led by anti-American Ayatollah Ali Khameini) than for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (photo), who clearly he wants out of power, and is willing to intervene in Israeli politics to have Netanyahu lose in upcoming Israeli elections.
So the old "Obama is a Muslim" really isn't a reasonable or realistic complaint...there are plenty of Christian, secular and Jewish Americans and Westerners rooting for the pro-Western Muslim nations of Egypt and Jordan, and who are rooting for the Kurds and our allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It's more a question as to why President Obama is not tougher on Turkey's leader Erdogan (who runs a nation that used to be pro-West and leaning secular), and why President Obama is fighting so hard for an Iran deal that is even alienating Democratic Congressional leaders and their traditionally Jewish constituents.
...and why President Obama did hold a secret meeting with American Muslim leaders, some of whom might have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood? Does the President come across as tolerating the more radical aspects of Islam so long as they "behave"? Does he really want to go back to the 1948 Israel/Palestine boundaries that threaten Israel's modern-day security, as he once stated?
...and why would President Obama, at a recent prayer breakfast, liken ISIS to modern-day Christians and alienate so many in America who voted for him in 2008 and 2012 because they thought it was the Christian thing to do?
Whose side is the President supposed to be on? Whose side does he want to come across as representing?
Similarly, is our President on the side of civil rights for all, and civil rights that are rational and reasonable, or is he a supporter of race-baiters and poverty pimps like Al Sharpton, whose tax-dodging and discordant tactics were rejected by an America that voted for President Obama as an alternative in 2008?
And was Attorney General Eric Holder supposed to be on America's side, or a "revenge tool" of an overreaching American government that threatened the civil rights of the press, of Americans who both agreed and disagreed with the President, and of Americans who simply wanted an attorney general to uphold the law, not rabble rouse and thwart it.
And the recent revelations that the IRS was hiring tax cheats and individuals of dubious backgrounds is but another IRS scandal/red flag as to what form of government President Obama was establishing. One cannot have a representative and democratic government with an incompetant, overreaching and potentially-corrupt IRS.
And why must those who raise the fiscal misery that so many Americans are now enduring with the Affordable Care Act get a response of a wave of the President's hand, a threatened veto pen, and an implied, loud "Shut up and pay your premiums"?
Is it ever fair to raise the issue that the Supreme Court OK'ed the Affordable Care Act as a tax hike, thereby allowing honest analysts to proclaim this Act, rammed through in the worst of partisan methods, as a tax hike that's slammed the middle class more than any other group?
Is it also ever fair to criticize the so-called reduction in the Unemployment Rate as smoke and mirrors, as the CEO of Gallup just announced?
And is it also ever fair to complain about the lack of solid work with benefits that so many Americans really want, not just the part-time jobs that avoid starvation but portend a lousy future? How about the suggestion that the President's plan of paying for junior/community college is ridiculous and already in existence?
There are still those simply want the right to criticize President Obama without being called un-American, racist, unfair, racist, inappropriate, racist, a Christian right-wing nut job, racist, a hater and ... oh, yes ... a racist.
Just like the American People turned away from the once-record-breaking support of former President George W. Bush after 9/11, but began viciously resenting him with a sense of betrayal for his foreign and domestic policies.
No one reasonable WANTS the President to turn out to be so radical and anti-American as to be a sort of "Manchurian Candidate". Very liberal...fine. Out of touch...fine. But someone who really resents if not hates the America of his birth...not really.
So why would the President go to such lengths to prove his most partisan opponents right, and make even former pro-Obama Americans wonder whose side he's really on?
(Ken Alpern is a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He is co-chair of the CD11Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at [email protected] He also does regular commentary on the MarkIsler Radio Show on AM 870, and co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.)