When I emigrated to the US years ago, one of the first things I was surprised about was how bad the US education system was compared to the British system. Even in university, students were studying material we had covered in the UK when I was 13. Now, years later, as the US education system declines even more, the latest news that 20% of Americans think President Obama is Muslim doesn’t surprise me.
Then, when you factor in the 30% of Republicans polled who also thought President Obama was Muslim, I just had to laugh. For what is supposedly the world’s most advanced country, to have one fifth of the supposedly educated-population thinking Obama is Muslim is hilarious.
But where does this misinformation about President Obama’s religion come from? And why does such a large number of Americans believe it? Two reasons. Republicans and the media.
As soon as President Obama became president, the Republican spin machine went into overdrive. Not wanting to come off as racist, even though many Republicans are, they didn’t attack his race. Oh no, they attacked his citizenship, saying he wasn’t born in America (he was!) and then created the lie he was Muslim.
Buying into America’s irrational fear of Muslims and foreigners. Regardless that only months before, Republicans were attacking Obama for his coming from a church (that’s Christian, eh?) where the minister had made comments they deemed racist against whites. Republicans. They’re nothing if not inconsistent.
So, as the Republican lie spread that Obama was Muslim, and was bolstered even more with the emergence of the far-right Tea Party, this served to overshadow the positive things Obama’s presidency was doing in places like the Middle East. Instead of putting America into countries in illegal wars, like the Bush administration did, Obama’s administration was trying to get America out.
With more than 4,500 Americans killed, and billions of dollars a year going to Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama knew the only way to truly get America out of its worsening economic depression was to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan. Republicans, of course, didn’t want to talk too much about Iraq and Afghanistan, after all, it was their party that put us there.
So, they kept spinning the Muslim lie in an attempt to make Americans fear their own president and question why he was pulling them out of Iraq.
The second place to lay blame is the news media in America. Once a place where you were almost guaranteed to get somewhat accurate news, in the last decade, most American news is nothing more than lies, innuendo and propaganda.
News is reported at the drop of a hat, without facts being checked or circumstances looked into. Yet, when it’s proven that news isn’t true, for the news media to do a retraction and say what actually happened is as unlikely as them all suddenly stopping donating to their own favorite political candidates.
News channels like Fox News, or Faux News as they’re called in many circles, are nothing more than propaganda machines for the Republican Party (Fox parent company’s recent $1 million donation to the Republican Governors Association proves that) and, with an American citizenry badly educated and who believe everything on TV, Fox News can spew whatever lies they like about Obama, and half their poorly educated audience will believe them.
As someone who wasn’t born in America but later became a naturalized American citizen, I often wonder where the promise of America went. At one time, a shining beacon for the rest of the world, it’s now in danger of becoming a racist, bigoted society where, if you’re not a white American and a Christian, lies and inaccuracies will flood the news media about you (Shirley Sherrod anyone?) and where even the President of the United States isn’t safe.
But that 20% of Americans, and 30% of Republicans polled, think President Obama is Muslim isn’t really hilarious. It’s sad. Sad that a country, once as great as America was, has now plummeted to one where being a Muslim is a synonym for evil and accusing the president of being one is tantamount to telling him he shouldn’t be holding that office.
Now, the last time I checked, being Muslim wasn’t wrong, illegal or evil. So how is it that, in America, an accusation of “being Muslim” can actually kill a presidency? And what the hell is wrong with a country that thinks it does?
Obama a Muslim? Rumors gain steam, defying facts – Yahoo News
Aljazeera News – If you want unbiased, accurate news (and no, unlike what Republican propaganda says, it’s not a pro-Muslim network that shows Muslim terrorists decapitating kidnapped westerners) with western reporters, watch this