Dream of the Dragon

Tag: obama

The Ground Zero Mosque

by Justin

Let’s first of all point out that the popular title I adopted for this piece, usually reserved for the feverish demagogues and their pigheaded followers, is itself misleading. The proposed mosque will be built two blocks from the former site of the World Trade Center,but the title suggests the mosque will be built on top of the ashes. And were that the case, I’ll concede that it would be insensitive and bizarrely prejudiced toward the Muslim community affected by 9/11. But this Islamic community center and mosque will be at some distance and represents a beautiful opportunity for the United States to rise above prejudice and recommit to a legacy of tolerance and acceptance.

The debate on this proposal has been raging for some time, the petty and ignorant crawling our from beneath their fundamentalist rocks to assault the very foundations of American liberty. That foundation being religious freedom. There are legitimate reasons to be opposed, to at first be insulted and contest that hey, maybe there’s no good reason to invite controversy so close to such a recent tragedy. I understand that the Islamic community in general had its image tarnished in the minds of many Americans in the wake of 9/11, people making the unfortunate and perhaps involuntary mistake of allowing Al-Qaeda to represent an entire religion. It happens often in history that the loudest and most radical groups define public image, but the era of mass media should no longer permit that. Somehow, the fact that the GOP’s domestic agenda flagrantly favors only the wealthiest Americans and disregards the needs of the poor isn’t enough to throw them out of favor and out of office.

The point here is that there is considerable popular misconception about Muslims and an unfortunate mental association for many with Islam and 9/11. Read the rest of this entry »

David Foster Wallace on Reagan, Kennedy, and Leadership

by Justin

In response to yesterday’s ramble about Obama’s shortcomings and what he stands to learn from the skills of Reagan, a friend (and dedicated opponent of all things Reagan) sent me some selections from David Foster Wallace.

The catch here is that I’m madly in love with most everything he writes, reluctant to disagree with his opinions in the way the parishoners are with their priest. Not at all that extreme, actually, but I have great faith in his ability to think deeply and with great devotion to truth. So I’m inclined to set my prejudice aside and let his thoughts work on me. Miss E. Leas sent this selection to me, out-of-control capitalization her own:

“SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT PRESIDENT RONALD W. REAGAN (1981-89) WAS OUR LAST REAL LEADER. BUT NOT MANY OF THEM ARE YOUNG VOTERS. EVEN IN THE 80S, MOST YOUNGER AMERICANS, WHO COULD SMELL A MARKETER A MILE AWAY, KNEW THAT WHAT REAGAN REALLY WAS WAS A GREAT SALESMAN. Read the rest of this entry »

Obama should study Reagan

by Justin

Change and hope. Those words, the ones Americans so desperately wanted to hear in the oblivion of Bush’s second term, dominated Obama’s nearly immaculate campaign and became symbols of a new era. The timing of Obama’s ascendancy couldn’t have been better, really. The old guard had failed miserably at leading, American’s were disenchanted with the GOP and wanted a radical shift. By and large, you know. Democrats and liberals were, of course, going to dodge any Republican candidate. But Obama tapped into the independents and the more moderate republicans. Running a black candidate was a serious gamble, but that was the moment. And Obama seized the hell out of it. Then what happened?

Okay, so we go into his presidency with impossible expectations. Absolutely unrealistic. I wrote about this before, about the inevitable meeting of his idealism and the labyrinth of politics – how liberals should have seen it coming and should take his stumbles and compromises with a grain of salt. Read the rest of this entry »