Superb Post by Doug Mataconis on Belief that Obama is a Muslim

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    This morning, while wrestling with my malware-infested computer, I was considering what to write about the latest insanity, that increasing numbers of Americans (mostly Republicans and conservative-leaning independents) “say Obama is a Muslim.” Other than despair, disbelief, and dismay, plus a healthy dose of anger at the right-wing lie machine (Faux “News,” Rush, Beck, Palin, etc.) for demonizing President Obama 24/7, I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired. Fortunately, a smart, libertarian blogger came to the rescue, with a superb blog post on this topic.  I strongly recommend that you read the whole thing, but a few lines that jumped out at me were:

    *”At this point, more than two years after the story first became public, no amount of evidence or argument is going to convince that remaining 27% that their belief about the President is wrong.”

    *”I disapprove of the President’s job performance and I don’t think that the President is Muslim, for example. Then again, I don’t particularly care what the President’s religious beliefs are…”

    *”It is, quite honestly, easy to believe dark and conspiratorial things about a group of people when you don’t know anyone who belongs to that group and when Fox News Channel is telling you that they’re coming to destroy your country and your way of life.”

    *”…those who continue to spread the Obama is a Muslim lie do so on the assumption, if not the hope, that people will excerise religious prejudice toward Obama because they think he’s a Muslim.”

    *”By spreading the Obama-is-a-Muslim lie, people are saying  that a person’s religion should disqualify them per se from public office.

    Quite honestly, I can’t think of anything more un-American.”

    Perhaps most troubling about all this isn’t even the politics of the day, it’s what this says about the “Growing Ignorance” of the American public: “Technology can archive, retrieve, manipulate and communicate more information, faster than ever before in human history, but the public seems to be losing their collective common sense for nonsense. It’s a paradox of the Information Age.”  Thus, we have many of the same people who don’t “believe” Barack Obama’s a Christian also not “believing” in climate science, evolution, etc. Can someone please explain to me exactly how we are going to compete with China, India, et al. in the 21st century world economy if we are a nation of ignoramuses and xenophobes?

    UPDATE: Joel Achenbach asks, “Are Americans total numbskulls?”

    UPDATE #2: Howard Dean makes me happy I supported someone else (Wesley Clark) in 2003/2004.  Ugh.

    • VADEM

      Really? This is what is driving this ridiculous conversaton?

      Wow. This country is really going off the rails big time.

    • Dan Sullivan

      a result. Tested, verified, and organized information is intelligence. Uncategorized information is noise. Lots of noise; only snippits of which mob members recognize; and those familiar parts become their only information.

      See: Tower of Babel.

    • Teddy Goodson

      often confused with homespun, but, in any case, that is exactly what our revolutionary foremothers wore as petticoats, and forefathers wore  as small cothes, also used to make shirts and dresses as well; in other words, the cloth of The People. Maybe the ignoramus making the sign was more correct than he knew.

    • 21% of Americans don’t know that the Earth revolves around the Sun. That’s pretty much my Stupidity Baseline.  

    • IBelieveInHenryHowell

      Here is something I read today over at the Daily Kos quoting Haris Tabin and I wanted to interject it into the conversation here:

      When my parents decided to leave their war-ravaged homeland of Afghanistan in the 1980s, they had the option of migrating to a number of different countries, but sought one that they could make their “home.” You see, my father was a government official in the Afghan Education Ministry, before the Russian invasion and the subsequent takeover by the Taliban. He was tasked with modernizing the Afghan educational system while also ensuring that core, centuries-old Afghan values were preserved. …

      As young children, we would ask him why he chose this country. He would calmly respond: “The acceptance of my faith that I received in my travels through this country, I would not be able to find anywhere else.”

      He would tell us about the people who respected his religious practice of praying five times a day and created spaces for him to pray in. He would fondly recall how warm and open people were.

      Yet today, I am afraid for my children. I am afraid that when they turn the TV on, or listen to the radio (which I now turn off when we are in the car), they will receive a very different message from the one my father shared with us. The message they hear today is of intolerance. Whether it be about an Islamic center in New York blocks from ground zero or a mosque in Temecula, their faith is being openly and viciously maligned, and they themselves are made to feel responsible for the attacks on 9/11.

      I guess that this is what Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young ment when they told us to “teach the children well.”