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PC gone awry...again...in my opinion

At what point does a denial constitute an insult?

I wish that question had a funny punchline, but it's legit.

Whatever side of the political spectrum you're on, you probably know that Illinois Senator and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has spent a significant portion of his campaign denying that he's a Muslim, as has been "reported" - and I use that word loosely - by detractors, critics, gossip-mongers, and plain old fibbers who know full well that Obama has made repeated, public declarations of Christian faith.

His choice of church and pastor? Different story altogether, but in terms of faith and denomination and such, the man says he isn't a Muslim and has never worshiped as a Muslim. And that should be the end of the story.

Except it isn't. In that delicate dance of one step toward getting everyone to like him and one step toward attempting to set the record straight about his personal life, Obama has unwittingly offended a new group: Muslims who support him.

As reported in the Miami Herald recently, a group of Muslim Democrats is offended that Obama felt the need to launch a rumor-debunking Web site in the hopes of easing the minds of uncertain voters who aren't sure what to believe about his personal background.

The group says that the Web-site and Obama's denials are insulting because both suggest that there is something wrong with Islam.

I know this is a serious issue, but it reminded me once again of a Seinfeld episode, this time the one in which Jerry and George are thought to be gay by a student reporter from NYU. Both men spent the entire episode vehemently denying that they were gay and following each denial with "not that there's anything wrong with that!" This essentially is what Obama has been doing with the Muslim rumors.

Maybe I'm dense, but I don't get where the offense comes in here.

It'd be one thing if Obama said "No way! I'm not one of those wacky Muslims!" But he didn't denigrate that religion. All he did was say it's not his.

How is that bad?

We have gotten way too thin-skinned when it comes to what offends us about other people's self-descriptions.

At some point you have to say "I don't care what you think. This is who I am!" It might earn Obama a few more points if he did just that.

I understand there are instances when a denial can be offensive. But if you have one eye and half a brain you'll know it when one of those instances presents itself to you.

Here's a personal example: Back in college, I had friendly acquaintanceship with a female classmate. Every so often we'd study together, or grab coffee after class and share gossip. One day I heard she had gone on a date with someone we'll call "Bill." And during a coffee break I asked her about it. For a brief moment she forgot my appearance and reacted to this effect: "Ewww, no way! Bill? Are you kidding me? He's, he's..." And then she remembered who she was talking to. See, she was Asian. Bill was black. "Black" is the word that she hesitated to say at the end of that denial, the denial she spat out as though it tasted badly. Was I offended? Damn straight. She later apologized to me and said she'd just been raised to steer clear of black guys, and that she didn't mean any harm. Whatever. The point is her denial was more about making sure people didn't mistakenly think she was into icky, icky black guys, than it was about setting the record straight on who she was romantically involved with. She could've denied the date rumor and left it at that. But she took it a step further 'cause she actually found Bill distasteful, 'cause of his race.

You can't tell me with a straight face that Obama's denials and her denials are on par.

Quit being so thin-skinned folks. If you're straight or black or white or Martian or young or old or vegetarian or meat-eating or religious or atheist or agnostic or sexy or gross or whatever, and people get some part of your identity wrong in a way that could negatively impact your life, then set 'em straight.

If they have a real understanding of how the rest of the world works and they're not in denial, they won't mind you saying who you really are.

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Mary

PC is just getting plain ridiculous all over the place.
His denial of being Muslim is basically to separate himself from the ones who are radical and want to do harm. Period. But there is always some one or group ready to take offense.
Funny you mention PC as me and hub went to Great Adventure last weekend and there is a ride, a very insane rollercoaster ride which I did blog about, called El Toro. I didn't know ahead of time what kind of retraint it used to keep you in the car. We got in, I clicked the seat belt, I pulled the lap bar down. The attendant comes over and pushes HARD on my bar. It wouldn't engage the hydraulic (?) lock, so she's IN OUR CAR pushing down. Finally it locks. I'm thinking WOW this is so uncomfy. The ride was fast and furious, and you need the restrait for the negative G's!! But what I didn't know until we googled the ride info at home later to see how fast it went and how long it was, is that there is a restraint issue for larger people.
At a display of the test car near the entrance to the park, (we'd missed that obviously) the weight issue is noted.
GA used to state 'guests of exceptional size' but changed that to 'guests with unique body shapes'.
Because I didn't know, and none of the attendants wanted to tell me, maybe for fear I'd get my feelings hurt and sue or something, she just kept trying 'til the bar locked. She should have just said, 'lady, you are fat, don't ride this one or it'll hurt'. LOL I might have been a little embarrassed but it is what it is. I have a big stomach and that bar was tight. I wouldn't ride it again for that reason. But now I know. So, they shouldn't have had to worry about my feelings or put some 'nice' statement somewhere in another location of the park. Give it to me straight... I'm a big girl, pun intended, I can take it!! LOL

insomniac

I don't really care too much what people think about me. I guess I do when it comes to those who I have contact with everyday, like work say, where you have civility and a reputation to maintain, but as far as strangers are concerned I couldn't give a rats. If complete strangers want to waste their lives thinking about me then that's their problem...i won't be thinking about them

mark

Give Obama enough rope and he will hang himself. There Im PC incorrect twice. Ya cant win for losing. As far as Im concerned Obama is a Muslim and I wont vote for him for one reason, Obama is a liberal Liberal. His only answer is to raise taxes on the rich. Guess what? If you make over $100,000. you are rich. As a person in this income range I am already supporting a second family other than my own. Yes you heard that right. If you make over $100,000. you are paying the entire support of another family that you have never met and you will never meet. Obama wants me to support ANOTHER family that I have never met. It is called "distributing the wealth." Guess what? You are next. Another family has just moved into our borders. They need your support. Welcome to the Obama Administration.

Say It

shaking head, pfft-ing at the pathetic-ness of it all. Really, people are insulted becuase he denies being and actually isn't one of them. I am flabbergasted.

The CEO

OK, he gets vilified for saying he's not a Muslim, and yet he's also responsible for the preaching of his Christian minister, whom he disavows. Perhaps Obama is really a Russian Jew?

Which reminds me. I told WnG in the comments section of my blog that you and I were identical twins, except that you were a little taller, and had a little more hair. That's just in case she asks you. Just between us. Unless you want Obama to know.

Steph

That's the thing I hate most about election season; the candidates spend so much time defending themselves from off-the-wall assertions that we the voters never get a chance to hear where they stand on much of anything substantial.

Of course, they wouldn't spend so much time defending themselves against ridiculous stuff if there weren't a huge group of voters out there salivating over campaign trail gossip and wanting to believe every little dirty detail.

Oh, and can we find the guy who started referring to Obama as "Barach HUSSEIN Obama! His REAL name!" and FedEx him to one of the polar ice caps? Never have I heard such abject stupidity as the people who want to make hay over a middle name... like Obama had any say over what his parents named him. As if it mattered anyway.

WNG

Yeah and now I'm all freaked out about that twin thing... don't want my CEO to be an icky, icky JB look-a-like!

Seriously though - if it wasn't considered generally negative in this country to be a Muslim then his campaign wouldn't be so freaked out about it. I wish he'd stand up and ask all these people who are making such a big deal about it, "And what would be wrong with it if I was? SO WHAT???"
But he can't, and he won't. The most we can hope for is a more polite version of "Shut the F Up". Because after all he is a politician and there are tons of Marks out there registered to vote.

James B.

Mary, you said the magic word about this "ridiculous." And you are a lady and a scholar. Great example. It would have saved everyone some hassle if one of the ride workers had dropped a gentle hint.

Insomniac, for the most part I agree with you. I don't give a rat's behind what people think of me on one hand. On the other hand, I value my character, or at least the bit of it I put on public display. I also value my career. And if what someone thinks of me could put out negative views of either of those two things, then I will start to care what people think of me. And I'll be forced to put my detractors in check.

Mark, Mark, Mark. I don't know what to say. I'm not thin-skinned, so no one's gonna be able to bait me with not-so-subtle noose or lynching references, even if those references are couched in politics. If you wanna call Obama Muslim, go right ahead. The rest of your comment though is about politics. And I'm not talking politics in this post. I'm talking common sense. And from what I've seen politics and common sense are often mutually exclusive. I'm not dumb. I know that its politics that are partly motivating Obama to deny that he's Muslim. But its personal also. I respect you. But for the sake of example, you flippantly call the man a Muslim, when there's plenty of evidence to the contrary. What if your neighbors mounted a campaign to convince your entire town that you're a Satanist (you're not, are you?)? You protest, but they push harder, even though they've seen you in church in the pew next to them for the past 30 years. They push and they push till you feel like you might be forced to move for the bad publicity. That wouldn't tick you off a bit? Again, I'm asking about common sense, not politics.

Say It, it is pretty silly.

Monty, I have no doubt no one could tell us apart ;-) But I think WNG is onto us anyway.

Steph, I agree with you on how the defensiveness affects the campaigns. I couldn't care less about this crap. I'd like to see Obama and McCain really lay out hte fine details of their plans for the economy, terrorism, etc. Instead, all I've heard is "I'm not this or that, and I'm more in touch with Average Joe than my opponent." Still, in this case I don't blame the rumor or the defensiveness on the candidate, 'cause considering the tension we have in this country toward those Muslim extremists who have sought to do us harm, that rumor could be a huge political hamstring to Obama.

WNG, it's damned if you do, damned if you don't.

mark

Those comments were indeed couched in politics and I would not be allowed to express my opinion in a broader media. My opinion may not be the gospel but I assure you I am going to take full advantage of my Constitutional rights of free speech. Many, many millions of people do not enjoy the same rights that you and I have. Millions of brave defenders have given their lives so you and I can verbally express our opinions. I take my Constitutional rights very seriously and I wish all Americans would do the same. Obviously I am no fan of Obama or his politics. At the very least his goals for this country is dangerous and misguided. As for political correctness, I would rather someone tell me the truth than have them say something that I know to be pure bull crap. Barack would call me a "cracker" if he knew there was no microphone around. Obama is a very cool customer. He is smart and he knows how to make hay. If you want to boil a frog you dont throw him into a kettle of boiling water. You put the frog into a kettle of cool water and then you slowly turn the fire up till the water boils. No one knows this better than Obama.

James B.

Mark, I'm not sure of your point. This is "broader media." Mine is a blog hosted by a major media outlet that is viewed worldwide by tons of people everyday. And your opinions always make it unfiltered on my blog. No one's trying to stifle your free speech rights, not that I'm aware of, anyway. All I said, and I repeat, where this post is concerned your comments are out of place. Not wrong, not out of line. Just out of place. I would never tell someone his opinion was wrong unless I had hard fact to back that up. I might tell him I disagreed with his opinion, but I wouldn't flat out call it wrong without proof. But back to my point: this post was not about Obama's political stances. This post simply used the backlash to his denials of Islam as an example of political correctness gone awry...again.

mark

I see your point James. PC is here to stay. I guess my real point is that anyone can say, "Give John McCain enough rope and he will hang himself." No one (other than myself) would dare say, "Give Obama enough rope and he will hang himself." That is why I hate PC.
ps If Barack is elected President of the US I will give him the same respect that I have given every POTUS. I will call him "Mr President" and he will be MY President.

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