If you're into baseball statistics, sabermetrics, Baseball Prospectus, Grantland or the Kansas City Royals, you're familiar with the writings of Rany Jazayerli. He was a colleague of Nate Silver's, once upon a time. Or maybe if you're a dermatologist, which is Rany's day job. Today he took to his baseball blog to write a long and powerful essay called "The GOP And Me."
It's a powerful story Muslims in America and how despite his right-leaning political beliefs, he's casting his vote (admittedly reluctantly) for Obama.
I don't want to quote too much from the essay, because everyone should read it for themselves. But I do want to give you a sense of what it's about.
He starts with a statement of identity.
Almost before I knew that I was an American, and almost before I knew that I was a Muslim, I knew that I was a Republican. I knew this because my father told me so. My father finished his cardiology fellowship just weeks after I was born, and moved the family from Michigan, where we had relatives and a large Muslim community, to Wichita, Kansas.He talks about how the Reagan Revolution tied into his and his father's ideas of small government and a typical distrust of government born out of his father's youth in Syria.
The Muslims who immigrated to America in the 1970s, like the ones who immigrate to America today, were not lazy. Lazy people don’t leave their homeland 5,000 miles behind to move to a foreign country where they speak a foreign language. For these Muslims, the Republican message of self-reliance and entrepreneurship, the exaltation of small business owners, the emphasis on cutting taxes to encourage industriousness, was catnip.He points out that as recently as 2000, the Muslim community in America was a Republican community.
In the 2000 election, approximately 70% of Muslims in America voted for Bush; among non-African-American Muslims, the ratio was over 80%.What he then talks about is familiar to most of us around here, but he goes into a great deal of detail The PATRIOT Act, Brandon Mayfield, The Holy Land Foundation case, the Iraq War (which he initially reluctantly supported), the congressional hearings about CAIR and the Muslim Mafia book. And of course, the "Ground Zero" Mosque and the Mosque in Tennessee.
Four years later, Bush’s share of the vote among Muslims was 4%.
What happened? Well, a lot.
But it was not lost on the Muslim community that, with very few exceptions (most notably Senator Harry Reid), every politician who was publicly opposed to the project was Republican. In contrast, prominent Democrats (President Obama, former President Bill Clinton, Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois) and Independents (New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg) all came out in support of the fundamental right of Americans – all Americans – to build houses of worship as they see fit.He talks about personal threats that he's seen towards him and his mosque, all egged on by the Islamophobe in the GOP. And the Sikh massacre in Wisconsin, where the victims were almost certainly mistaken for Muslims.
He finishes thusly
This is where we are today. Barely a decade ago, the American Muslim community was safely in the womb of the Republican Party. Today, prominent Republican leaders have made it clear that they view all Muslims with suspicion; they accuse prominent Muslim organizations of trying to infiltrate the U.S. government because they dare to support placing Muslim interns on Capitol Hill; they label a Muslim community center open to all faiths as a “victory mosque” for Al-Qaeda; and they publicly declare that Muslims are evil. No, wait, not evil – pure, unadulterated evil. In case there was any doubt as to which kind of evil they were.He finishes by saying he wants to be able to vote for Republicans, but he never will as long as they continue to call him and the people of his faith anti-American and terrorists.