I believe this is a question that many of us have been thinking about for some time now, however we have been secretly trying to hide our urges to ponder these thoughts by overwhelming them with optimism.
There have been several documented instances throughout the 2008 campaign that made us leery as a community, such as the incident with the hijabi sisters not being allowed to stand behind him at an event, to the fact that Obama didn’t visit any Masjids (that I know of) but visited synagogues and churches, and the fact that there was little to know repudiation of the terms “Muslim” or “Islam” as a slur. In fact, it wasn’t until Colin Powell brought it up in the last two weeks of the election cycle that it became a national discussion.
So now that as a community we held our breath, took our insults and perceived punches in stride, and turned out in record numbers as a community to vote, how do we feel now?
We can pretend if we want to, but there is reason for concern at a minimum. As it stands at this moment, with various appointments President-Elect Obama has made, plus his public statements, there is concern as it relates to his foreign policy agenda as it relates to the 2 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also very important on the minds of Muslims not just in the US but his stances on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
There have been some very pro-Zionist statements and promises made by Obama officials that hint to more of the same in this regard and I believe that as American Muslims who largely supported Obama we should at least be concerned enough to pay close attention.
Obviously, I’m not advocating pessimism or skepticism as a replacement for the optimism we all feel about Obama, but as a self-proclaimed realist I have to at least put it out there.
Let us remember that our civic responsibilities and patriotic zeal do not begin and end with a vote. We must ensure the we keep our leaders and representatives honest, accountable, and representative of our interests.
Which is why yet again I bring up the point that we need an American Muslim agenda, God willing we will at least think about it.