Pulling Our Strings and Poking Us in the Eyes: The Ahmed Mohamed Fairy Tale
There can be no doubt that Americans are fortunate enough to be governed by a brilliantly conceived Constitution drafted by remarkable, intelligent men. Unfortunately, too many Americans are utterly ignorant of what it contains and how it impacts on their lives. Voter ignorance on this and so much else contributes to the ease with which the media manipulates public opinion into believing things which are not so. In this they play into the hands of a childishly narcissistic president who despises the values upon which our country was based, a man who repeatedly pokes our allies and us in the eyes to show that he can deeply offend without penalty.
1) The appalling ignorance of American voters.
A recent survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania found that a majority of Americans are unaware of what is considered basic knowledge of the Constitution.
This information, which was released Wednesday, comes on the cusp of the 228th anniversary of Constitution Day (Sept. 17).
Here are some of the most surprising findings from the survey
• 1 in 3 Americans believe the Bill of Rights guarantees the right to home ownership.
• 1 in 4 Americans believe the Bill of Rights guarantees “equal pay for equal work.”
• 1 in 3 Americans (31 percent) could name all three branches of the U.S. government and 32 percent could not identify a single branch.
• 1 in 4 Americans (28 percent) believe a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling is sent back to either Congress for reconsideration or to the lower courts for another decision.
• 1 in 10 Americans (12 percent) believe the Bill of Rights guarantees the right to own a pet.
• 25 percent of respondents agreed that “it might be better to do away with the court altogether” if it started making a lot of rulings most Americans disagreed with.
• 26 percent said when Congress disagrees with the Supreme Court’s decisions, it should pass legislation saying the court can no longer rule on that issue.
• 26 percent favored requiring a person to testify against himself in court.
• 46 percent opposed a prohibition on “double jeopardy,” or retrying a person for the same crime twice if new evidence emerged after a not-guilty verdict.
2) This Ill-Educated Public Is Remarkably Susceptible to Media Manipulation and the Ahmed Mohamed Case This Week is a Prime Example
Ahmed Mohamed is a young student in Texas who came to school with what he said was a homemade digital clock in a lunch box .It was very suspicious looking.
Questioned by teachers and then by police, according to WFAA: “officers said Ahmed was being ‘passive aggressive’ in his answers to their questions, and didn’t have a ‘reasonable answer’ as to what he was doing with the case. Investigators said the student told them that it was just a clock that he was messing around with.” Irving police officer James McLellan explained: “We attempted to question the juvenile about what it was and he would simply only say it was a clock. He didn’t offer any explanation as to what it was for, why he created this device, why he brought it to school.”
Why didn’t young Ahmed simply give McLellan the explanation he offered later, that he was planning to show the clock to an engineering teacher? This remains unexplained, but in part because of his non-cooperation, Ahmed Mohamed was arrested, and soon released without charge. An international firestorm ensued, with Obama inviting Ahmed to the White House….
The left-wing media quickly followed its customary stance of reporting baseless narratives in which Americans are portrayed as hopelessly racist and Islamophobic.
The Daily Signal, however, noted 9 other cases where students not Moslem and not named Mohamed were treated like criminals.
The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto also listed numerous incidents of overreaching by school administrators under the “zero tolerance” mandates even before 9/11 and affecting students of all races and backgrounds. He detailed the narrative (that is, fairytale) of Islamophobia Ahmed’s father (well-connected to Moslem activists) peddled to a press delighted to megaphone it for him:
[T]here was Vox on Wednesday peddling the Islamophobia narrative: Zach Beauchamp: “It’s hard to see this as anything but blatant, naked Islamophobia: Police surely would not have hauled off a white kid because of a clock.” (Talk about ignorant stereotypes: Beauchamp thinks no Muslims are white.)
Max Fisher: “The letter [from the MacArthur principal] also asks students to “immediately report any suspicious items and / or suspicious behavior,” in effect asking students and parents help to perpetuate the school’s practice of racist profiling, even after that profiling had been clearly demonstrated as without merit.”
Amanda Taub: “Ahmed Mohamed’s school and community . . . showed him that his passion and creativity are to be feared rather than embraced -- that such things are not for young Muslim boys who share a surname with the Prophet Mohammed.” (Taub also wrote a January piece claiming that political correctness doesn’t exist. To paraphrase Carly Fiorina, fish are unaware of the existence of water.)
Slate’s Laura Moser managed to find a similar story involving a non-Muslim student, Kiera Wilmot, who was 16 when she was arrested two years ago over a science project in which “she mixed toilet-bowl cleaner and aluminum foil in a water bottle” to make smoke. She was suspended for 10 days, threatened with expulsion, and charged with two felonies -- though the charges were dropped “after great public outcry.”
In the course of reporting the story, Moser managed to convince Wilmot that she was the victim of racism:
BoingBoing.net reported Wednesday that “Omar Ghabra won Twitter” by posting photos of Apple co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak with the quip: “An Arab-looking man of Syrian descent in a garage w/his accomplice building what appears to be a bomb. Arrest them.”
Vanity Fair’s Emily Fox notes that one of the Apple co-founders was indeed arrested when he was in high school -- but not the one who was of Syrian descent.
That would have been in the late 1960s, long before zero tolerance; and given Wozniak’s admittedly mischievous intent, one hesitates to fault the principal’s reaction. Still, if Ghabra won Twitter, he should give it back and apologize for his invidious stereotyping.
Writing in National Review, Kevin Williamson concludes “Being mistreated by imbeciles is the sine qua non of American public education today." But he asks a perfectly relevant question: “Anybody want to hazard a guess as to what would happen if a young man showed up at the White House visitors’ center with a backpack in which was a homemade device full of circuit boards joined to a timing device? I do not frequent the White House, but I often am in the House and Senate office buildings in Washington, and my best guess is that if I’d tried to bring Mohamed’s clock into one of those places, there would have been guns drawn.”
3) The Invitation to The White House is More than Merely Moral Preening: It’s a Sign of the President’s Continued Contempt for Americans
Some have tried to make it appear that Ahmed ’s invitation to the White House is in part related to his engineering genius --- an effort to reward and encourage other young Moslem science students to excel.
The story doesn’t wash.
As we noted earlier, he couldn’t or wouldn’t initially explain to police who questioned him what it was and how it worked. Moreover, one techie argues persuasively that Ahmed had merely taken apart a 1970’s digital clock manufactured by Micronta (a division of Radio Shack), put it in a box, and claimed it as his own creation.
Was this a setup by his father and local Moslem activists or an unfortunately common school system mishap? Whichever it was it was not Islamophobia, and the invitation to the White House to suggest it was is of a piece with Obama’s performance when Skip Gates was arrested for what seemed to be a house break-in, when Trayvon Martin was shot while trying to beat up someone, when Michael Brown was shot after robbing a convenience store, attacking a cop, and trying to steal his gun.
It’s so obvious that even the thirteen-year-old middle school student, Coreco Ja Quan Pearson catches on.
He asks why the president never commented on or called Miss Steinle’s parents whose daughter was murdered by a criminal immigrant; never phoned the families of the policemen being murdered in cold blood by thugs encouraged to hate police by the Black Lives Matters crowd and its poisonous rhetoric, and whose leaders were also just invited to the White House. Wise beyond his years, he observes, “You don’t get invited to the White House for building a clock.”
The list of offenses to public sentiment could go on: Here are just a few: Announcing Bowe Bergdahl’s release with a Rose Garden ceremony accompanied by Bergdahl’s hippie parents and ignoring the family of the soldier permanently disabled searching for Bowe; insulting our allies Great Britain and Israel. And upcoming this week, offending Pope Francis by inviting to his welcome ceremony “transgender activists, the first openly gay episcopal bishop and an activist nun who leads a group criticized by the Vatican for its silence on abortion and euthanasia.”
The Vatican has objected. So should we all for Obama’s consistently churlish and offensive behavior.