Who is the American enemy?


Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

How many people have heard some version implying the same meaning as those words above?

I can’t say that I earned it because it is not within my academic background or areas of research, but I did turn down an offer to review the exchange that took place at the Heritage Foundation’s Benghazi panel last month. You’ve probably seen too many clips and opinions about the question posed by audience member Saba Ahmed to the panel which included Brigitte Gabriel, the CEO of ACT! for America and Ms. Gabriel’s response to Ms. Ahmed.

Please draw your own conclusions from what you have seen and read. I was not present in the room, but I have formed my own opinion about the events based on what I have seen and read. Whether our opinions agree or disagree is not the point with this writing.

I do not comprehend this attack on Ms. Ahmed for the question. By attack I’m not labeling Ms. Gabriel’s response, but the aftermath. Now I am not a regular viewer of Sean Hannity. Frankly from what I have watched I found nothing informative or educational, and felt the show served only as a promotional soapbox.

I did, however, watch the linked exchange between Mr. Hannity, Ms. Ahmed, and Ms. Gabriel. I fail to see how both Ms. Gabriel and Mr. Hannity deemed the question irrelevant to the panel topic. Still, something stated by Mr. Hannity stuck with me in his questions to Ms. Ahmed. If one believes Mr. Hannity and Ms. Gabriel that certain atrocities are being carried by believers in a particular religion and that Ms. Ahmed is either guilty by association or negligent for not condemning all believers of the religion that she practices, shouldn’t the same responsibility fall upon Ms. Gabriel and Mr. Hannity?

Mr. Hannity mentioned issues with the Roman Catholic Church. Did I hear correctly that Mr. Hannity spoke out against those abuses? I do not know whether he did or did not, but just voicing opposition is all that separates someone from being a good person or a bad person?

Have you read Ms. Ahmed’s op ed from yesterday in the Guardian?  

After reading that piece I asked myself the simple question of whom among the three individuals would I equate to my idea of America.

My idea of this country resulting from my profession as a Professor of History with specializations in Southern history and US Political history; my idea of this country ingrained from a childhood of being reared in Livingston Parish Louisiana on a strawberry farm; my understanding that even though my maternal Grandfather and his friends who I tried to emulate in all facets that when those men learned that I could take a university course in Soviet History “required” me to take that course to see if I would be able to challenge their animosity toward the USSR rooted in their Hungarian heritage; my idea from watching John Wayne in Sands of Iwo Jima more times than “Carter has liver pills” and the feeling of pride and humbleness seeing Sgt. Stryker on the ground and the flag being raised; you know the America I know as a farm boy in rural America, and the stories heard and advice accepted from veterans at the American Legion posts and VFWs everywhere I have lived.

It’s my Dad’s America, him being named after his Uncle who lost his life early in WWII over in Africa, and growing up working and still working even in retirement and after diabetes took his vision. It’s an America where things ain’t fair, but you work hard, respect others, and just keep pressing away until you have nothing left and then you still scratch, scrape, and crawl before you are able to return to your feet because that’s just the way life is. Waste not, want not, and nothing worth having is free or easy. That’s my America.

It seems to me that the America of Mr. Hannity and Ms. Gabriel is an America of words speak louder than actions; an America of trying to hurt and condemn by a barrage of words and then waving a white flag or retreat if someone is capable of throwing sticks and stones and not merely returning vitriolic verbiage. I can’t be alone in thinking that in America actions speak louder than words regardless of how loud or hateful those words are.