From the NYT, in the days before the “twitter revolution,” in the days when scholars knew nonsense when they saw it but many others did not:
No single speech can eradicate years of mistrust, nor can I answer in the time that I have all the complex questions that brought us to this point…As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam. It was Islam – at places like Al-Azhar University – that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality. I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America’s story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President John Adams wrote, “The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims.” And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have fought in our wars, served in government, stood for civil rights, started businesses, taught at our Universities, excelled in our sports arenas, won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic Torch.
Hmmm. The “student of history” didn’t reference the other things Adams wrote or what the third president did to deal with the Barbary pirates, a problem since at least 1492 (see second paragraph).
It’s now six long (and increasingly dangerous) years since America became a TV show. Where are the serious people? Not in the political world or the media evidently.