- The Washington Times - Friday, November 19, 2004

Material mom

Q: “If your daughter decided to prance around the stage in her underwear, singing and hollering, would you approve?”

A: “If she was an adult, there’s, you know, not a lot I could do about it. She would be free to make that choice.”

Q: “Would you approve? If she behaved like you, if she mirrored your life to some extent, as a mother, who’s now essentially found a spiritual way of life, would you approve?”

A: “Probably not.”

Madonna, interviewed by Richard Quest, Monday on CNN

‘Common theme’

“I decided to spend the last seven weeks of the campaign talking to swing voters in Wisconsin. … Our mission was simple: to identify undecided voters and convince them to vote for John Kerry. …

“Members of the political class may disparage undecided voters, but we at least tend to impute to them a basic rationality. We’re giving them too much credit. …

“A disturbing number of undecided voters are crypto-racist isolationists. …

“In fact, there was a disturbing trend among undecided voters … towards an opposition to the Iraq war based largely on the ugliest of rationales. I had one conversation with an undecided, 60ish, white voter whose wife was voting for Kerry. When I mentioned the ‘mess in Iraq’ he lit up. … [He said:] ‘I mean we should have dominated the place; that’s the only thing these people understand. … Teaching democracy to Arabs is like teaching the alphabet to rats.’ …

“While Bush’s rhetoric about spreading freedom and democracy played well with blue-state liberal hawks and red-state Christian conservatives who are inclined towards a missionary view of world affairs, it seemed to fall flat among the undecided voters I spoke with. This was not merely the view of the odd kook; it was a common theme I heard from all different kinds of undecided voters.”

Christopher Hayes, writing on “Decision Makers,” Wednesday in the New Republic Online at www.tnr.com

Ingalls and Islam

” ‘Why do you hate us?’ Since the horrendous crime of 9/11, Americans have been posing that question to Muslims across the globe. …

“Many Muslims are put off by the moral decline that seems to have pervaded culture during the second half of the 20th century. They worry that it will be exported to their own children and societies. …

“Philosophical materialism puts self-interest before all else, and denies the existence of higher callings from God. This easily leads to pleasure-seeking, selfishness, and hedonism, and the consequences are horrifying to many devout Muslims around the world. Through American popular culture such as Hollywood movies, MTV, or pornography, they encounter a culture in which God and religious principles seem to be disrespected, neglected, even attacked or ridiculed. …

“Many Muslims are inclined to appreciate the tradition of ‘family values’ in America. During my childhood, in the early 1980s, the most popular TV series among conservative Turkish Muslim families was ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ which portrayed the life of a very devout American family. People were saying that such ethics were what made America strong. Today, Turks complain about the ‘corrupt American culture’ streaming into their houses through television and the Internet. They would love to see the America of ‘Little House’ again.”

Mustaf Akyol, writing on “Show Us More of the Other America,” in the December issue of the American Enterprise

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