By now, everyone has heard of this 14-year-old boy, Ahmed Mohamed. In case you’ve been living under a rock or you were on vacation on a desert isle in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, this is the horrible, terrible young man who built a digital clock to try to impress his engineering teacher, and ended up being handcuffed and arrested because just about every “adult” in his life failed him, except his parents, who have raised what seems to be a wonderful son with a bright future.
I have seen Ahmed in several interviews, and he just seems like a nice kid. In fact, he reminds me of one of my son’s friends when he was little, a wonderful little boy from Somalia named Usman. I liked almost all of my son’s friends — like his dad, he has a knack for choosing well — but Usman was a little different than most. He was extremely polite and deferential, and he had a curiosity and spark that you don’t see from many American-born kids these days.
Anyway, getting back to Ahmed, his arrest demonstrates that we are in many ways a broken country, especially when it comes to law enforcement (I mean, five cops for a skinny kid? That’s almost as bad as nine cops to stop a jaywalker. People keep telling me we need more police on the beat, but do we, really?), but more than that, we have a mile-wide mean streak, and we have allowed the mean people to take power over too many lives.
There was only one reason this kid was singled out; his brown-ness. Well, that, and his name. One cop, upon seeing the kid for the first time, even said, “I knew it was him.” It’s pure bigotry. That’s what the leadership in certain pockets of Texas and other parts of Red America specialize in. The same town, Irving, Texas, like other mean towns across the South, actually spent their valuable time and taxpayer money to pass a bill banning “Sharia law” from the town. You know, because brown people.
And please spare me the angst about “times have changed” and “what if it was a bomb?” Get a clue, people; even the assholes who detained this kid knew it wasn’t a goddamn bomb; they just got their jollies from harassing the brown-skinned kid from somewhere else.
Yes, I have heard that “argument,” and I’ve heard it a lot.
“With everything that’s happened… what if it had been a bomb? What then?”
To that I say, they knew it wasn’t a bomb. At no time did anyone even THINK it was a bomb. They thought the “Brown Kid” was the bomb, not the device. They were trying to stop a potential problem the same way a town full of paranoid white wingnuts tries to solve every other problem, like banning Sharia Law just because a few of “them” have moved into the community. First, they manufacture the problem, and then they try to intimidate it out of existence. Look around; it’s their approach to everything; it’s why they hate the Iran Deal, and it’s why they’re against opening up Cuba.
How do I know they knew it wasn’t a bomb? Well, at no time did they once treat it like a bomb. Think about it; they opened it up without thinking, in the principal’s office, with all those children nearby. They didn’t call in the bomb squad, and they didn’t take it out in the middle of a field to “defuse it.” Instead, they roughed up this kid, threw on the handcuffs and perp walked him through the school to embarrass the hell out of him and intimidate him, so that he wouldn’t grow up to join ISIS and make real bombs and blow up schools with them.
And if you think I’m off-base with this, consider this letter, which was sent to Ahmed’s parents after this thing went down.
The strain of mean that has infested the leadership of this country has got to go. And that means the current version of the Republican Party has to go. We need complete reform of the systems in this country after 36 years of GOP influence, and it has to go as soon as possible. That means putting sane people with a sane ideology in positions of power everywhere. At least for the time being, that means flooding the system with Democrats. Period.