Of all the stories you wouldn’t expect to make international headlines, the story of Ahmed Mohamed leaving the United States to attend school in Qatar is high on that list.
By now, we all know the story. Boy makes clock. School thinks it’s a bomb. Boy meets the president.
Boy leaves the country to attend school in Qatar, a nation state that is well known for being the Switzerland international terrorist organizations funnel funds through.
It’s a story that should make each and every American pause and take a good look in the mirror at ourselves.
Is this the country we want to live in? Is this the country we want to leave to our children? Do we really want to live in an America where schools are so overly sensitive that a science project warrants a visit from the FBI? Do we really want to live in a country where our president turns every little story into a headline for political advantage? Do we really want to live in a country that is so politicized that everything from Thanksgiving dinner to school board elections become battlefields of political extremism?
It’s not the country I want to live in. It’s not the country my grandparents, great-grandparents, and ancestors going all the way back to the Mayflower built, represented in public office, and fought for on numerous battlefields. At this point, I don’t think any of our ancestors would be impressed with the America we’re creating in the present. In fact, I think they’d all take us out to the woodshed to have a little discussion.
Two minutes on a Facebook feed is all it takes to show us that extremism can take many forms and come from many different directions. And, it’s up to us to put an end to it. Enough of the bullshit. Yep, I said it and I’ll say it again; enough of the bullshit.
Yes, we live in a complex world. Yes, things are not black and white. Yes, there is good and evil and geopolitical balls bouncing all around and into every aspect of our lives. But, when we’re such a divided country that a 14-year-old boy feels compelled to leave because he’s being persecuted by a society that espouses freedom and equality for all…well, when that happens, it’s time to take our fingers off the keyboard and take a look in the mirror. It’s time to ask ourselves “What am I going to do today to bring this nation back together instead of being the reason it’s dividing itself a little bit further.”
We’re outtta time. The time is now. Stop waiting for tomorrow.