Juan Williams, NPR, and the risk of telling the truth

There is something about the public psyche of the united States – and probably every where else too – that loves an obvious, agreed upon, lie.  And punishes anybody who has the nerve – or momentary lapse of caution – to not tell it. I notice this all the time and now – unfortunately – I can't recall very many examples. Jimmy Carter saying he had lusted in his heart was one. Juan Williams saying when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried is another.


Who doesn't.

When Michele and I flew back from Italy just after 9/11, we were waiting for the flight with a group of Orthodox Jews wearing – if that is the right word – Tefillin (Hebrew: תפילין‎) (shown here on Barbie[s]).


Just as they started to load the plane, the Orthodox guy next to us, dressed completely in black,    wrapped a leather strap around his arm and started praying in Hebrew while rocking back and forth. Michele leaned over and said Now, this really creeps me out. Me, too, it was very disconcerting. 

I'm not saying that either one of us was proud of our reaction but I am totally certain that we were not the only ones. And Juan Williams is far from the only one nervous when a Muslim in full regalia – or, for that matter, in mufti – gets on a plane. That is just reality. It's not logical, duh! But why do we have to pretend it isn't true?       

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