Salim Mansur

  • Recalling the 1976 Republican Convention and Its Unintended Consequences

    --Published in AMERICAN THINKER, 17 July 2016

    History is paradoxical. This is because it is riddled with unintended consequences that are unavoidable, as they are part of the warp-and-woof of history. 

    History is also paradoxical, it might be said, because the gods of history keep reminding us mortals that our conceit in being overly rational actors, foresighted and forearmed, is misplaced. Our best-laid plans are only as good as the limitation of our knowledge, which is finite in the face of infinitude. Only the gods of history know beginnings and ends ahead of time. Or as Shakespeare wrote, “As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods. They kill us for their sport.” 

    But when we, in the sobriety of our minds, make some sense of history we do so in retrospect as spectators. As actors in history, we have flawed expectation of our motives and imperfect understanding of our roles. Hence, the unintended consequences of our actions that torment us are mostly of our own making.

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    Ahead of the July 18-21 Republican National Convention meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, Donald Trump emerged as the GOP’s presumptive nominee after winning the Indiana primary on May 3. The effort to stop Trump, however, persists with some party insiders and disgruntled conservatives insisting they will contest rules on the convention floor and strive to steal the nomination, or mount a third-party bid threatening party unity in a manner not seen since Republicans gathered in 1976 in Kansas City, Missouri, to nominate their candidate for that year’s election.

    The head of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, has warned fellow Republicans that any third-party bid would be a “suicide mission” that could wreck the United States for generations to come. The choice for Americans voting in November to elect their president will be stark between Donald Trump and the likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Moreover, the consequences of who gets elected as the 45th President of the United States will not be confined for Americans only, it will also be far reaching for the rest of the world.

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  • A Ramadan Reflection: Trump, Muslims and American Islam

    --Published in AMERICAN THINKER, 15 June 2016

    The month of Ramadan just begun for Muslims is not merely about the rigors of fasting and prayers, it is also about meditating on man’s responsibility in this world and accountability in the next. One of the most urgent issues for Muslims at the present time is take responsibility for those who commit violence against innocent people in the name of Islam, and unequivocally repudiate them and their theology that defiles Islam and makes a mockery of God’s revelation to Muhammad that first occurred, as tradition records, in the month of Ramadan.

    But nearly fifteen years after 9/11 and counting, Muslims in America as elsewhere remain in denial of Islam’s role (or a perverse theological rendition of Islam) in the terrorist violence that spread from the Middle East around the world. This explains in part why any expectation that so-called “moderate” Muslims in sufficient numbers will publicly repudiate their religious compatriots who engage in terrorism as an act of religious obligation, or jihad (holy war), has not materialized yet and likely will not unless there is some significant change in majority American view of Islam that presses upon Muslims.

    The emergence of Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for the presidential election in November could be the spur for a sufficient number of Muslims, if they have courage and imagination, to break from their past. A Trump presidency might well facilitate the making of an American Islam as an effective counterweight to political Islam, or Islamism, that has been ruinous for Muslims everywhere in modern times.

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