President Obama should invite former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George Herbert Walker Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to join him in a visit to an American mosque. To show solidarity with patriotic American Muslims. To send a message to the world. To support American troops fighting in Muslim lands. To put bigotry to bed in the campaign of 2010.
In a perfect world, General Petraeus should be invited to join them to make a powerful statement to those Muslims who are friends of America in the Middle East.
For President Obama this would be as profound as what President John F. Kennedy did in his speech to Protestant ministers about Catholicism in 1960. Except that in this case, there would be no politics, no electioneering, no campaigning.
It is time for a unified statement that America is not a nation of bigotry or fear. A statement about the universal American idea. A statement that those who really support the troops should realize that we are in a great battle of ideas, supported by patriotic Muslims at home and Muslim allies abroad who despise terrorism as much as we do.
This has nothing to do with any single mosque in any single American city, which Americans of goodwill have every right to support, or oppose, based on local conditions, in good faith.
This is about the bigotry and fear that has infected the campaign of 2010, from certain partisan and extremist forces, who do no service to our nation, our security, or our troops.
It is time for all former Presidents, Republican and Democratic, to stand together on a matter so important to our values as a people and our security as a nation.