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Political Values: Hot Tamale Louie vs. Bret Colvin

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    Political values encompass what an individual believes, in regards to government operation. In this wide scope, these values are ambiguous and can cover a wide array of subjects which may differ among party affiliation, culture, and experience. To get a taste of some values that will be discussed and are pertinent to the topic of this essay, The Hazelton Area School District points out a few values including: “equality, liberty, materialism, and diversity” (hasdk12). These values align greatly with the constitution and the values put forth in that document. People perceive values in different manners which can often create adversity.

    One may believe free speech applies towards what is just, and what is just is a malleable concept with no objective reality. The article Citizen Kahn depicts contrasting stories of two men who approach their political values in different manners (Zarif Kahn and Bret Colvin) however given the context of this article, Kahn undoubtedly exhibits a wider array of political values. The article opens up with the case of Hot Tamale Louie and elaborately takes the audience through the adversity he faced in order to achieve the “American Dream”.

    Louie manifested his success by opening up a Tamale business in the early twentieth century. Coming from immense privation, Zarif began his journey by making his way into America at the mere age of twelve. A major value Americans uphold is work ethic which was greatly displayed by Zarif in the early stages of his life. At the age of twenty, Kahn began to rally customers everywhere and anywhere by putting a yoke with a bucket on his shoulder. This work ethic continued with Zarif tenaciously going to any lengths in order to get to where he wanted to be in life. This included working seven days a week and serving food until midnight or whenever the last person left. Being “well off and physically comfortable” (Andrews) defines the value of materialism which Zarif evidently valued.

    Though an immigrant from Afghan, Zarif didn’t let that impede his success, rather he worked diligently to reach a level of comfortability that would normally be more feasible for a person native to America. Diversity and equality were also heavily valued by Zarif. An egalitarian at heart, Kahn had welcomed Indians, kids, and woman who had worked at brothels. Whether this was due to his values or the desire for loyalty is anybody’s guess. Nonetheless, the tales of his generosity strongly suggest that Zarif was not being self-seeking but rather invariably sticking to his personal political values. Another value that some Americans adhere to is volunteerism which is “a belief in helping others and is a personal choice, not a communal expectation” (Andrews). Volunteerism pertains to the equality ideology in the sense that everyone is equal and therefore everyone should be treated the same, a belief held by many humanitarians as well.

    Zarif exercised this by serving free food to the homeless and in one remarkable situation, he went as far as to help a man in purchasing an engagement ring. Though Zarif spoke little English he learned how to become communicable through his actions. Bret Colvin, who founded Stop Islam in Gillette, is clearly the antagonist in this story. However both men held political values, notably the value of liberty. Colvin targeted Muslamic people and fostered a protest with strong attempts to drive them out of the country. Liberty is not only a right but a value as well. Within this value lies the right to “personal freedom: the private realm in which the individual is free to act, to think and to believe, and which the government cannot legitimately invade” (hasdk12). Colvin presumably discriminated with liberty as his justification.

    The article also provides evidence that supports the likelihood that Bret had nationalistic values. Nationalism is “defined as being devoted to your country, or the feeling that nations should act independently instead of working together” (yourdictionary). Being apart of the Marines shows extreme admiration for his country and his radical desire to work independently from other countries was displayed by his prejudicial beliefs which were exerted onto other nationalities.

    Although these two men had differing values and life paths, they both held political values. They represent two entirely contrasting mindsets but they’re alike in that they both value liberty, a value that most if not all people tend to have. It’s subjective to dictate whose values were the most American, however, in terms of progression and common modern values, Zarif undoubtedly trumps Colvin. Khan’s actions showed that he valued equality among all human beings regardless of race, economic status, gender, and religion whereas Colvin’s did not. Colvins actions, though extremely problematic, do ultimately show valued liberty which is one of the largest values that make America what it is today.

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