Monday, November 3, 2008

Do Not Let Another Vote Be Lost, Yet Again

Guest Post by Fariha Tayyab

After interviewing with a reporter from the Houston Chronicle mid last week on the Muslim community's reaction to recent racial uproar in both campaigns, I got to thinking, thinking a lot to where I felt a bit trapped. And now I've decided to speak or rather explain to everyone who is confused as to why I support who I do and why it matters.

(Side note: For those of you who would like to read a critique of Obama and his campaign addressing each issue area please let me know. I have a great thorough email sent from a friend titled "Obama and the Muslim vote")

Maybe it's not about the lost vote, maybe it's about a sincere vote that is lost yet again.

We live in a bi-world. Bi-partisan to be more specific. It is so because well we didn't really do anything and more importantly because we chose not to. Ross Perot, as is well known, a 3rd party candidate came really close to being in the main race, but yet he was polling below 10percent. Ralph Nader, who is running as an independent this year and a fourth time in national polls. He polled above 5 percent and event reached 10percent at one time. Therefore, a vote like Ralph Nader's isn't wasted or 'lost'...That's just a myth what we're taught. The democrats even wrongly blamed, Nader for Bush's victory in 2000 (with logic in mind that if Nader's voters would have voted for Kerry maybe he would have won stepping aside all other significant reasons why Gore lost). Furthermore, Bush defeated Al Gore in FL by around 500 votes and Nader received close to 100k votes in Florida. Many other 3rd party candidates also received more than those 500 or so votes... A point to just let flush through your mind, so your vote is not lost, it's not unheard, its not overlooked. Those who do stand up for their principles, well its seen. More, here.

In eight years, everyone seems to have been worked up and passionate about this election. We seem to be taking no more of Bush-it. So the word change resonates throughout our political thought processes. And yet really its just not change, just a tweek in how things were and a beacon of hope that seems to shift and sway to where it almost obliterated concept of reliability and consistency. Whether it be the children from Ron Clark elementary, or the pyscho 'kill him' chanters at McCains rally's, or the man who names his baby Sarah McCain Palin, or even the movie Obsessions, or even Republican leadership changing their stance or shifting out of the scene because "Palin is like a cancer", or any of the enthused Obama supporters and all their interesting actions, or maybe even all the Muslims who vote together.

Your best teacher is your last mistake.

Vote together for a man who knows he has gotten our vote; who understands he doesn't have to step into ONE MOSQUE, because he already has our vote. He doesn't have to stay consistent and can unconditionally support [apartheid] Israel and offer more than 3billion in aid annually, create tension and talk about proactive action for Pakistan insurgencies, or the many other issues a Muslim vote would be 'concerned' with and seem to have always been a bit too concerned with. He has our vote, and he will regardless. Not because we love Obama, but because we choose to be involved to not get another Bush or McCain, who God forbid wins. The thought of that makes us cringe. Expediency or sincere voting?

What about the issues that McCain doesn't mention? Obama does? What about the issues neither mentions? The one's that affect us first and foremost? What about the military budget? Alternative Energy? Corporate welfare and crime? the Justice system? US Policy on Middle East? Etc. All these affect us but yet Obama doesn't address them. Address the real issues.

He's a writer, a professor, a lawyer, a politician, a activist, a journalist, a speaker, a trooper, a hero. A man who started more than 10 nonprofits, one who broke Guinness book of world records for most speeches given in a day, whose one of multiple books was ranked 38th amongst 100 top pieces of Journalist for 20th century, who both Life and Time magazine named 100 most influential Americans in 20th century and even in history. Not to mention his running mate, Matt Gonzalez, who is also phenomenal in a myriad of ways, that this email would only drag on, but most of us know him as the one who almost won mayoral race in San Francisco in 2003.

Other campaigns are driven by organizations and political action committees and platforms that definitely have their own agenda. Their money is supporting within both campaigns. Has anyone really stopped to think about this, in depth or even on surface level? It's almost as if you pay and you get your voice heard. So then what is change? Because the people putting money in don't seem to be wanting it. Nader only accepts money from individuals and in turn for the last 30+ or so years Nader puts interest of the people at the front. "Nader raiders" didn't just come and go, they came and stayed, they wrote books about him, their hero, they worked to continue to establish his non profits, they amongst everything else voted for him, and shifted the trend.

The only difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is the velocities with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock on their door. That's the only difference.

One's not sure what to say, let's just say Obama is Muslim, its a disgust for him to ever admit maybe 1% of him was or could be. It would hurt his campaign which is honestly understandable, because he is all about change and voting for the people. If those who are voting on more shallower terms on basis of surface level and minority status, well maybe there is some triggering factor for doing so. On a shallow note, Nader is first Arab American presidential candidate (his parents were from Lebanon and Catholic) and not only is his stance pro Palestine but he's also not hiding in corners erasing his identity and rather embracing it amongst other things. Random point that doesn't really matter unless your voting on a 'I vote minority' basis. At his fourth round of elections, there is some merit and sincerity in Nader, a trooper. It's about challenging the status quo, and about not giving up. And now he is on the ballot in 45 states.

A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done.

So the biggest, most comprehensive, overall argument remains: If We don't want McCain, so we vote Obama. Expediency at it's best. However, this doesn't seem to hold immense amounts of logical thought or firmness it just seems to be to some, borderline jargon. As those of us who are Muslim peoples, we come from our ideals. Rather we are our ideals. And our religion and it's fundamental concepts were strived for, even if they weren't achievable within a short time. It was the ideal that mattered, the overall message, and the true values we stood for, that was what kept Muslim thought alive. Never ending struggle now, and the never ending struggle then. We aren't a people to trade off in the least, rather we have patience to the most. So even on an "Islamic" note this doesn't have much standing. What isn't a reality now in four years, isn't going to be a reality ever really if we don't start to make it one and mold things. For those who aren't voting and seem to be a more political Islamic inclined kind of ideology, its because you don't support these candidates because they are both evil. This also to some is flawed logic, however there is an alternative? Yes, indeed.

Once you don't vote your ideals, that has serious undermining affects. It erodes the moral basis of our democracy.

So as Americans we believe in democracy, what was once brought up as democratic ideals and values, but what is not. And not only what has not been but what will not become if we as a people aren't proactive. Change is there, change is real. and if you let it be change is possible. However it is not through the avenues of Mu-Barack. There is no really blessing in that, if we vote for him out of the dislike for McCain.

As Nader explains in an interview, "One feels an obligation, Tim, to try to open the doorways, to try to get better ballot access, to respect dissent in America in the terms of third parties and, and independent candidates; to recognize historically that great issues have come in our history against slavery and women rights to vote and worker and farmer progressives, through little parties that never ran--won any national election. Dissent is the mother of ascent. And in that context, I have decided to run for president."

Be real with yourself. Be a trooper. Be a true American and holdup democratic ideals, in whichever candidate you find it in and God bless. But today only Ralph Nader seems to be real and about change.

Do not let another vote be lost, yet again!

*Nader/Gonzalez 08
*All italics where Nader quotes. Glad you enjoyed

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