Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|US election revisited|
|09/05/01 at 17:56:32|
I'm not asking with malicious intent, but several months after the US elections, those Muslims who voted/advocated voting what difference do you think your vote made? Or, asked slightly differently, of what significance was it?
Shortly after Bush came to power he bombed Iraq, he slapped a second round of crippling sanctions against Afghanistan, said Zionism isn't racism and pulled out of the UN summit on racism in support of Israel.
Now, we see the war against Islam reaching new depths whereby the FBI raids the offices of a company that hosts the sites of several important Muslim orgs. And to quote from an IViews article:
[i]"The raid comes just one week after Bank One corporation shut down the bank account for Holy Land Foundation without any explanation.
The raid also comes just two weeks after two Muslim bashers openly called upon the FBI in a Wall Street Journal column to shut down the web sites of IAP and HLF."[/i]
All this has happened in under a year under his administration. So what say you?
|Re: US election revisited|
|09/05/01 at 19:55:10|
|[quote]All this has happened in under a year under his administration. So what say you?[/quote]|
Well I can only speak for myself of course, but...
Everything that has happened since the election is pretty much what I expected. I would be disappointed by his measures since being elected, but what he has done is exactly how I thought it would turn out.
Muslims in America are in the process of trying to establish themselves as a viable entity with both financial and political resources and clout to direct US domestic and foreign policy towards policies which are favorable to their interests. The goals are the same as any other group or lobby.
This effort is literally in its most infantile steps. And no one will be able to take this effort seriously and pay any regard to its goals unless it demonstrates its political clout and its power.
This power begins with unifed numbers. Muslims may be however million they are in the US, but unless they establish a certain agenda they can agree on and more importantly vote and make decisions based on that common agenda, the US political establishment will never take it seriously or pay attention to its concerns.
Ten years ago, there were probably more Hispanics in number than they are Muslims today. And back then, they were not considered a very strong political bloc, despite their numbers. As they have become the biggest minority in the US, their community also established common themes in their various political agendas which were backed by numbers, unified numbers at the voting booths.
Today they are very strong, and its not because of the Latin craze in pop culture or anything like that. That in itself is a natural result of their growth in numbers AND their concurrent growth in political and social power. And of course the strongest political lobby and special interest group in the US (no need to name them ;) ) did the same thing over the years.
This is what the Muslim community is up against. And if they want to stay in the US they need to begin to work on exerting their own influence and gear US policy towards their interests. But a baby learning to crawl, much less walk, can't take on the big kids on the block without some growing pains and some mental and physical development.
Voting in a bloc is among the first parts of this development for obvious reasons. The election of 2000 was really the first time that Muslims voted as a bloc for the most part, with 80% or so voting for Bush.
This was the first step, and only the first step. If Muslims who voted for Bush thought there would be some dramatic change in policy then they were pretty foolish. The big kids on the block gear American policy and a little kid takes his or her first step. What's the big kid on the block gonna say? Is he gonna be pay a lot of attention to it at first? Not really. It's not until the little kid is all grown up.
Many Muslims who did vote for Bush were mistaken in [i]why[/i] they were voting for Bush. Some thought that they were voting for better foreign policy and what not. If Muslims wanted to be myopic and vote in Election 2000 [i]only[/i]on the issue of Israel, then they should have voted for Nader in 2000 who advocated complete cessation financial aid to Israel, or even, believe it or not, Pat Buchanan in 1992/1996 who advocated the same thing.
Some very very foolishly expected Bush to be a modern day Constantine or something and revolutionize the current political reality and turn it upside down. Bottom line was that last year the Gore party ignored the Muslim political groups and didn't even bother to meet them; the Bush party did. That played a role in his endorsement. So did his apparently "less pro-Israel" stance, among other things. A lot of Muslims seem to forget that Democrat or Republican, whoever went to the White House would have the same policy towards Israel. It's always been that way. Why? Because whoever is in the White House is influenced by the powers that be and the special interest groups that lobby for the cause.
The development of a Muslim political bloc and lobby was the reason why Muslims were prompted to vote for Bush, not for his planned foreign policy or domestic policy or anything else.
It didn't matter whether Muslims voted for Bush or Gore or whoever, what mattered was that they voted for the same person. You could have easily made a case for Muslims voting for Gore as for Bush. While Bush's claims about his position towards Israel or his statements abou wrongful detainment of Arab-Americans (which he mentioned explicitly for example in the second national debate) could be envisioned as a basis for a policy favorable to Muslims, other positions (which many Muslims ignored) for example, such as his isolationism in regards to the conflicts in Kosovo and his and his party's vision about who should be appointed the Supreme Court could lead to policies unfavorable to Muslims (i.e legal rulings which restrict certain civil liberties which are important to Muslims, particulary foreign Muslims).
And if one goes through Gore's positions and envision the political reality if they were all followed through, one might find favorable positions for Muslims and unfavorable positions as well. So it's a wash.
At the next election, be it congressional, senatorial or presidential, in the future, if Muslims continue to vote as a bloc, people will start to take heed, politicians who broke their promises will lose their positions and the little kid beings to walk a littla faster and soon enough he can start stamping on the big kid's foot. And soon enough he's one of the big kids.
Wishful thinking? A Quixotic dream? A deluded reasoning? Perhaps, perhaps not. But better to work towards a noble goal (sucessful or not) rather than sit on one's hands and complain about the state of the Muslims as most of us do most of the time.
It may take many years of growing numbers, electing people and then not voting for them the next time because they didn't listen and voting for someone else, then repeating the same cycle with that person and so on and so on. No one said this was going to be easy.
Unfortunatley patience has never been a strong point for us, and people will become apathetic to the whole thing, if they are not already. But again this is short-term sacrifices in hope of long-term gain.
Of course that does not mean that we should sit around and say to ourselves, OK three years from now we'll show him and vote for someone else while in the meantime the individual does more harm to the Muslim cause. That is part of the plan no doubt, but as integral to that is constant pressure and concerted effort in the meantime. As Muslims we should be doing that in every other aspect of our lives anyways.
|Re: US election revisited|
|09/08/01 at 06:41:05|
|Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah|
Good points. I hate to open up a can of worms regarding the whole voting issue (so I won't), but my family voted Green Party. Sure, the chances of electing Kermit the frog were probably the same as electing Nader, but truth be told, I think most Americans (maybe Muslims and non alike) realize that foreign policy issues have not changed much in the past 50-60 years. Would things have been much different had Gore/Lieberman been elected? I doubt it. Should Muslims even bother? Not sure. But if you're gonna vote, why go for another molded puppet? I'm not sure the block-vote reason is enough, although I really hope it will at least result in acknowledgement of Muslims in America (so far, not sure if that happened as related to the elections). If the Green Party had gotten enough votes (which might have been the case, had there not been a block-vote) and received more $ for future elections (and we all know that it takes $ to be elected or even in the running), would even that make a difference? I don't know. We're not exactly voting for a Khalifah here.
Are things much better in the UK? I hear there is/was a Muslim(s) elected to some gov't position(s). Some of that happens here at the local level, but clearly not enough. Alhamdulillah, there are a handful of Muslim judges here as well, not sure at what level. Not that I'm making a stand either way on Muslim involvement in a non-Muslim government system; I'm still not sure about that, wAllahu'alim.
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