In 2004, our choice of candidates was a “choice of evils.” Use the Internet archives, AKA “The Wayback Machine” and read some of the remarks from others at the time. Or you can simply read some of the comments that we tend to tune out that come from the Democrats. The short form is that the Democrats assume that we as Muslims: prefer dictatorships; are prone to genocide; and the best thing for the US to do (Kerry’s “pragmatic approach”) is to cuddle up to and install “authoritarian” regimes since drilling ANWR would cause “environmental issues” while drilling in Muslim states is far enough away that it won’t be noticed.
I didn’t – and still don’t – like Bush, but I have to give him credit for what he said after 9/11. The easy path would have been to make some of the hateful statements that came out of members of both parties following 9/11. It took tremendous courage; in the weeks following 9/11 popular sentiment would have easily permitted – and even encouraged – the sort of round up done to Americans of Japanese descent following Pearl Harbor. As for the use of the term “crusade”, in American English it rarely implies any religious significance, as Shaykh Hamza Yusuf has already pointed out.
As for the NeoCons, it is very clear that they are hostile, ignorant, people. It comes as a surprise to many people that traditional conservatives hate NeoCons. NeoCons are actually the antithesis of conservatism in that they insist on using the federal government to intrude into people’s lives. It is no accident that Sen. Barry Goldwater “disappointed” Sen. John McCain, now the Republican frontrunner for 2008, by having as little to do with him as possible. McCain is a NeoCon who never met an “authoritarian state” he didn’t like – witness his attacks on the First Amendment where he stated he would rather there be no speech than “corrupted speech.” Barry Goldwater was a traditional conservative who believed that the best government is that which governs least.
Nor is it an accident that most “NeoCons” are “reformed liberals.” The attitude of using the government to meddle in people’s private lives hasn’t changed – just the focus of where they wish to meddle. I was not a fan of Bush; but I was less of a fan of Kerry. Perhaps you would be less of a fan of Kerry if you had actually read all of his various websites directed at different ethnic groups. (This enables messages to be targeted to one special interest group or another; promising each things that are offensive to others without getting caught – also known as “divide and conquer”.)
What did Kerry promise us? On the site aimed at Muslim voters, we were promised “No more NeoCons.” But the site for Muslims put out by the Kerry campaign didn’t point out his alternative to NeoCons. To find out his alternative one had to go to the Kerry campaign site for Jewish voters – where one could read his promise to make a former Congressman once known as “the representative from Tel Aviv” his major advisor, and his promise to never oppose any action Israel takes in its defense.
In 2008, one must look at long term track records. Currently the Left is embracing Islam – but we need to see their positions on other religious groups to decide if they are in our best interests. Considering how they treat Christianity, I don’t think so. Take former Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich’s view of the role of abstinence education in AIDS programs in Africa. The countries that have involved religious leaders – Muslim, Christians and others – in encouraging people to be faithful using slogans such as “don’t graze in your neighbor’s pasture” have been the most successful at reducing the rate of new infections. Yet Mr. Kucinich favored a Western model aimed at the use of prophylactics without such messages since abstinence is not highly regarded in secular societies. Millions more in Africa are to be sacrificed on the model of exporting secular Western ideals to societies where these are alien.
Economically, it is no accident that those states with the most generous benefit programs favored by the Left are also those where the disparity between the wealthiest and the poorest is growing the most rapidly (for example, Massachusetts, which already has one of the greatest income differentials). Government entitlement programs in essence are indirect subsidies to corporations and employers.
Nor are the Republicans in our interest, but there is an exception. That exception is Ron Paul, who moved from the Libertarians to the Republicans to run for President.
Some opponents of Ron Paul have been reduced to smearing him by insisting that he is a racist, supported by racists. Using these scare tactics they then proceed to suggest that under a Paul presidency that African-Americans, Muslims, Jews, Asians, whomever could be fired by their employers for ethnic or religious reasons (let the terror begin!). But these people never get around to speaking to people who actually know Dr. Paul, like Nelson Linder, the President of the Austin, TX NAACP chapter. President Linder has known Ron Paul for 20 years, and has unequivocally dismissed charges that the Congressman was a racist as a smear attack, and stated that the only reason these accusations were being made against Dr. Paul is that Dr. Paul is a major threat to the establishment. Linder commented on the smear campaign during Alex Jones KLBJ Sunday show, and noted that the smear attempted to tarnish Paul as a racist by making him culpable for decades old newsletter articles written by other people.
And then there’s the guilt by association fear tactics straight from the playbook of the late, unlamented Senator Joe McCarthy. They insist that since some members of right-wing Neo-Nazi groups have supported Dr. Paul, that voting for Dr. Paul will give Neo-Nazis untoward influence. Yet other candidates are explicitly supported by members of racist groups such as La Raza – whose motto translates into English as “For the Race everything, for others, nothing,” the followers of Farrakhan’s Black Nationalist organization, or Kach or Kahane Chai.
Ron Paul’s belief in federalism does not mean the abolition of the INS, or that in the absence of federal welfare programs that there will be no funds or programs to care for the disabled and the indigent. This argument not only demonstrates a failure to read the constitution, it ignores the fact that for many years the states had programs to support the needy. One of the points that Dr. Paul has repeatedly made is that if the US withdraws the military from the 130 countries around the world where troops are currently based, this saved money can remain in the individual states where they can define programs that meet local needs. Those who insist that the current one size fits all federal program menu meets the needs of the poor need to leave the wealthy suburbs and take a good look at what is happening in poor rural and inner city America. There are no fathers there; and young men take their role models from local criminals, the only men who have time to spend with young boys.
Dr. Paul’s wants to end the “War on Drugs,” by changing the focus to treatment. Fewer poor men will serve time in prison and will become more able to obtain the employment necessary for husbands and fathers. Right now, the major beneficiaries of assorted government bailout programs are the irresponsible major financial institutions who knowingly made what they knew were bad loans – and they also selectively choose to disregard the fact that at least one-third of those involved in the mortgage crisis falsified their incomes on their loan statements. Rewarding this bad behavior only encourages more of it – by the banks and by the borrowers. The irony is that we have already been subsidizing crooked corporate behavior. Somehow the only candidate who wishes to eliminate welfare for corporations becomes the man who will turn the entire government into a subsidiary of a multinational.
Ron Paul’s opponents fail to recognize that dangerously expanded powers for the federal government means a dangerous erosion of civil liberties; that only an overly powerful central government can willfully disregard the Bill of Rights and pass measures like the so-called PATRIOT Act that permit imprisonment without the right to a trial, torture, and spying on honest citizens because of their religion or race. Government is not always a beneficent savior of the citizenry – it is sometimes a nightmare for the governed.
I don’t want candidates who promise to buy my vote with other people’s (tax) money. I don’t want candidates who promise Jannah on Earth through “social justice” programs that so far have succeeded only in destroying families and increasing hopelessness while mainly subsidizing cheap labor for corporations. Nor am I interested in candidates who give emotional displays and bewail the “tragedy” of women in Afghanistan who wear veils and are disinterested in finding jobs; personally were I an Afghan woman I wouldn’t be interested in doing the sort of hard, grueling physical labor that are the only jobs most could find – especially when one has a family and home to take care of without the benefit of the assorted servants enjoyed by US female politicians.
I want a candidate who has no desire to go adventuring in other countries; who will actually follow the Constitution; and has the good sense to keep the federal government out of matters of religion locally and internationally. I also want one who recognizes that it is in the US interests to be energy self sufficient; that so called “globalization” has been a disaster for many peoples; that there is a transition period from fossil fuels; and who is willing to take bold steps to disentangle the US government from US corporations by eliminating corporate welfare via military force to protect corporate interests, eliminating the use of tax money to subsidize cheap labor.
And right now, the only one on that page is Ron Paul.
Sister Nadja is a Ron Paul supporter who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.