Of course, the most common water-cooler conversation today is last night’s presidential debate. Common consensus is that Governor Romney brought the battle to President Obama, while the president kind of stunk it up. The more I watched the debate, the more my own position crystallized. I’m not voting for either of them. I’m done.
There are those who would criticize me for “abdicating my responsibility” but in an untenable situation, sometimes no action is possible. If you are standing in front of a vat of acid and a vat of lava, which one do you jump into? The one that might burn the flesh off your bones slightly less quickly?
I am a Muslim before I am a (fill in political affiliation here). I will go to the polls in November and I will vote, but only on the local issues that are on the ballot. I cannot hold my nose and vote for Obama or for Romney. I’m looking into the Libertarian candidate but as I am late to consider him I’ll leave him out of the discussion for now.
I suppose I looked at one too many photos of babies killed by Obama’s drone strikes. I listened for years to what he’s said and for the last three or so have looked at what he’s done, and I find him lacking. Romney is not an alternative for me because, well, I have a brain. So I’ll sit this one out, thank you.
I make a couple of postings on my Facebook wall, which I will shamelessly cut and paste here:
First one: To my Muslim brothers and sisters, when someone asks you if you are a Republican or a Democrat, tell them you are a Muslim and you support the position that is in line with your religious beliefs no matter which party promotes it. That means we are neither Republican nor Democrat because we don’t believe in ribaa, in sex outside of marriage, in abortion as a casual form of birth control, in supporting Zionism. Every point of every political platform has to go through the “Islam filter”. Our job as Muslims is to weigh the positions of each candidate (including outsiders like Ron Paul) and determine which one is best for the Muslims, or at least does the least harm. Then we can vote, even if we have to hold our noses. If neither candidate is feasible, and sometimes that is the case, we can refrain from voting.
Remember that this universe belongs to Allah and no matter who is in the Oval Office, they are only supposed to be a vice-regent for Him. It is our job as a minority religion in the US to poke and prod, to look after our rights because very few others will, and to never give up trying to teach people that they have more alternatives than R or D and they don’t have to submit to the brainwashing that sets Americans against each other.
Second one: I wrote this just now as an addendum to my comment about voting as Muslims, so I’m just posting it as a separate status update to make sure everyone can read it. It expands a bit on my previous post: The issue is that we are a minority living in a non-Muslim country that does not rule according to Allah’s laws. So as Muslims, when we register, depending on our state, we can register as a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent, or other, or we can register without stating an affiliation. My contention is that it doesn’t really matter how you register, as long as you as a Muslim bear in mind that NO party here in the US has the interests of Muslims in mind when they propose legislation. Saying you tend to vote Republican or tend to vote Democrat is okay. It’s also okay, required even, to have the intellectual honesty to disagree with the party you most closely identify with when their position on an issue goes against Islam. If you tend to vote Democrat but your local legislator is in favor of allowing riverboat gambling in your state, you can’t support her on that issue. If there are other issues that she supports that you are in favor of, you have to make a decision based on her overall platform. It may be that even though you tend Democrat, you disagree so strongly with her unabashed support of Israel that you consider it a dealbreaker and thus you either vote for the other guy, or if that candidate is also not feasible, you decline to participate in the voting.
Third one: (Friend’s name) yes, one will win regardless, but sometimes the choices are so bad that you simply have to say that you won’t participate in the farce. As a person of faith I believe that my prayer can be much more powerful than my vote. What if it is simply immoral to vote for either? Do I vote for Romney because Obama is killing babies in Afghanistan with his drones? Do I vote for Obama because Romney’s proposed rollback of the health plan (which I also have issues with as it stands) means someone’s wife is going to die of cancer because she doesn’t have the money for treatment? There are not always feasible choices, and it is simply honest to say so. I honestly think that no matter who wins in November, things are not going to change much come January. I cannot support either man because they both have deal breakers that make them untenable for me. My “vote” will be to ask God to guide them to a better way. As Muslims, we are supposed to ask God to support our leaders and help them to decide to do the right thing, but when we have Thing 1 and Thing 2 running with a do-nothing Congress behind them, it does seem to be an exercise in futility to go press the lever. As we say, God knows best and ultimately it is a personal decision. I won’t condemn a person who votes or who decides not to.
And for the person who suggested that if I hated it so much here I should leave and go to a “Muslim” country: I’m not ready to give up on the people in the US yet. I always try to remind people that the US is a country of over 300 million people. It is not one monolithic entity or the Evil Empire or any other easy cliche. There are good people here, Muslim and non-Muslim. I will continue to do what I do, which is work to support my family and make da’wah to everyone that I can, and my husband is active in religion here, too, being a kind of “traveling khateeb” who makes the Friday prayer at different places that don’t have a regular Imaam.
I’m not yet ready to take my goats and head to the hills. There are wonderful people of good conscience here in the US and they work together across lines of race, religion, and ethnicity to help people. These are the Americans worth voting for, but they rarely run for office because they are too busy doing stuff.