Islamophobia at Election Time

I’ve been meaning to blog about this for some time now, and it’s really long overdue given how rapidly things are forgotten and how quickly new issues come up. Between the trio of McCain, Hillary, and Obama, I think I’m pretty clear in my mind that Obama has the best vision for the country.

I hate to use the cliché, but McCain really would be just another four years of Bush. And let’s be honest here, I’m pretty unhappy with how the last eight years went, politics wise. Between the two democrats, Hillary is the “republican” and Obama is the “democrat”. What does this mean? First I refer you to the NYT Decision Tree, which I think is an excellent piece of work. What does it tell us? That the well educated vote for Obama, and the less than well educated vote for Hillary.

In short, educated democrats vote for Obama, and uneducated democrats vote for Hillary. That’s no surprise really, Hillary tells great sob stories. People identify with that. Especially uneducated people who don’t know any better.

I might be considered an elitist for saying this, but I strongly believe that educated people make better policy decisions and that Obama’s vision is one that appeals to this crowd for good reason.

This is why I was especially disappointed with the handling of Obama’s “Muslim identity crisis”. He could have handled it so much better. It’s said that one shows their true colours when they’re cornered, and when Obama was cornered his campaign put out statements that were disappointingly anti-Islam and borderline racist.

Instead of playing clean and saying “I’m a committed Christian, but there’s nothing wrong with being a Muslim in our secular country,” his campaign went all out denouncing Islam as an evil that is anathema to Obama. That anybody who insinuates that he is a Muslim is insulting the core of his very being. From someone who is looked up to as a visionary, I expected a lot better.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have. Conservative Christians and Jews are too important a demographic in American politics and anybody who upsets them doesn’t have a real shot at the presidency. After all, what good is a visionary who is unelectable?

All things considered, I’d still take Obama over the others, by a long shot. But what used to be unadulterated admiration is now tempered by a wariness about his character. He’s not been tested so far; and when push comes to shove, how will he react? I’d venture still better than the others, but should ‘better than Hillary and McCain’ really be America’s benchmark?

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2 Responses to Islamophobia at Election Time

  1. Gerv says:

    Instead of playing clean and saying “I’m a committed Christian, but there’s nothing wrong with being a Muslim in our secular country,”

    How do you know that this is what he actually thinks? And if it’s not what he thinks, how would it be “playing clean” to say this?

    Gerv

  2. Ali Ebrahim says:

    Gerv,

    Long time no see. I think that’s actually a pretty valid question you ask, and I don’t really have a good answer.

    At the end of the day, I think one needs to decide who they think is telling the truth, and what the truth is to them. Voting is about making a judgement call, and there is no universal correct answer. I think it sets a dangerous (though perhaps popular) precedent to demonise Islam for political convenience. I hope that Obama agrees (despite his rhetoric), though I can’t know what’s going on in his mind.

    There are a lot of moderate Muslims in the world and they vastly outnumber the radicals. But you just hear about the radicals because they’re the ones creating all the trouble. Let me define “moderate” and “radical”, just to be 100% clear. By moderate I mean those who are following Islam in accordance with what Mohammed (SA) and his progeny taught. By radicals I mean those who twisted those teachings into something they call “Islamic Jihad” but in reality has no basis in Islam whatsoever.

    Coming back to the election, in my mind I have the feeling that Obama “gets this” the most out of the three candidates. I don’t have a rational explanation for this belief, it is just based on my observation of the three candidates based in part upon what they say about how America should handle its international affairs.

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