Sunday, June 29, 2008

Vote Obama, Be Proud of Nader and Listen to Gibran

Vote Obama, Be Proud of Nader And Listen to Gibra

East Meredith, June 28, 2008

Many Arab Americans are rethinking their enthusiasm for Barack Obama. Not only do they watch him pander to the strong Israeli lobby, but they observe his campaign handlers distancing themselves from Muslims. Hoping to teach Obama a lesson, some Middle East Americans plan to vote for Ralph Nader, to abstain or vote Republican.

But what would be the consequences of such a temperamental shift? If Arab and Muslim voters go Nader’s way, they would harm the chances of a prospective winner of the US presidency, a winner who shows great promise for this nation and the world. Understandably, they wish to demonstrate their voting power as an American community. But those voting for Nader - the Lebanese American perennial candidate, a genius activist of a bygone era, a “spoiler” in a previous presidential race- would provoke one half of American society, the Democrats; and amuse the other half, the Republicans. Democrats are dreaming and sacrificing to see significant change in American politics come January 2009; Republicans are busy plotting one scheme after another to trap Obama in positions of discomfort, shame or weakness.

The difference between betting and gambling is that the former offers better chances of winning. Voting for Obama is a smart bet; voting for Nader is high risk gambling. A vote for Nader is effectively a vote for McCain. With a Bush-extension regime Arab and other vulnerable communities would suffer disproportionately.

If America loses Obama as the next president, the country will have to endure four more years of neo-con politics. This extra- conservative era would continue to manifest alienating international diplomacy, excessive defense spending, neglectful health care, degraded ecology, petro-dollar politics and cultural xenophobia.

The best thing that Arab Americans can do to cope with Obama's possessive promoters is to remain faithful to the Democratic ticket. However, it is also important to stay critical.

Let us be realistic. If Arabs and Muslims become too closely associated with Obama, they risk hurting his chances of winning, given Israel’s strong influence on his and all Democratic presidential campaigns. Americans with ties to Palestine and Islam are where they should be in this campaign: supportive but distant, interactive but weary of Obama. It is in their interest to help Obama with moderate support and to challenge him to contribute to a better domestic and foreign policy when he is in power.

The Lebanese American prophet, Khalil Gibran, wrote in 1925: “Are you a politician asking what your country can do for you, or a zealous one asking what you can do for your country? If you are the first then you are a parasite; if the second, then you are an oasis in the desert.”

Vote Obama, admire Nader and listen to Gibran.


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