Anybody but Bush or Kerry
by Ahmed Amr
(Saturday 17 July 2004)
"Ask yourself a few simple questions. Does your government consider you less of an American than you were four years ago? Did you personally do anything to deserve a demotion to second class citizenship? Did the Democrats stand up for you when your civil rights were assaulted? Did Kerry or Edwards utter a word in your defense?"
Time was when Americans were more interested in the NASDAQ average than presidential polls. Those were the days when the whole country - from sea to shining sea - was caught up in the frenzy of a dot.com bubble. With a few strategic clicks of a mouse, a day trader in his bathrobe could make a few hundred dollars. Back then, who had the time to pay attention to a couple of party hacks chasing a civil service job that paid a miserly four hundred grand a year? Every kid with a bright idea dreamed of an IPO that would give him enough loose change to build his very own White House and another one for his pet gorilla.
Last election season, only the most entrenched political partisans were paying attention to the most boring election campaign in the history of the nation. Future generations will be astounded that 280 million Americans, most of them functionally literate, could only spare Bush and Gore as viable candidates for the White House.
The number one reason Bush got elected was that Gore was a bore. When Al Gore proclaimed himself the daddy of the Internet, Americans decided that the wise cracking Texan would be a saner choice and a little easier on the eyes and ears.
Another reason we gave Dumbya a chance to play commander-in-chief was the natural satisfaction one gets from tossing the bums out of office and replacing them with another set of bums - in the eternal hope that the new bums might choose the high road reserved for lesser bums.
Four years and one bubble pop later, we have a choice between two guys from Skulls and Bones and one guy from Hell's Angels. If you want to see a political miracle in America, smash the skulls, bury dem bones and take a ride on the wild side. Vote for Ralph Nader.
Anybody but Bush says you. I say anybody but Bush or Kerry.
I know Kerry is saner, infinitely better educated and certainly more intelligent than Bush. Like a number of professional psychiatrists, I have serious concern about Bush's mental health. I understand that a second term for Bush might lead to an apocalyptic disaster. If he got a call from God to go to war in Iraq, George might very well move on to Armageddon next time the imaginary phone rings.
But why bother kicking Bush and his neocons out of office only to see them replaced by Kerry and his neo-branded neocons. Why should any American put up with the disgraceful sight of Kerry licking Ariel Sharon's boots? Is there any historical precedent for a presidential candidate who was rebuffed by a foreign leader reacting like this pitifully spineless Democrat? Sharon snubbed Kerry by not giving him an appointment on his last visit to Washington. Kerry responded to this calculated insult by dispatching his brother to Tel Aviv on an AIPAC sponsored tour. Cameron Kerry's mission was to vocally proclaim his Jewish faith and use it as leverage to gain access to Ariel Sharon to pledge his brother's fealty to Israel. It was like a scene from the Godfather, with Sharon taking Brando's role and Kerry's brother pledging omerta to the mob. I never knew a guy as tall as John Kerry could stoop that low.
But Kerry will not lose my vote because I am a single-issue voter who is guilty of obsessing about Palestinian rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. My vote will go to Nader because of my conviction that politicians who formulate racist foreign policies for dealing with Palestinians are very likely to have racist sentiments against Arab-Americans. For my sacred honor as an American, I will never again vote for a Democrat or a Republican till hell freezes over. I have taken all I am ever going to take from the political vermin that infest both major parties.
The way I figure it, I would rather not vote at all when presented with a choice of two bigots. Call me sensitive, but I am offended that a tolerant America seems incapable of presenting me with a political alternative that I can accept without wounding my personal dignity.
Over night, in the wake of the terror attacks of 9/11, I saw my status as an American reduced from first class citizenship to a second-class national of suspect origins. It was a loss of fortune that cannot be measured in dollars. I would rather have woken up in bankruptcy court.I went to sleep in an America where I was the equal of every other American and woke up to a life in the shadow of the Patriot Act - an assault on my personal liberty that was inflicted by both Democrats and Republicans.
This November, some Americans will vote their pocket book; others will vote for universal health insurance or a balanced budget or still lower taxes. Some Americans will have the luxury of choosing between candidates who support gay marriage and those who oppose it. A small minority will cast their vote in favor of stem cell research or against the Neanderthals who are against it. Issues like higher minimum wage and veterans benefits will rank high on the priority list of Democrats. The Republicans will vote for more guns and a more generous slice of butter for the upper crust. Those Americans who belong to the Judeo-Christian identity movement will vote for Bush in the promise that he will make the state look more like the church. The vast majority will vote for the party their families and ethnic groups traditionally vote for.
As for my vote, it will go to the one candidate who promises to restore my first-class citizenship. That man is Ralph Nader.
Allow me to make an appeal to other voters who still champion the exotic notion that equal rights should extend to Americans whose heritage challenges the Euro-centric Bush/Kerry claims to a monopoly on 'values'.
I will not allow my values to be challenged by men who condone repression abroad for a few votes on the home front. Given the choice between democracy and a pseudo-theocracy, I will choose democracy every time. I will not sit silent and grant two amoral degenerates the right to challenge my personal ethics. My values will trump their values any day of the week. Like the vast majority of Americans, I am more tolerant and more humane than both the president and the candidate. Their conscience has gone AWOL. Mine is still intact. No blood of an innocent child stains my hand. I do not consort with serial war criminals. They embrace them. I still do body counts. And for me, every body counts.
So, I insist on casting my vote for a president; not a holier-than-thou preacher who comes nowhere close to being holier than moi.
Before other Arab-Americans cast their vote, I want their mind to drift back a few decades when being of Lebanese or Syrian descent was no more a burden than being of Greek origins or Jewish heritage. Look around you and notice that it wasn't your fellow Americans who assaulted your rights - it was the Democratic and Republican establishment and the racist mass media lords. Wake up and smell the coffee. We are living in a media controlled state - a virtual Murdochracy. Arab-baiting hate TV rules the airwaves and ambitious power hungry politicians are more than happy to play their assigned roles as mudslingers.
Believe me, I instinctively know that Bush is an intellectually challenged man who can barely complete a sentence - unless David Frum wrote it for him. But Kerry is also a sorry excuse of a human being. Forget about what they will do to the folks in the old country and consider what they have already done to Arab-Americans over here.
Ask yourself a few simple questions. Does your government consider you less of an American than you were four years ago? Did you personally do anything to deserve a demotion to second class citizenship? Did the Democrats stand up for you when your civil rights were assaulted? Did Kerry or Edwards utter a word in your defense?
When the United States government incites Sharon to escalate his campaign of terror against the Palestinians, are they not sending a clear message to your kids about the value of an Arab life - over there and by extension over here. In deliberately inflaming the Middle East, do they ever care about how it effects our pursuit of happiness and our sense of well being? Are they unaware that their racist foreign policies can only be marketed in a domestic environment where bigotry is nurtured by the likes of Rupert Murdoch and his clones at CNN? Can they even begin to understand what that does to the self-esteem of our kids?
So, this November, vote your dreams, not your fears. Vote for the land you want your children to inherit and against political parties that cast you aside. Vote for Ralph Nader and make a pledge to teach your kids to never give a Democrat or a Republican the time of day. If Nader is pressured to pull out of the race, vote for the Green Party or the Libertarians or don't vote.