racism, islamophobia, complicity: or, why i would never vote for obama or mccain

kabobfest has a brilliant piece today satirizing the racism supersaturating the u.s. presidential election with a whole series of presidential campaign buttons they’ve created. this one is one of my favorites, but there are many other funny ones so you should click on the link and check them out. i’m posting this one here, in part, because yesterday i posted a link on facebook to an article that a friend’s response was that we should vote for obama. NO! we should vote our conscience. we should vote for a candidate who is moral and believes in justice (read: cynthia mckinney or ralph nader).

iron sheik on another kabobfest post reminds us precisely of why we need to have people who stand up and vote in a way that does not mean selling one’s soul to the devil. people are acting out this racist drivel based on the lowest common denominator of the public’s fears. why would one play in to that, be complicit in that, by voting for someone out of fear of the other (i.e., what the other would do if he were elected). iron sheik argues that this logic looks something like this when it is played out to its extreme (and folks, we’re not too far from this extreme right now if you listen to john mccain’s rallys, which sound a lot more like ku klux klan lynch mobs).

October of every election year is hereby called “S*&^ Extra Hard on Arabs and Muslims Month”

It is only appropriate as the looney-bin right in this country finds new and innovative ways to bash Arabs and Muslims for political points, and the wheezy liberal-left abets their efforts with spineless acquiescence. It leaves mainstream Arab-American leaders like James Zogby having to tell politicians that he is Arab and a decent man.

It is the time for hate crimes and graffiti, hate-filled DVDs, and guilt-by-association-based charges. It tis’ the season for all the experts on Islam and the Middle East to wax on about the great danger the occupied and downtrodden of the earth pose to the richest and most powerful nation with its measly 150+ military bases.

They are so right to point to particular readings of a religion as the real danger to the world. It is far more dangerous than a country that has killed millions in pursuit of profits, resources, and security.

Every fourth October, let this month be our time to remember this!

or here, is an ironic quip from angry arab:

I wish I was running for public office here in the US. My slogan would have been: “As`ad AbuKhalil: an Arab–an Angry Arab.” PS I approve this message.

the article i posted on facebook last night that made my friend say we should vote for obama was a letter from a former right-wing evangelical activist who wrote an open letter to john mccain:

“John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as ‘not one of us,’ I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence.

“At a Sarah Palin rally, someone called out, ‘Kill him!’ At one of your rallies, someone called out, ‘Terrorist!’ Neither was answered or denounced by you or your running mate, as the crowd laughed and cheered. At your campaign event Wednesday in Bethlehem, Pa., the crowd was seething with hatred for the Democratic nominee—an attitude encouraged in speeches there by you, your running mate, your wife and the local Republican chairman.

“Shame!

“John McCain: In 2000, as a lifelong Republican, I worked to get you elected instead of George W. Bush. In return, you wrote an endorsement of one of my books about military service. You seemed to be a man who put principle ahead of mere political gain.

“You have changed. You have a choice: Go down in history as a decent senator and an honorable military man with many successes, or go down in history as the latest abettor of right-wing extremist hate.

“John McCain, you are no fool, and you understand the depths of hatred that [surround] the issue of race in this country. You also know that, post-9/11, to call someone a friend of a terrorist is a very serious matter. You also know we are [a bitterly divided country] on many other issues. You know that, sadly, in America, violence is always just a moment away. You know that there are plenty of crazy people out there.

“Stop! Think! Your rallies are beginning to look, sound, feel and smell like lynch mobs.

“John McCain, you’re walking a perilous line. If you do not stand up for all that is good in America and declare that Senator Obama is a patriot, fit for office, and denounce your hate-filled supporters when they scream out ‘Terrorist’ or ‘Kill him,’ history will hold you responsible for all that follows.

“John McCain and Sarah Palin, you are playing with fire, and you know it. You are unleashing the monster of American hatred and prejudice, to the peril of all of us. You are doing this in wartime. You are doing this as our economy collapses. You are doing this in a country with a history of assassinations.

“Change the atmosphere of your campaign. Talk about the issues at hand. Make your case. But stop stirring up the lunatic fringe of haters, or risk suffering the judgment of history and the loathing of the American people—forever.

“We will hold you responsible.”

you can listen to the entire interview on democracy now! with frank schaffer by clicking on this link. clearly he shows us how scary mccain and palin are in this letter, which is coming from someone who was on the lunatic right-wing fringe along with them. he goes on about palin and connects these lunatic fringe groups in interesting, if frightening ways,

But really, over the years, distancing myself from that evangelical background, as I talk about in the book, I’ve come to a place where I really see what Max Blumenthal was talking about in the earlier part of your show, and that is, you know, speaking of the secessionists in Alaska, the evangelical right-wing subculture in this country, particularly the Assemblies of God, by the way, that Sarah Palin comes from, have really already ceded from our union, in the sense of the fact that they have, you know, between home schooling and their own schools, their own publishing, their own radio, their own TV, many times very fundamentally anti-American, waiting for the Apocalypse, waiting for Jesus to take everybody away in the Rapture, weirdly Christian Zionist and at the same time assuming that the Jews will all be killed in Armageddon, when Jesus comes back, as part of their Rapture enterprise.

while all of this is scary–and as i said yesterday i find obama’s complicity in spreading islamophobia and some of this zionist lunatic fringe ideology–it does not mean the answer is to vote for obama. here is what chris hedges had to say yesterday about this:

It is no longer our economy but our democracy that is in peril. It was the economic meltdown of Yugoslavia that gave us Slobodan Milosevic. It was the collapse of the Weimar Republic that vomited up Adolf Hitler. And it was the breakdown in czarist Russia that opened the door for Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Financial collapses lead to political extremism. The rage bubbling up from our impoverished and disenfranchised working class, glimpsed at John McCain rallies, presages a looming and dangerous right-wing backlash….

Lenin said that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch its currency. If our financial disaster continues there will be a widespread loss of faith in the mechanisms that regulate society. If our money becomes worthless, so does our government. All traditional standards and beliefs are shattered in a severe economic crisis. The moral order is turned upside down. The honest and industrious are wiped out while the gangsters, profiteers and speculators amass millions. Look at Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld. He walks away from his bankrupt investment house after pocketing $485 million. His investors are wiped out. An economic collapse does not only mean the degradation of trade and commerce, food shortages, bankruptcies and unemployment; it means the systematic dynamiting of the foundations of a society. I watched this happen in Yugoslavia. I fear I am watching it happen here in the United States.

The Patriot Act, the FISA Reform Act, the suspension of habeas corpus, the open use of torture in our offshore penal colonies, the stationing of a combat brigade on American soil, the seas of surveillance cameras, the brutal assaults against activists in Denver and St. Paul are converging to determine our future. Those dark forces arrayed against American democracy are waiting for a moment to strike, a national crisis that will allow them in the name of national security and moral renewal to shred the Constitution. They have the tools. They will use fear, chaos, the hatred for the ruling elites and the specter of left-wing dissent and terrorism to impose draconian controls to extinguish our democracy. And while they do it they will be waving the American flag, singing patriotic slogans and clutching the Christian cross. Fuld, I expect, will be one of many corporatists happy to contribute to the cause.

This is a defining moment in American history. The next few weeks and months will see us stabilize and weather this crisis or descend into a terrifying dystopia. I place no hope in Obama or the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is a pathetic example of liberal, bourgeois impotence, hypocrisy and complacency. It has been bought off. I will vote, if only as a form of protest against our corporate state and an homage to Polanyi’s brilliance, for Ralph Nader. I would like to offer hope, but it is more important to be a realist. No ethic or act of resistance is worth anything if it is not based on the real. And the real, I am afraid, does not look good.

enough said.

p.s.: i crossed the threshold of 30,000 visits on this blog last night. a nice milestone, though i must add the 53,000 hits i had on my old blog (when this was hosted on blogger) to have a more accurate read on the numbers. i thought it might be a nice moment to share where some of my readers are in the world:

algeria, australia, austria, bahrain, bangladesh, belgium, bolivia, brazil, bulgaria, burkina faso, canada, chile, colombia, cyprus, czech republic, denmark, egypt, estonia, finland, france, germany, greece, guatemala, india, iran, ireland, [that evil zionist state], italy, japan, jordan, kenya, korea, kuwait, lebanon, libya, lithuwania, malaysia, morocco, netherlands, new zealand, nigeria, norway, oman, pakistan, palestine, paraguay, philippines, poland, portugal, qatar, romania, russia, saudi arabia, senegal, serbia, singapore, south africa, spain, sweden switzerland, syria, taiwan, thailand, tunisia, turkey, ukraine, united arab emirates, united kingdom, united states, venezuela, vietnam.

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