Saturday, July 31, 2004

Nader: A party pooper?

Although Minnesota voted for Gore in 2000, it is one of the "battleground" states this year meaning that it can go either Bush or Kerry. If you remember, Gore got the majority popular vote but not the electoral vote (Minnesota has 10). Minnesotans have always been known for progressive politics and is home to one of the strongest and most organized peace movements in the nation. That is why I'm scared that people here will vote Nader & allow Bush to win. Although I support Nader's progressive platform, I don't think this is the time to play egoistic politics. It is crucial that Bush is defeated & Nader is not helping. I had a huge discussion with one of my Muslim friends who'd rather vote for Nader than Kerry & had a hard time explaining how that would help Bush win as this study indicates. Some reports suggest that right-wingers are contributing to his campaign because they're so happy he is endangering Kerry! Even the liberal former presidential candidate & Ohio Representative Kucinich (my choice) is asking people to support Kerry. I'm urging all of you who can vote not to vote Nader - support the Green & Independent parties on a state level where they have more leverage. And for people who said that there was no difference between Bush & Gore in 2000, I think we all realize that we wouldn't be in Iraq if Gore were president. The scarier part is that he may have handled 9/11 intelligence differently & that tragedy may have never occurred.

One of my main goals this Fall is to work with several friends and activists in Minnesota to make sure that Muslims & Arabs vote. Many of them who are citizens don't vote or have traditionally voted for Republicans. Why? Because the Democratic Party supports abortion and gay rights. Although I harbor the same sentiments, I'm urging Muslims & Arabs to look at the bigger picture. By the way, Dick Cheney's daughter,
Mary, is a lesbian, so it is very unlikely that Bush is going to go far ahead with the gay amendment. He's just trying to woo his conservative Christian friends for the election. Also, in 2000, Gore had chosen Lieberman as his VP candidate. I have nothing against Jews, but he is an extremely conservative pro-Israel senator & that's why about 70% of Muslim & Arabs voted for Bush.

The Arab American Institute and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have some interesting statistics on what Arabs & Muslims are saying about the elections. Although most are leaning towards Kerry, they think he needs to woo the Muslim community more, considering his brother, Cameron, is a converted Jew & recently visited Israel. I'm hoping the Muslim and Arab vote this time will make it loud and clear to both parties that we're here to stay & it's time they listen to us. But for now, I have a lot of work to make sure I get this population to the polls on Nov 2!


Friday, July 30, 2004

Well done Kerry!

I have to admit, I didn't think John Kerry had it in him to rally people, but he gave a great speech last night. His opening line, "I am John Kerry, and I'm reporting for duty," was brilliant. I have my reservations about Kerry, but I do believe that Bush needs to be defeated. Looking at his valor during the war, his anti-war activism on his return from Vietnam, his closeness to his family, I do believe he is a principled person unlike our current President. His daughters & wife have more to contribute than Bush's! He covered a lot in 45 mins & managed to look strong and confident - I think Kerry is the best candidate to attract moderate Republicans & Americans given his military service & political record. I also appreciated him reaching out to all faiths & quoting Abraham Lincoln saying, "I want to pray humbly that we are on God's side." There were about 46 Muslim delegates to the convention this year and an Imam recited the benediction on Tuesday - way to go!

I'm also glad to see Vietnam War veterans being honored as they should be. They have made great sacrifices and were mislead just like the soldiers in Iraq were led to war under false pretences last year. A reporter from the Minnesota Public Radio made a great comment about a war that divided the Democratic Party in the 60's is uniting it thirty years later. It goes to show that wars are ugly & the wounds they inflict take a long time to heal.

Polls all over are suggesting that 80-85 % of voters are locked in as either Democratic or Republican - it's the 15-20 % of "swing voters" who are undecided and will determine the election. Many of them want to see Kerry take a stronger stance on Iraq which he has not, so there is a fear that those voters may vote Bush or Nader. Unfortunately, about 50% of Americans still trust Bush on Iraq & the "War on Terrorism"! I do give Kerry credit for suggesting that Bush's war was all about oil in the Middle East & that he won't have ties to the Saudi Royal family! I hope he can get the UN/Muslim countries to support him if he wins, but it looks unlikely as this
article suggests, but there's always HOPE...

The Convention has definitely lifted my spirits about the election & I will do whatever I can to help get Kerry & Edwards elected. I have to say that the highlight for me was
Barack Obama's speech on Tuesday night. He is running for the Senate in Illinois & it looks like he will become the first Democratic black male senator in the US Senate - about time! The only downside was the way the protesters were caged in behind barbed wire outside the Fleet Center. They had credible grievances & should have been allowed to speak their minds.

I'm sure the Republican Convention next month will be as glamorous although I wonder if they will top the 100,000 balloons that came pouring down last night!