The Voting Dilemma

By Suleiman Salem

41798_492160625506_5940432_nMichigan, USA–As the elections near and people’s arguments escalate into chaotic rambles and justifications for each candidate, we forget those who were affected in the past 11 years in Afghanistan. As Muslims, it would be much easier on us and on our brethren worldwide to vote for Obama. Mitt Romney is a lunatic whose views have changed and flopped more than the number of Cheerios I’ve eaten this morning. He believes Palestinians are a backwards people because of their culture, although to be fair, he was criticized by many Republicans who had a bit of common sense. Romney’s idea of cutting funding to Big Bird and sucking up to Israel prove he has no idea what to do as commander-in-chief. But his views are not the issue here; there is no doubt that I’ll never vote for a Mitt Romney figure, including Romney himself (don’t get me started on Ryan).

The bigger dilemma comes with voting for Obama or not. The problem for Muslims in America is not that Obama is “the lesser of two evils” in the upcoming vote. The problem is that voting for Obama is supporting his views and actions. Obama ordered more than 284 drone strikes in the past 4 years; compare this to the 51 that were ordered by the commander-in-chief junior in the previous 8 years, G. Bush. More than 3,000 innocent civilians were killed in these drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Iraq, and this is merely the official count; who knows what the actual count is? It could be over 10,000 people. There are countless stories documenting these incidents, especially in Afghanistan, by children whose parents were killed, whose friends were murdered, who were separated from all that they knew because of our drones.

So again, how can we support Obama when that leads to drone attacks on innocent lives, Muslim or not? I cannot vote knowing very well that my vote contributed to a drone attack, a child’s death, making more orphans in Afghanistan and less infrastructure than any humane individual would even imagine. It is true that without voting, we aren’t changing the system. The system, however, is corrupt, and our votes aren’t going to help Muslims overseas.

I have not officially decided whether I’ll vote or not, but the idea lingers in one’s mind, wondering – with each and every drone strike – if one took a part in that.

Ultimately, one can still vote on other issues and fill in the Presidential choice as “Big Bird.”


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