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As Americans, we have become indoctrinated to believe that a Republican or Democrat are the only candidates who have a chance of becoming President. That mentality has led us to a “choosing of the lesser two evils,” in the opinions of many. This is such a problematic philosophy and one of the reasons that we, as Muslims, are in this current circumstance of confusion and uncertainty.
These past few months, many Muslims have been jumping on the “Feel The Bern” bus while completely ignoring Sanders’ voting record. As a candidate running for the Democratic nomination, Bernie is still beholden to the Democratic Party, just as President Obama was; remember how much we loved him before he took office?
Countering violent extremism policies will still go on, Muslims will continue to be spied on, and Muslim countries will still be droned. Before you all start screaming, “You’re wrong!” and “Bernie’s different!” and ask, “How do I know this?” Remember this – history repeats itself.
Sure, Sanders has vocally come out against the Syrian and Iraq war. Yet, when it came time to put his vote where his mouth is, he voted in favor of the Syrian airstrikes and voted in favor of the appropriations bill to fund the Iraq and Afghanistan war. He also supported NATO’s bombing of Kosovo in 1999 that killed between about 530 civilians and resulted in one of his staffers to resign in protest.
Seriously y’all, let’s take the blinders off and look at these politicians voting records. Let’s move away from the notion of just voting for candidates based off of what they say.
Okay, you’re probably asking, “But what about his views on the Israel and Palestinian conflict?” Unfortunately, it’s just the same as any mainstream liberal. He believes in a two-state solution, but his voting record tells us a different story.
Remember in 2014 when Israeli soldiers deliberately targeted hospitals and U.N. shelters and killed thousands of civilians? The US Senate, including Sanders, unanimously voted in favor of supporting Israel’s right to defend itself.
At a town hall meeting, when a woman asked why he refused to condemn Israel’s actions, he erupted in rage by screaming: “Excuse me! Shut up! You don’t have the microphone.”
Sanders, just like Hillary Clinton and all of the GOP candidates, are bound to the military industrial complex.
Remember when Sanders supported a $1.2 trillion stealth fighter that was a complete failure? Or when he persuaded Lockheed Martin to place a research center in Burlington and then obtained 18 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets for the Vermont National Guard? Or how about while he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont, protestors rallied outside a plant because it was manufacturing Gatling guns to fight socialists in Central America?
So, is he really the better candidate, or will he carry on Obama’s foreign policy? Sure, he may be slightly better than Trump or Cruz, but why have Americans overlooked non- Democratic or GOP candidates? Many are saying they want to vote for Sanders because he’s the lesser of two evils.
But what about Green Party candidate, Jill Stein?
Here are just some of her views on the issues according to ontheissues.org:
- “End Israeli apartheid occupations and illegal settlements.”
- “Fix and end the system of racism and end police militarization.”
- “End persecution of government and media whistleblowers.”
- “End Patriot Act; it surrenders freedoms in name of security.”
- “Edward Snowden is a hero for exposing mass spying.”
- “Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were illegal.”
- “ISIS grows out of chaos that we created in Iraq.”
- “Stop economic sanctions and cyber-attacks against Iran.”
- “TPP attacks our basic national sovereignty.”
- “Incarcerating poor & minorities has become big business.”
- “Bail out the students instead of bailing out the banks.”
- “Establish basic right to free college education.”
- “Move school decisions from national to grassroots level.”
- “Standardized tests are misused; they hurt students.”
- “Provide a legal path to citizenship for immigrant residents.”
- “Pay liveable wages, not just minimum wage.”
- “No economic barriers to quality college education.”
- “Fight against climate change instead of fighting for oil.”
- “Moratorium on GMOs until they are proven safe.”
- “Half-million in foster care means system is dysfunctional.”
- “Current food subsidies drive system towards FrankenFood.”
- “Restore shorelines, deltas, forests, and grazing systems.”
- “No government policing of the internet.”
- “Transform from criminal drug system to public health system.”
- “Death penalty is ineffective, and also barbaric.”
- “Address community violence with more mental health services.”
- “Right to affordable housing: expand rental & home assistance.”
Sure, these are just her views and don’t mean much, but on paper, Stein is morally the better candidate.
We need to get out of the mindset that just because someone isn’t running under the Democratic or GOP nomination, they’re going to lose. Change happens when we rise up.
In all honesty though, my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters, let’s move away from the notion that one Presidential candidate is going to save us. We need to start relying on ourselves. Get involved locally in politics to make changes within. Become the citizen you want to see in office.
If you don’t want to get involved in politics, then at least stop choosing the lesser of evils and start taking back the political process.
It’s not a “mindset” that makes third party voting impractical, it’s math. Read up on voting systems (Google “first past the post”) and you’ll understand why. There is zero chance of any third party candidate winning this election, and very rarely is there ever a chance in a system like ours. And I’m not talking about corruption or anything, simply the mechanics of a majoritarian representation voting system rather than a proportional representation voting system. It’s perfectly understandable to feel disenfranchised by that because in such a system it actually works against you to vote your conscious if your conscious point to a third party candidate, because you will be increasing the chance the person you least like will win. There are other ways to set up voting systems, but this is what we’ve got. Please understand we are all in the same boat, and a protest vote won’t change it.
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