Where Does Everyone Go From Here?

A day or so after the monumental victory of President-elect Barack Obama in the presidential election life still goes on in America.

Those who simply disagreed with the policy positions of Obama are chalking this up as a loss and moving on with their lives.  The racists, the Islamophobes and right-wing nuts (see Freerepublic) are not taking this easy. You see they have thought, well forever, that they had the monopoly on what an American is and looks like. Now a black man with a Muslim name will be the commander in chief of the armed forces and the face of America to the world.

Many of these enemies of Obama will seethe in private and with friends and family. I am sure there are thousands of neighborhood bars throughout America from Staten Island to Simi Valley from the northern suburbs of Atlanta to Orange County full of talk about how America went wrong. Most will just run their mouths in private and are law-abiding if bigoted; but let us not fool ourselves there are going to be those who will turn to extremism and violence in this period.

It is no mistake that an upswing in right-wing violence occurred under the Administration of Bill Clinton. The right was angry and unlike most of the angry left under Bush it was armed, trained and many had military backgrounds. I expect such a thing to occur again although this time with a decidedly more racial tone. This will come from the Christian Identity Movement, Minutemen types, and even neo-Nazis; but while all of these groups can cause death and suffering on a small scale they are incapable of becoming a major threat due to a lack of popular support. Some of these people have the potential to become “dead-enders” meaning instead of seeing themselves as the ultimate Americans because of their whiteness and Christianity they may see themselves as an oppressed group and drop out of the mainstream they once defined. This type of thing has a greater chance of occurring in a bad economy.

My biggest concern, by far, is the widespread existence of right-wing extremism within the armed forces and federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies throughout America. If there is any real threat to Obama I think this is where it will come from. A vast majority of those in these agencies will do the right thing; but there are more than a few bad apples in these barrels and they have been known to step out of line

For the rest of us life goes on. Obama cannot do everything. He has to do his part and we have to do our part. We cannot have the failed “wait for the messiah” mentality that has doomed many cultures to failure. We cannot be utopian. Those who have came promising utopia in the past from the Soviet Union, China,  North Korea, Nazi Germany and even Libya under the Colonel have only succeeded in creating human suffering and misery. Man does not have the power to create utopia. What our leaders have the power to do, if we meet them half way, is the delivery of incremental change and on specific issues make changes that are better for the masses of the people while the society remains imperfect.

In the case of Obama, with a Democratic Congress, we have a chance for real change on issues such as universal health-care, education, fair wages, labor standards, racial justice, saving social security, urban investment, job creation, public transportation, infrastructure investment and much more. This is what can reasonably be done and this should be where our focus is.

For the Muslims out there who will not be satisfied until Obama joins Hamas and sends his daughters as suicide bombers to pizzerias in Tel Aviv you need to quit. We live in America, our families are here, and our political interest should be first and foremost about what is going on here. 

Life goes on. Last night I picked up a guy from the hospital. He was excited about the Obama win; but his teenage daughter had been shot three times in the chest in a drive-by shooting. A firefighter in St. Louis County who stopped to help a disabled vehicle was shot and killed on the same day. What does this tell us? We have to get our shit together long before Obama or anyone can do anything to help us. We have to get right. I have to get right.

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8 thoughts on “Where Does Everyone Go From Here?

  1. Salaam Alaikum,

    “For the Muslims out there who will not be satisfied until Obama joins Hamas and sends his daughters as suicide bombers to pizzerias in Tel Aviv you need to quit. We live in America, our families are here, and our political interest should be first and foremost about what is going on here. We can advocate for a better foreign policy in the Muslim World, and I believe that will come, but it should be secondary to our domestic concerns.”

    As usual, you hit the nail on the head. I’m tired not of Palestine, but of the “But what about Palestine” mentality, people use it as an excuse not to focus on the things we can change.

  2. I was particularly interested in that block of text you quoted as well Safiya. It seems to be in direct contrast to some of the other comments I’ve read. On another well known site I occasionally peruse a commenter felt that muslims should not vote because the candidates have nothing to offer muslims. How do taxes, education, healthcare, employment, and bettering america for your childrens’ future not have to do with muslims? It’s almost like some individuals feel that people elected to US office should cater specifically to muslim wants and demands first and foremost. I really don’t understand the mentality.

    Anyways, Obama has promised a lot. And it is quite obvious he won’t be able to deliver on much of it and he will undoubtedly disappoint me in the future. But as of right now I feel there is no where to go but up compared to what’s happened thus far. And he has obviously been blessed with a large amount of intelligence which has been sorely lacking for the past 8 years. I shall remain optimistic

  3. We live in America, our families are here, and our political interest should be first and foremost about what is going on here. We can advocate for a better foreign policy in the Muslim World, and I believe that will come, but it should be secondary to our domestic concerns.

    I agree and disagree. We can do both hand in hand.

  4. Echoing the sentiments of others here. Muslims whining about Zionism and the like really need to wake up and see what issues are directly affecting their lives.

  5. The tensions between Arab and American Muslims have been exposed much during this election. As we have different concerns and priorities. However one thing that concerns me is this attitude that domestic policy is somehow totally unrelated to foreign policy. If we were not spending billions in defense of Israel we would have much more money to spend in Newark, NJ or Philadelphia, PA. While we have differing agendas and priorities for sure we have a common stake in seeing the foreign policy of our government change. In fact I will go so far as to contend there is even such a thing as foreign and domestic policy. What happens in Ramallah directly impacts New York, what happens in Beijing directly impacts Los Angeles. We have to step back look at the big picture and connect the dots. What I think most of us resent is being exploited for a cause and being given anything in return. Regardless we have to take a stand on principle and not let our emotions get in the way.

  6. Salaam Alaikum,

    I liked Umar’s quote especially, because a lot of the “But what about Palestine”‘s don’t actually know what life in the Middle East (and in other Muslim Majority countries) is actually like. Their problems do not just start and finish at Israel. Living in a democracy, where being change hope for change and work towards it is an amazing thing and we should all be aware of that.

  7. You beat me to mentioning this.
    I think you’re right, Umar, that violence from the far-right rose under Clinton, whether bombing Abortion-clinics or blowing up federal buildings like Oklahoma City.

    I have a strong worry that it will happen again. If they can’t get to Obama (and face it, if nobody could get to Bush, I doubt they will now), then they will hit someone/something else. I don’t think someone from the Timothy McVeigh crowd will target a government building; mainly because after 9/11 they all swung rabidly-pro-America and pro-military (kinda odd to see the dramatic change). Instead, I worry of another Florida-style Dr. Goldstein-of-the-JDL attack. You’re likely going to see a bombing of a mosque/abortion clinic/gay hangout within the Obama term. At least, that’s my fear once the Right regroups from the Obama loss.

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