Why Muslims and Arabs should vote for Trump. Trump’s loose rhetoric has provoked Muslims and Arabs into an unprecedented level of activism. But that activism will probably disappear if Hillary Clinton is elected president. Clinton represents a continuation of the status quo, where governments officials (Republicans and Democrats) have lied to Arabs and Muslims about equality and justice. But the benefit of Trump is that Arabs and Muslims will continue to be more and more active after the election in demanding their rights, rights that have been denied to them. It’s just possible Trump might respond to that post-election energy and change, whereas under Clinton, things will remain the same.
By Ray Hanania
In politics, what often seems logical is actually not what is in your best interests. Worse, the choice is often not between who best represents your interests, but rather who is the least likely to harm your interests.
You may not like Candidate A, but Candidate B might be worse.
The bottom line is the end result, not the emotion of the moment.
Yet, for many Muslims and Arabs, and other ethnic groups that feel insulted or disparaged by one or the other candidate, the anger is a reflection of the moment and a distraction from the issues that should be weighed in deciding who to support.
The truth is that Muslims, and especially Arab Muslims and Arabs in general, have been victimized and have suffered at the hands of the ruling establishment in this country, under both Democrats and Republicans. Failing to change that system means that things will not improve, especially for Arab Muslims and Arabs in general.
Muslims are angry with Donald Trump because he has publicly proclaimed in his rhetoric that he would ban all Muslims from entering the country.
Actually, what Trump has actually said is that he wants to ban Muslims from entering the United States until the country can develop a better system to distinguish between: those Muslims who are seeking to import violence and terrorism into this country, as some have done; and the majority of Muslims who are peace loving people who come here believing in the fundamental precepts of American Democracy.
The political debate from activists on both sides has distorted the claim with some hoping to energize rightwing supporters who fear Islamic extremism to recommit to Trump. Trump hasn’t just shaken up American politics. He has turned the Republican Party upside down.
In winning the Republican nomination, Trump has divided the Republican Party. Some Trump strategists and some of his supporters fear that losing far rightwing support from GOP leaders who have attacked Trump like Texas Senator Ted Cruz and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush could cost Trump the election.
Arabs don’t understand politics … they allow their fuses to be lit on fire and then their emotions drive them to defeat … so they rally against Trump … when the real enemy is the establishment that is cutting our legs right from under us
Trump isn’t great, but he represents something that Clinton doesn’t represent, uncertainty … and for Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims dealing with uncertainty is better than the certainty of not being able to deal at all under Clinton
On the other hand, Clinton supporters are hoping to capitalize on Muslim anger against Trump to strengthen support for Clinton’s candidacy. In the past, many Muslims have voted Republican because they identify more closely to several key conservative issues that have to do with family and religious belief. But in this election, polls show most are planning to vote Democratic.
The choice seems obvious. Muslims should support Clinton, right?
Muslim voters should support Trump.
First of all, no matter who wins, the situation in America for Muslims will not change substantially.
Muslims will continue to be discriminated against in American society. Despite the words cautioning against bigotry and racism and discrimination from political leaders like Clinton and others in both the Democratic and Republican parties, discrimination against Muslims is at an all time high.
There is even a structured stratification in the bigotry against Muslims that is driven by the political interests of American politicians in both the Democratic and the Republican Party.
Leaders in both the Democratic and Republican parties have openly embraced Muslims, speaking out forcefully against bigotry.
But their words have not been matched by actions. Their rhetoric has been empty and often driven by political considerations. One of the biggest political considerations is Israel.
To navigate this issue, American politicians distinguish between Muslims that are Arab and Muslims that are non-Arab. To the average person, this may not make sense until you understand that the majority of Muslims are non-Arab. In fact, only about 26 percent of all Muslims in the World are Arab or of Arab origin.
(In the U.S., there are about 7 million Muslims, and only 22 percent are actually Arab. There are about 4.5 million Arabs in America, and about 65 percent are Christian Arabs.)
The majority of Muslims are Indian, Asian, Pakistani, African and even European like Bosnians.
American politicians want the support of non-Arab Muslims, but they distance themselves from the interests of the Arab Muslims so as not to offend Israel or conflict with the blind American subservience to Israel’s needs.
Another good example of how Arabs and Muslims are discriminated against is in the refusal of the White House and Congress to give Muslims and Arabs equal status in the important U.S. Census. The Census specifically recognizes more than 30 different ethnic groups, but Arabs and Muslims are unidentified and overwhelmed in the fog of lost identity.
Why is being recognized in the Census important? Because in America, federal funds in the hundreds of millions of dollars are provided to groups that the Census recognizes based on their populations, concentrations of their populations and identities as minority groups experience discrimination.
By not including Arabs or Muslims in the Census, Arabs and Muslims do not receive these fund considerations.
Still, you maybe asking how does it help to support Trump, whose rhetoric is perceived as being anti-Muslim, and not support Clinton, whose rhetoric is perceived as being sympathetic to Muslims.
It’s about the end result.
What is American politics really about? Is it about the ability to express your views freely and openly without consequences?
Or, is it about managing the benefits that you, as an American taxpayer deserve?
If it is just about screaming and yelling, and venting your emotions, you mind believe Democracy is just a process of free speech, which is important.
But, if you are a taxpayer who contributes to this society as much as every other non-Muslim or non-Arab does, and ensuring that you get the same equal and fair treatment in terms of benefits, services, promotions and representation for your group in this society, then the end result is really where you should be focused.
If Hillary Clinton is elected president, the truth is nothing will change for Muslims, especially for Muslims who are Arab.
Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party say they oppose Trump’s ban on Muslim immigration, but that is not entirely truthful. They oppose Trump’s ban on most Muslims, but are behind harsh measures that have singled out Muslims from certain countries like Pakistan and also who are Arab for harassment and discrimination.
The driving force is Clinton’s support for Israel. Clinton, like her husband former President Bill Clinton, has been a champion of defending Israel at the expense of Arab rights, particularly Palestinian rights.
In 2000, just before his administration ended, Clinton worked with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak to force Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to accept a peace deal based roughly around the principle of two-states in which the Palestine State would have a suburb of East Jerusalem (Abu Dis) as its capitol, with access to East Jerusalem, but rejected any discussion or compromise on the issue of the right of return for millions of Palestinians who were forced into exile when Israel was created.
It also negated all Arab claims against Israel including claims on land and lost property. In other words, while Jews who lost land and property during World War II have been permitted to seek justice through the International Courts, Palestinians would surrender their rights to file lawsuits against Israel to receive compensation for lost lands or possibly even the return of those lost lands.
Still, why would you support Trump over Clinton?
If nothing above convinces you, consider this.
Trump’s lose rhetoric has galvanized Muslims to an activism that is unprecedented, especially Arab Muslims. Trump’s rhetoric does not distinguish between Non-Arab Muslims and Arab Muslims.
If Trump is elected president on November 8, Muslims will not only remain active in demanding justice, equal rights and an end to bigotry and discrimination, their activism will increase. They will become more vocal, they will be more energized, and they will especially become more involved in the political system.
Most Muslims might run for Congress on the anti-Trump platform.
In the best case scenario, Trump might be forced to reconcile his rhetoric with the civil rights of American Muslims.
But if Clinton is elected president on Nov. 8, the emotions of Muslims will subside. They will feel that they have achieved parity, equality in America as Americans, when in truth that is not the case.
Non-Arab Muslims will continue to be favored by Clinton – whose husband’s foundation has been extremely close to non-Arab Muslim nations like India. Arab Muslims will continue to be excluded by the government. The energy of the majority of Muslims will subside leaving Arab Muslims to be the victims of continued hate filled racist policies, as they are today.
For Arabs and Muslims, the truth is there is no difference between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.
Both parties will do anything to satisfy Israel at the expense of Arab rights.
Clinton and other Democrats have mastered the art of “Happy Talk,” offering empty words and promises intended to “sooth” critics in the American Arab community. They know if they can make you feel better, your anger, emotions and energy will subside. They do that with “Happy Talk.” Empty promises. Lies.
As a senator, Clinton supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003. She supported Israel during its repeated bombings or Gaza and refused to hold Israel accountable for the killing of thousands of children by Israeli forces during repeated invasions and wars against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. She supports the continuation of the embargo around Gaza. And she has denied Palestinian rights, although she has claimed that she supports the “two-state solution.”
As Secretary of State, Clinton made Israel’s wellbeing the priority in developing American responses to the violence in Syria, and also the American policies confronting Iran.
But under a Trump presidency, the issue of discrimination against Muslims will remain a major issue, more so than it has during the past 30 years – remember anti-Muslim bigotry didn’t start with Sept. 11, 2001, it just got worse that day. It was always bad dating back to the 1970s when police agencies spied on all Arabs and maintained files on American Arab activists, like myself, a military veteran who served during the Vietnam War.
Electing Trump as president means that Arab Muslims and non-Arab Muslims will become one unified voice in America. And it is even very possible that Trump will actually do what all politicians do after an election, and break their election promises.
A President Donald Trump will be more likely to listen to the demands of American Muslims, Arab and non-Arab, than a President Hillary Clinton.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Arab community will be stronger, more active and even more effective in seeking and achieving equal rights in this country under the hostility of a Trump administration, than they would under the “happy talk” and misleading lies of Hillary Clinton who represents a continuation of the status quo.
This election is about change. Changing a government system that is unfair to American Arabs and many Muslims. It is about empowering the American Arab community to overcome the internal squabbles to focus on achieving true results.
American Arabs have not achieved equality in this country. Divisions in our community and the empty rhetoric of politicians who claim to care about us have softened our resolve.
A President Donald Trump could helps us invigorate that resolve to fight for what is our, an energy that will disappear under Clinton.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and political columnist of more than 40 years. You can reach him by email at email@example.com.)
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