President Obama for another 4 years: Let the rhetoric continue!

Being a master orator, Obama spoke and adoring throngs believed.

Zeba Ansari November 08, 2012
On November 6, Barack Obama made it into the history books one more time. He has been re-elected as president of the United States for a second term despite high unemployment numbers, at a time when the majority of Americans are very uncertain about their futures.

The last time re-election in the face of such dismal unemployment rates was accomplished in 1936, when Franklin Roosevelt took the presidency for the second time.

America is increasingly becoming multicultural and ethnically diverse. In 2008, Hispanics, African-Americans and other minorities turned the tide for democrats in most states, showing overwhelming support for the first black president. The number and, thus, the impact of minority voters is steadily increasing.

Since left-leaning policies are more sympathetic towards immigrants and minorities, democrats have become more competitive in presidential elections. Minority voters have more than doubled, from 12% to 26 %, since Bill Clinton won the elections. They are becoming increasingly enthusiastic about the electoral process and are proud to exercise their right to vote.

Muslim Americans are considered a minority too small to account for much in the elections.  But this outlook changes when we see that about 78% of them live in just 10 states, including two swing states, Virginia and Florida. This makes them a demographic worthy of courtship. Historically, American Muslims voted republican as they leaned towards the party’s policies of social conservativeness. Almost 80% of the Muslim vote went to for George W Bush and not to Al Gore in 2000. The actions of the government during the Bush era, specifically the invasions of Iran and Afghanistan shifted the Muslim vote from republican to democrat.

There are endless discussions in forums, both public and private, about candidates and policies. Earnest political discussions, heavily woven with emotions, dominate most conversations as elections draw close. People choose their candidates and make them their own. Among Muslim Americans, topics like Syria, Iran and drone attacks are discussed along with the economy and unemployment. The common belief is that if an unfavourable policy is supported by the president, a change in leadership will bring about a change in the decisions the government makes about these issues.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.

The American government, as any government in the world, is a behemoth with its own power source. If anyone actually believes that policies are made or abandoned on the whims and fancies of a president, their naiveté is commendable. The machine of governance has been chugging along for centuries. The laws and policies governing the country (and by some extent, the world) are made in annals much higher and people much more powerful than the President of the United States.

Take Obama’s rhetoric on Guantanamo Bay for example. This was one of the main points of his campaign when he ran for office for the first time in 2008. Being a master orator, he spoke and adoring throngs believed. He would be the knight in shining armour who would stride out to Guantanamo Bay and personally put a lock on the doors of the detention facility. He signed an executive order that the facility be closed within the year. This was done shortly after he was sworn in. He even had plans to move detainees to a prison in Illinois. He even mentioned his promise to close Guantanamo as he accepted his Nobel Award for peace.

Four years later, we are exactly where we started.

Eventually, after years of broken promises, people became disillusioned and allegiances started to shift. They start to think that maybe if the president was republican, these aggressive foreign policies would be discarded.

For American Pakistanis, geographically specific policies are more sharply in focus. The drones, raining indiscriminate death from the skies, are cause for great dismay for people of Pakistan. The current government’s policy “counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants”. This is a huge cause for concern, not only for those in the deadly sights of the drones but to humanitarians globally.

Voters start to think that maybe, just maybe, a change in leadership would bring about an end to the drone attacks, among other changes, in foreign policies. But, one of the surprises during the Obama-Romney presidential debates was their allied stance on foreign affairs. To have presidential candidates almost finishing each others’ sentences on matters of foreign policy was astounding. This was more concerning as bi-partisan sentiment is all but non-existent within the American government at this time in history.

This is one of the reasons why people are increasingly feeling the futility of the power of their vote. It seems that no matter which way they turn, they keep ending up in the same place. Young voters are especially disillusioned. An increasing number of Americans decided to vote for candidates other than the republicans and democrats.

According to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), any party receiving 5% or more votes in a general election qualifies for federal funds for the next elections. Voters feel that by empowering candidates other than the usual suspects, they might put the power, truly, into the hands of the people.

Read more by Zeba here or follow her on Twitter @zebansari 
WRITTEN BY:
Zeba Ansari
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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COMMENTS (3)

Yumna Yousuf | 7 years ago | Reply | Recommend Reiterating what has already been mentioned in the comments above, Obama may not be the best but he's definitely A LOT better than Romney. When Bush was given 8 years to put us in the mess we are in, why not give President Obama four more years to take us out of this mess? We all know that change doesn't happen overnight. It takes time, let's be realistic? President Obama has better policies than Romney, who sometimes cannot even make up his mind on what exactly is it that he needs. If Romney would have been elected, the pre-existing gap between the rich and the poor would have worsened. President Obama spoke for minorities; women's rights regarding abortion, gay rights, health care. That's why he still stands as the President of the United States of America. Romney focused more on the WASP which made him lose popularity among the minorities. Bottom line is that President Obama deserves to be where he is today!
Pessimist | 7 years ago | Reply | Recommend What a confusing and pointless article. I do not understand what your point is? He has been re-elected as president of the United States for a second term despite high unemployment numbers Read the reports again. Unemployment has decreased in the Obama administration. I believe it increased by 0.1% in October but in this administration jobs are being added every month, as opposed to the previous administration when jobs were being lost every month. Furthermore the Congress, with a Republican majority, has blocked almost all of Obama’s economic policies, what is he supposed to do?? Then you go on about American minorities and their votes! The minorities love Obama and are terrified of the Republicans (they should be!). You first say American Muslim votes are not of much importance but then spend a paragraph explaining their concerns and what not. Among Muslim Americans, topics like Syria, Iran and drone attacks are discussed along with the economy and unemployment. The common belief is that if an unfavourable policy is supported by the president, a change in leadership will bring about a change in the decisions the government makes about these issues. I don’t know about drone attacks but MOST Americans discuss Syria & Iran. If you honestly think a Republican government will handle foreign policy better than you’re deluded. Obama has not started a new war and that’s his biggest achievement. Romney would attack Iran, arm the Syrian rebels and God knows what else he would do in the name of religious righteousess (sp). One topic I would agree with you is about Guantanamo Bay. However, it’s not easy to close that place and to put the blame entirely on Obama is unfair. I suggest more reading. Young voters are especially disillusioned. An increasing number of Americans decided to vote for candidates other than the republicans and democrats. I highly doubt that, unless you have some statistics. One final thing, are you an American citizen? Your article and your profile fails to mention that. I’m asking because it might add some perspective to your article! Did you even listen to the Republicans campaigning? Obama might not be the best but he is certainly better than those idiots, and THAT'S what the Americans voted for.
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