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Why I’m Voting for Barack Obama
Amer Zahr
Amer Zahr
Monday, November 5, 2012 - 2:18 pm (10 Comments)

Four years ago, I voted for Barack Obama.  And I’m doing it again tomorrow.  Why?  Well, first of all, he’s black and Mitt Romney is white.  You might ask, “What does that mean?”  Good question.  Well, black Americans know more about discrimination, struggle, and the nuances of living in this country.  Really rich white guys like Mitt Romney, although they are usually very nice people, just don’t know what it’s like to be a victim of prejudice.  They why they think it’s OK to say things like “binders full of women.”  And that’s why they can’t represent me.

Also, if you watched the second debate, where Obama and Romney walked around a lot, you learned that Obama struts, and Romney waddles.  I’ll take the strutting president.

Oh, and my favorite show when I was growing up was “The Cosby Show.”  So as far I’m concerned, middle-aged black men have a sense of humor, undeniable rhythm, love jazz, are well educated, and are extremely kind-hearted, loving fathers.  Also, they secretly eat junk food whenever they have the opportunity.  If that does not sound like a president, I don’t know what does.

Of course, I and many other Arab-Americans who voted for him in 2008 ended up a little disappointed.  As it turns out, Barack Obama is not secretly a Muslim.  Bummer.

But as I look around, the reasons to stick with him scream at me from every corner.

Since Barack Obama got elected, the number of hate crimes against Muslims and Arab-Americans has increased dramatically.  This summer, in a span of eleven days, seven Islamic houses of worship were defaced from Illinois to Rhode Island to Missouri, where a mosque was burnt to the ground.  In Wisconsin, a white supremacist killed six worshippers at a Sikh temple, most likely because he thought they were Muslims.

This kind of stuff didn’t happen when George W Bush was around.  In other words, before Barack Obama became president, white supremacists and Muslim-haters thought everything was going just fine.  So I’m voting to stick with Barack.

Since 2008, many politicians and commentators (almost exclusively on the right) are freely displaying their Islamophobia.  Michelle Bachmann tried to brand Hillary Clinton’s top aide as a traitorous spy simply because she is a Muslim.  Herman Cain said he would not appoint any Muslims if elected president.  Xenophobic congressmen like Allen West and Peter King are being championed by the Republican Party.  Right-leaning organizations are running subway advertisements equating Islam with savagery.

This kind of stuff didn’t happen when George W Bush was around.  Before Obama came to town, the right-wing Islamophobes thought everything was going just fine.  So I’m voting to stick with Barack.

When Barack Obama was running for president in 2008, he was attacked for having a “Palestinian friend.”  Last year, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Palestinian culture was infused with “resentment and hatred.”  Newt Gingrich called the Palestinians “invented.”  And he didn’t mean a good invention like the seatbelt… he meant a bad invention like Farmville.  Settler violence against Palestinians is on the rise, and hate crimes by Jews against Arabs in Israel are occurring lately at an alarming rate.  Mitt Romney, during a fundraising trip to Israel, said that Palestinians are living in poverty because “culture makes all the difference.”  He has raised a record amount from Jews living in Israel, all while garnering the implicit support of Benjamin Netanyahu.  And Netanyahu, by the way, seems to be losing his mind, going to the United Nations and holding up a drawing of a circle with a line coming out of it.  “This is a bomb.  This is a fuse.”

This kind of stuff didn’t happen when George W Bush was around.  Before Barack took over, right-wing American supporters of Israel and right-wing Israeli prime ministers thought everything was going just fine. So I’m voting to stick with Barack.

Last week, a poll conducted in Israel found that 80,000 American citizens living there voted absentee in this presidential election.  Of the 80,000, 85% voted for Mitt Romney.  So, just in case I needed another reason, I’m voting for Mr. Obama.

Barack, you don’t always make me happy.  But as long as white supremacists, right-wing Islamophobes, and Benjamin Netanyahu think you’re leading America straight into disaster, you’re the guy for me.

* Amer Zahr is a Palestinian American comedian, writer, professor and speaker living in Dearborn, Michigan. He is also the editor of "The Civil Arab."


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