Yesterday I voted. I suppose its no secret who I voted for as I wrote a previous post entitled “Why Muslims Should Vote for Obama.” (https://asad123.wordpress.com/2008/08/31/why-muslims-should-vote-for-barack-obama/) I didn’t have a pressing reason for voting early, but I like to avoid crowds and long lines.
If I voted on Election Day, I would have had to vote at the Naper Boulevard Library but because I decided to vote early I voted at Naperville’s CIty Hall on Eagle Street. (What obvious symbolism there – a city hall on “Eagle” Street.) But if my objective was to avoid lines, I was not totally successful. When I arrived, there were thirty people ahead of me. An older white pollworker said to someone near me, “Don’t worry. You’re only about twenty minutes away from voting.” That estimate turned out to be pretty accurate.
Luckily I had my trusty iPod with me. I used to have a silver 4 GB model but I updgraded to a jet-black 80 GB unit after nearly filling up the memory of the old one. The track that was playing as I entered City Hall was “FBI and Black Muslims,” a speech by Malcolm X about the federal government’s antagonistic attitude toward members of the Nation of Islam.
It’s interesting to reflect upon the changes in African-American leadership since the 60’s. In nearly fifty years, the African-American community has gone from Malcolm X and Martin Luther King to Barack Obama. Malcolm X, who was later known as Malik al-Shabazz, was pretty radical in his views and argued that blacks had the right to defend themselves from violent segregationists. King was clearly more nonviolent in his ideology but was considered an agitator in his time. Obama seems much more palatable to the mainstream today than his predecessors for several reasons. First, he has always worked within the American legal system. Second, he is actually bi-racial, the son of a white mother and a black father. I think growing up in an ethnically diverse family gives him a broad perspective that allows him to connect with a wide variety of people. Third, the changes he proposes do not represent radical revolutionary reforms but instead gradual, progressive steps. It’s bizarre to me to hear Obama labeled as a socialist for saying that we need to redistribute wealth. The nature of taxation is to redistribute wealth. When income tax is structured progressively, the wealthy pay a greater share of what they earn than the poor. SInce taxes fund hospitals, schools, infrastructure, and other aspects of our society, the poor probably benefit more from them. Also, Republicans are hypocritical to label Obama a socialist while supporting a massive governmental bailout of major banks that represents major federal intervention in the economy. If we really believed in capitalism wholeheartedly, wouldn’t we allow banks to succeed or fail on their own without any intrusion from Washington? The irony is obvious but it seems to fly completely under the radar of Republicans.
For those of you who dislike politics and prefer my lyrical analyses or my poetry, don’t worry. I promise my next post will not be political in nature.