Picking Sides in Politics

The dichotomies of American politics have resulted in a number of American Muslims “picking sides” and throwing vitriol in the other direction. Personally, I don’t have a side to pick–which is representative of the prophetic sira where the prophet ﷺ, when presented with old tribal rivalries on who gets to place the black stone in the Kaaba, chose a middle path. Different tribes even dipped their hands in blood together, vowing to fight together to the death against the “other.” Rather than picking sides, the prophet ﷺ was the rational, thinking. logical one who found a middle way that everybody could agree upon.

I think that this is the ideal that American Muslims should strive for. We have the Truth, and we cannot compromise on it. Because both parties misalign with our unshakable Truth, we cannot cast our lots entirely with one side, since the result will be promoting falsehood. What needs to change are the individuals that make up America, one by one, in a grassroots fashion. When hearts turn, the nation will turn, insha’Allah. This happens by every person making a small change–convincing one person to change their mind on an issue, for example. Specializing in certain things, like foreign policy or economics, is important to make an impact. Study one issue in politics and master it, then you’ll be well-equipped to effect change. Be sensible and don’t compromise on what you know is true, but be open minded to change your mind when presented with convincing facts that don’t contradict our din.

Some advocate forging alliances on certain issues. For example, Muslims may side with the Left when presented with Islamophobic policies that threaten our rights. Perhaps this is useful in emergency situations, though it leaves us vulnerable and “reactive,” as the progressive Muslims argue. On the other end, aligning with them wholly may lead to compromising certain aspects of our faith as aggressive elements within the Left push to force, for example, LGBT values down everybody’s throat, or promoting the “secular liberal democracy” AKA “liberal world order” abroad through interventionism which, as the world has seen, leads only to disaster and harms Muslims and other innocents overseas. Big, authoritarian governments don’t leave a good taste in the mouths of Muslims. Not to mention a number of other qualms with the Democratic party.

Yet siding with the Right is also a scary predicament, considering how Islamophobic the rhetoric has been, unquestionable support for Israel, the various concessions to the super rich, and deregulation of industry which hurts the environment and native populations.

One thing interesting to note is that it seems like Muslim voters in Florida may have got Bush Jr. elected in 2000, where tens of thousands of Muslims voted for Bush Jr., a state he won by a margin of 537 votes, which won him the election. The question must be asked: do we really know what we’re voting for? The answer seems to be “no.” We have no idea what these people are going to do when in power, and they’ll happily lie to the public to get elected. We cannot predict the future. Yet not voting may leave us vulnerable to manipulation, since nobody would care to represent us.

It’s a tough choice that doesn’t have a clear answer as the future itself is only clear once it passes. The only true, long-term solution would seem to be to influence American popular opinion via moderate, educated, orthodox Muslims getting involved in political dialogue, which is the “uphill road,” so to speak. So far, it seems like most popular Muslim political voices are simply acting as liberal mouthpieces who know both very little about Islam and even very little about America, akin to a typical college campus liberal more than an astute, orthodox Muslim with their own rational views and positions rooted in Divine revelation. Then again, does the American public even care about what an orthodox Muslim has to say anyways? Aligning with the Democrats is the fastest way to get on TV or even open up the chance to get elected, but doing the right thing appears to be a long, grueling, slow, grassroots process that doesn’t sound as appealing as the quick fixes.

Research shows American Muslims’ views are also shifting Democrat, especially with the 2nd and 3rd generation:

Many analysts thought conservative Muslims and Republicans shared common views on issues such as homosexuality and the role of government. The 2011 Pew survey showed that Muslim-Americans have grown “considerably more accepting of homosexuality” since 2007. On the role of government, the survey found that 68 percent of Muslim-Americans preferred a bigger government providing more services over a smaller government providing fewer services.

“So not only do they switch parties and now are voting Democratic, but they’re also adopting some of the policies and positions and ethics” of the Democratic Party, McCaw said. “Traditionally, a number of immigrants from the Middle East or South Asia are more socially conservative, and there was a place for them in the Republican Party. But I think as people grow and develop in America, [they] definitely change their views and preferences over time; and more importantly, their children grow up here and they might be voting different than their parents previously had.” 

Source: VOA

“Moderate” is what I hope we all should aim for. But “moderate” doesn’t have its own party, really. So moderates are stuck in the middle until we find a solution to this two-party system. Meanwhile with so many Muslims leaning Left, it almost seems hopeless to expect any significant change to occur in this country short of a miracle. Perhaps we should just focus on raising quality Muslim families and educating ourselves and our children properly, and accept that our influence on politics is likely to be minimal as the signs of the End Times inch nearer.

والله أعلم

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