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     Volume 6 Issue 34 | August 31, 2007 |

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Writing the Wrong

Queen of Denial

Sharbari Ahmed

Hillary Clinton and Barak Hussain Obama - rivals from the same camp.

Right now the heat is stultifying and the American people are preoccupied with squeezing in at least one more beach day until the end of the season, slathering on the sun block and consuming hot dogs at an alarming rate. Denial, a skill Americans have honed into an art form is in full swing. What are we trying to deny? That the lazy, non-committal days of summer are over and that a mind numbing cold that will force us to take stock, and possibly a stand is a mere three months away.

I, for one, am really adept at denial. For instance, I know that there is no viable candidate in the Democratic Party, and that the foreign policies of the front-runner in the Republican party, Rudy Guiliani, make George W. look like Gandhi (see his latest article in Foreign Affairs magazine where he disavows a Palestinian state and repeatedly compares being a mayor to being the President), but have chosen to cross that bridge when I come to it. That is if the bridge holds out considering all our money is being sent to fuel wars on foreign lands, leaving our infrastructure ill-equipped to handle bridge collapses and hurricanes.

I have been voting for eighteen years but my initiation into the democratic process was a heady one, making the subsequent Presidential elections acutely depressing. The first time I was able to vote, I was inspired to do so and actually inspired by the American system. I have not felt that way since. That was the year that William Jefferson Clinton appeared on the national political scene. He came on MTV, played the saxophone while wearing dark sunglasses, and was utterly colour blindsome jokingly refer to him as our first black president--and suddenly the sun burst through the clouds. My generation, x, was suffused with the belief that change was possible, that our leaders would, for the first time in thirty years, reflect the generation that was coming of age. Clinton seemed like a real person, complex yet sincere and self-madeall very appealing traits for the leader of a wealthy nation. He was the American ideal of Manifest Destiny in action, the son of a single mom, raised in a trailer park in the impoverished south, who then became a Rhodes Scholar and eventually one of the most powerful humans in the world.

Republican candidate Rudy Guiliani.

I have since re-assessed our former President. I never cared about his penchant for plump, goofy interns, but when he bombed an aspirin factory in Somalia and then proceeded to sit back and allow the Serbs to ethnically cleanse Bosnian Muslims, Croatians and Albanians with impunity, I found myself fast losing that inspiration. Yet Clinton was more of a leader than the ones we have now and seemingly more compassionate. His other half, Hillary lacks her spouse's artlessness. One can practically taste her fierce desire to be the first woman president and that to me, is off putting. It indicates to me that the interests of her nation will take a back seat to her personal ambition. If she had any integrity she would step down and help search for and cultivate a more viable candidate. Don't get me wrong; I would love to see a woman elected, just not this one. Hillary is a consummate politician, much more so than our current leader, but for me at least, it is precisely that quality that makes her untrustworthy. The misogynists and chauvinists in the voting pool will claim that a woman isn't tough enough to be president, that she lacks the will to, say drop the right bomb at the right time. Where Hillary Clinton is concerned I doubt that will be a problem. She is an opportunist and whatever will ensure that her legacy will be intact and that the most influential of the voting public is mollified will be the position she will take. The reason I believe this is this: after 9/11 when she was campaigning for the senate she received intense pressure from the Jewish community to return money raised by the Arab American communityand she did, prompting at least a few Arab Americans to turn Republican. For me, personally, it was an incredible slap in the face. I had naively assumed that her attitudes would be more in line with her spouse's who had (at least to the naked eye) energetically tried brokering a peace accord between the Israelis and Palestinians. But I think the deciding factor concerning Hillary for me was that she supported the war in Iraq along with a dismaying number of Democrats, former Presidential candidate John Kerry included. Now, of course, she is back peddling like crazy, calling for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq and condemning the Bush administration for their duplicity.

And Obama. Barak Hussain Obama, the young man who brought even his most bitter rival, Hillary to her feet at the last Democratic National Convention with a stirring speech that hearkened back to Dr. Martin Luther King and John Kennedy. I listened to him, moved by his account of his African childhood and his dreams of an American utopia and was excited by the prospect of watching this young, erudite and passionate man maturing into a viable presidential hopeful. In, say ten years! Not two days later, which is what his entrance into the presidential arena felt like! I took Obama's appearance at the convention as a harbinger of things to come, when memories of the bleak Bushian winter have passed and the multi-cultural masses rise up and bring the US to its senses.

Obama is not ready to sit in the Oval Office as evidenced by his erratic vacillating on key foreign policies. In the course of nine months he went from making vague sweeping statements on the Oprah Winfrey show about everyone holding hands and bringing America out of conflict to announcing that he would not hesitate to bomb Pakistan if she did not behave. Naturally, as a result Hillary, (gasp!) Has now edged ahead in the polls, ensuring, in my opinion, that we are looking at another four years of a Republican white house and one that may be even more imperialistic, and arrogant than the current one.

At this moment, my friends, I see no warm, welcoming light at the end of the tunnel. No beacon to guide us and lead us out of this terrible chasm that we as a people have been languishing in. The generation that is coming of age now is apathetic and filled with ennui, more concerned with heiresses and starlets who should not be allowed to operate moving vehicles than in the future of our great nation. I am, for the first time, actually afraid to vote, knowing that a false move could mean leading into office a person who will sink the world further into war and despair (by capitalizing on the terrible tragedy of 9/11 for instance and his supposed leadership at the time). The American people, coming out of the stupor of summer, are ill prepared to play chess with death, and that, I fear, is precisely what we will be forced to do this November.


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