Democrats: Stop Sacrificing Your Muslim Voters on the Altar of “Pragmatism,” Or Your Tears Mean NothingPhoto by Sean Gallup/Getty Politics Features Hillary Clinton
The Democratic Party is on the verge of either death or reinvention death, but today the pale realization is that their elaborate, bumbling campaign has developed into a sweltering nightmare that’s come knocking at the door—a nightmare by the name of Donald Trump. An air of melancholy has since wrapped itself around all those who invested not only their votes but their futures in the election of Hillary Clinton, and yet, though their anguish is palpable, so is the frustration on the part of minority groups who for so long have been asked to kneel before the butcher’s block to make way for candidates—only to be sacrificed for the sake of pragmatism.
When members of the Democratic National Committee ushered former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg towards the convention pulpit with a sea of wild applause, there were Muslims who could see the painful reality—that the Democratic Party, specifically the Clinton campaign, would be openly courting those who helped the surveillance state close tightly around their communities. Bloomberg, who supported the New York Police Department’s program which “dispatched plainclothes detectives into Muslim neighborhoods to eavesdrop on conversations and built detailed files on where people ate, prayed and shopped,” appeared before a crowd of enthusiastic Clinton supporters to call on Americans to put political disagreements aside “for the good of our country” and make the “right [and] responsible choice” by electing Clinton.
As the months crawled by, Clinton used every opportunity where the subject of Muslim-Americans was presented on a national stage to talk about homeland security and counterterrorism efforts, further normalizing the caricature of the Muslim as a foreign instrument, only useful when commodified or serving as a hireling of the security state. Muslims should “be part of our eyes and ears on our front lines” according to Clinton, during the Presidential Town Hall in early October. Reacting to this rhetoric, Laila Lalami, author of The Moor’s Account, tweeted: “I’m a Muslim and, just once, I’d like to hear candidates talk about me neither as a terrorist nor as eyes and ears on terrorists.”
Despite having expressed sheer unwillingness to see Muslims as existing beyond the paradigms of terrorism and Islamophobia, Muslim-Americans mobilized an electoral force on the side of Clinton, with over one million registering to vote, according to The U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations. The group’s “One Million Voters” campaign “had surpassed its target, more than doubling the number of registered Muslim voters in America since the 2012 presidential election.”
The world that Trump will inherit come inauguration day has not been merciful to those who straddle the intersections of race, gender, and poverty—he will come into possession of record-high deportations, a hyper-militarized border patrol, an ever-expanding global war on terror, god-like surveillance powers; a world that has long been terrifying for those across the country who are discarded and forgotten as soon as their ballots are counted. Obama’s “disposition matrix” will soon be handled by a man who has a licensed name and image. In the hands of Democrats, these war powers were necessary, even merciful, but now they’ve made even the most unabashed chicken-hawks wriggle. Trump, despite what fantasies the liberal commentariat have spun, is no outlier; this is the face of America that the pundit class has attempted to exile to distant history, and he’s come rapping at their window.
As people begin to mourn, they’ve offered words of comfort to those most likely to be impacted by what policies Trump’s administration will lend support, and produce, but there is a thread of bitterness that accompanies professions of fear on behalf of other communities, especially when so many concerns have been dismissed for being ‘untimely’ or ‘divisive.’ If liberals do not internalize and reevaluate this monumental failing, then their tears and expressions of solidarity are all for nought.
After all, if the material fundamentals of what affects these communities remain an inconvenience to you, then why are you crying if not for yourself? What purpose does your declaration of camaraderie serve if there is no reconsideration of your failing tactics and the bumbling political ideology that accompanies it? The communities that you claim to stand with cannot continue to bleed out for you, and your candidates, no matter how much you’d like that glass ceiling to break. If we’re to build anything against energized right wing populism, then our concerns cannot be uprooted—we cannot continue with this waiting game. Your pragmatism is killing us.