Saturday, January 5, 2008

American politics, some thoughts on the smear campaigns

Generally, I don't speak or write much on Politics, especially American Politics, as I recognize that people have different, and often, very strong emotions about it. There is no need to antagonize anyone about things which are beyond my control, however I have now come to see that this was a wrong approach.

Last night, I watched a PBS program which detailed the smear campaigns that Political parties and their paid agents wage. It actually showed, among other things, how these agents attempt to spread false information about an opponent, and still attempt to not be traced. Among these false rumors, we have

[A] "Barack Obama is a "secret" Muslim". In fact, Obama is a Christian, who regularly attends Sunday Church Services. It is true that he has Muslim ancestry, but he is not a Muslim. In any case, that clearly is meant to appeal to those who hold onto fears based upon ignorance and religious prejudices.

[B] John McCain has an "illegitimate Black Child". In fact, he has an adopted Bangladeshi daughter. This is really below the belt. Instead of focusing upon the ideas and aspirations of the candidates and their parties, one finds out there nothing but this sort of ugly comments. This also shows that Race, despite the many gains over the last 35 years, still acts as an important issue in Politics. This also shows that Racism is still alive and well. This is one reason why I believe Obama himself will not win. Please don't take this post as an endorsement for one candidate over another, these are just my observations.

The information on the attacks on McCain can be found at

[C] Postcards were reportedly sent out claiming to be from Mitt Romney, wishing everyone a happy holidays and containing Mormon texts in support of Polygamy [ Romney himself a Mormon, although the Mormon church has not endorsed Polygamy for 100 years]. Certainly these were not sent out by his camp, but was rather a clever way of embarrassing him.

What came to mind when watching this program was the Islamic teachings regarding Slander, backbiting, as well as false testimony. Those found guilty of slander-especially as it relates to accusations regarding adultery and the like, are actually liable to prosecution and physical punishments, as well as the fact that their testimony would never be allowed in Court again [Qur'an 24:4].

Frankly, with the political environment like this, I have no confidence in voting. I am not advising anyone to not vote, I am just stating an emotion. If opponents cannot be decent and human enough to focus on the issues of importance, what about the average voter? The Politicians want us to vote for them, and will go to great lengths to convince us to cast our vote for them, by appealing to our fears, emotions, and by slander whenever they can get away with it. It's not honorable, certainly not "Christian" behavior, and should be discarded.

All comments are welcome.



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