Thursday, October 30, 2008


5 days left until November 4 and I'm going crazy! My discussions with Egyptians are becoming increasingly pessimistic, especially considering the recent neo-Nazi assassination attempt sting, which was, admittedly, blown out of proportion since Obama's campaign wasn't even informed about it yet.

Most Egyptians I've talked with so far, while optimistically hoping for an Obama win, believe that it will be impossible for him to win because of the fear and ignorance of the American people. I've been emphatically telling them otherwise, repeating that the Americans will pull through and prove them and the world wrong.

This American Life just did a show about the final electoral battle in Pennsylvania and spent a considerable chunk of it looking at the ugly role of racism among Republicans and ex-Hillary supporters there. It was disheartening. Combine that with Al Jazeera's recent piece on racism in Ohio:

It would be marginally okay if this anti-Black, anti-Muslim racism was fueled exclusively by general ignorance. With Sarah Palin using linguistic code-switching to insinuate Obama's exaggerated and false role as terrorist and the recent episodes of angry mob mentality at campaign rallies, it seems like they are inherently fueling this anti-Muslim, xenophobic sentiment. Even McCain's attempt at reigning in the hatred has had backlash--when an angry and confused supporter accused Obama of being an Arab, McCain responded "No, ma'am. He's a decent, family man," as if Arabs aren't decent. If only this was as ludicrous and lighthearted as SNL makes it out to be.

It now seems that the official final advertising push from the McCain campaign is focused on tying Obama to Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism, making him dangerously unprepared for the presidency. A campaign mailer in Florida and this McCain ad, released yesterday, show this terrifying rhetoric.

Don't you love the ominously eery Middle Easternesque music in the background? The scariest thing is that people believe this stuff.

We don't normally write about politics here on our blog. You may disagree with Obama on his policies, but please, do not buy into the serious fear-mongering promulgated by the McCain-Palin campaign.

Let's hope we can prove my Egyptian friends wrong.


  1. I am so sick of political ads. I wish the candidates would both just say what they are going to do, what their policies are, etc, instead of having to be such jerks. I think politics divide our country, rather than unite us. Because the one politician is trying to make his 'followers' hate the other. So, what happens when the other is elected? They aren't respected.

    Anyway, I'm glad it's almost over (ads) and I am way excited to see how it turns out! This will be another close election for sure.

  2. Andrew, I sure hope you're right and the American people do prove everyone wrong... I'm certainly in the wrong state to try to help swing the vote, but I'll make my effort anyway!

  3. I have a joke about this...

    Where did the word "Politics" come from?
    Poli - Latin word meaning many...and
    tics - bloodsucking parasites.

    Politicians don't have a platform anymore (at least not the way it use to be), all they do now is focus on the who can bash who (or is it whom?) the worse. Seems the one who has the worse life is voted in. Mmmmmm maybe I should run (ha ha).

  4. Go Obama! I'm sad to see so many of my friends at church fall for the scare tactics of the McCain campaign. My hope is people will stop being afraid of Obama once he's in office, but I have a feeling the bashing won't stop.

  5. Has it been your experience in Egypt that people have racist tendencies, to one degree or another? They may preach hope and tolerance about political situations that are not their own, but I remember there being quite a stigma against black people there. Maybe things have changed, I don't know. Then again, I'm sure they have "Fair & Lovely" fairness cream in Egypt, too.

    I still haven't decided who to vote for. If it ends up being for McCain, it will be for reasons uninfluenced by his fear-mongering, I promise. :)

  6. Egyptians are quite racist themselves - we were just on a super crowded metro and Rachel started panicking. We happened to be standing by a Sudanese businessman and an elderly Egyptian man. Rachel started pointing at the Sudanese guy and the Egyptian grabbed her hand and reassured her, "It's okay, he's black."

    Egyptians aren't generally happy with foreigners or refugees from anywhere - there are few Palestinians even.

    So, while they do preach hope and tolerance about other political systems, they're busy being the kettle calling the pot black (excuse the pun :) )

  7. This was really interesting, Andrew. Especially the blocked parts I couldn't read because I am on campus.

  8. There are two YouTube videos...that's all I can imagine are blocked...

    Did the filter block some text, too? I'm just curious.

  9. That youtube video was scary. I dislike generalizations and that crossed the line. The comment he made that you mentioned also burns me. I need to find out where I can cast my vote so I can do that....

  10. I agree with Bridget...I noticed there was a ton of white loving in the middle east...hmmm the commercials for skin lighteners, the man on the street who told Jason our son was much more beautiful then his mother because of his blue eyes and blond hair, the other man who threw a fit that Jason married a dark lady and didn't use his Aryan looks to smooch up on every Muslim girl on campus...yeah not exactly the group I'm looking towards for racial harmony. As for the news stories well I guess it just depends on where you live how they focus. Here in Illinois according to every story we hear pigs would have to fly before John McCain could actually manage to pull out a victory. As for myself I will probably reluctantly vote for Obama but I'll be honest people who are crying at his rallies need to get a grip. The second you get that invested you lose objectivity...and there is no such thing as a perfect politician so people pull yourselves together :)

  11. I agree that politics is ugly but this election is not different than all other elections especially when it gets down to the end. American politics has always been prone towards the paranoid. Campaigns have always sought to smear their opponents with incendiary accusations whether they are called Masons, Catholics, Communists, or Muslims.

    What most people fail to realize is the ugliest presidential campaign was not in our century. In fact, John Adams v. Thomas Jefferson was filled with the most mudslinging of any campaign before or since. Yet we look at these two great men as heroes.

    Yes, things are ugly now. But come inauguration day most of the fear mongering will be gone and people will have long forgotten this 24 month campaign. I assure you, life will get back to normal. So whichever candidate you support, it two or three weeks this dark cloud of angry politics will dissipate. Endure.

  12. Obama is a socialist pig and America will be in big trouble if he is elected. The 'fearmongering' you are talking about is actually no more than raising valid concerns about his ACTUAL ties with people of questionable (terrorist) character. At least they aren't hacking into his PRIVATE e-mail account. Journalism is left wing and dead, and I would be fine with having Obama as president if I could spend the next 4 years out of the country like you guys. Unfortunately, we are here and will have to see first hand the backlash of his un-American ideas and strategies. Can you say "Last Day prophecies fulfilled?"

  13. @Anonymous - Let's keep it civil here; "socialist pig"? Please...

    And let's not spread the new McCarthyism of pro- and anti-Americanism.

  14. This is Patrick

    Wow that ad is rediculous, just because obama doesn't go to "talk to iran" with "preconditions" doesn't actually imply that he doesn't already have a set standard of what he will try and accomplish. And the whole abandon all the countries... They need to be able to stand on their own without U.S. support and the mere fact that we are still there is increasing their instability. I'm thinking that the U.S. that I get to live in should declare its stuff as it really is. Imperialistic in nature and deeds when dealing with the middle east. Teddy Roosevelt said "speak softly and carry a big stick" and we can't hide behind that anymore, considering that was dealing with imperialistic countries sticking their fingers into South America.

    Why in the world would we want to continue down the path that most obviously only has one conclusion?