Thursday, September 01, 2005

Can Everything Be Done Just As Well From The Western White House????

I hate George Bush

ow can you justify how slow our government was to respond to the mayhem in New Orleans? How can you justify how our federal government did virtually nothing to prepare to aid New Orleans even in the face of the fact that an evacuation of the entire city had been ordered?

Should we not have had people ready to get down there to aid these people? To be ready to stop the looting (and the quickly descend into more disturbing lawlessness as people realize there is no one to stop them...the violence, the rape, the horror). To be able to feed the hungry. To be able to care for the sick and injured.

More importantly...shouldn't we have had people ready to get down there to save the children? The dying children. The children that have died from dehydration. BABIES!!!! The child who's mother was on MSNBC showing how the child could not maintain consciousness and was becoming more and more difficult to wake up each time...this child that is dying slowly before his mother's eyes...

I can't deal with it. I'm fighting my testosterone to type the words to tell you that I broke down crying while watching the footage on COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN. I couldn't help myself...just as I can't help those down in New Orleans, I imagine...and that's where the tears start...because if news crews can brave it down to so many sections there and not be shot at...where the hell are the people with the power and authority to save those survivors???????????

Monday, June 20, 2005

Why Am I Sitting Here?

Well...I left Dendrite International about a month ago. It was one of the best things that could have happened to me (even if the parting could have gone better), because Dendrite had become one of the worst places I've worked due in no small part to the manager running my old group. There are so many great people working there, though...good friends of I was finding it hard to stay motivated enough to really dedicate myself to finding a new place to work. Part of the lack of motivation can, also, be attributed to the artificially depressed wages in the area due to a lot of active and retired military that can afford to take lesser paying jobs since it isn't their only source of income.

I normally don't have much of a hard time finding a job when I'm really motivated to find one. Truthfully, that is part of why I'm still sitting here right now.

I'm not that motivated. My inheritance is there in the bank account to take care of me during this time. I don't want to live off of it, but I just can't find any inspiration to jump into a job that I won't I needed a few weeks to try to purge the feelings of disgruntledness left over from my stewing at Dendrite.

I don't know if I want to hang around the Hampton Roads area, either. I've been in southeastern VA for about 3 years now. Nothing wrong with the area (other than the depressed wages in many of my areas of interest), but the only thing in the world that truly tied me to this area was a job I no longer have. I have friends and family in the NY/NJ area. Living in North NJ gives you the whole "city that doesn't sleep" benefits of being near NY with less of the drawbacks. Being a night owl, that's a pretty nice attraction for me.

But it isn't as if my wanderlust is focused only on NJ. I've lived in Chicago and Los Angeles previously and there is a part of me that wouldn't mind trying those places again...or trying a move to someplace I've never lived before and have no friends or family in. It would be interesting, to say the least. A fresh start...just sounds nice right now.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Islam, Voting, and Muslim Electibility

Or "If JFK Thought He Had Doubters..."

Back in the pre-JFK days, the conventional wisdom said an Roman Catholic/Irish Catholic could not get elected to the highest office in the land even if he got everyone laid. OK...I added the laid part. But the sentiment still stands: Catholics were deemed unelectible for the office of the President.

The logic at the time was that Catholics were so beholden to the Pope that we'd become the United States of the Vatican. All decisions would be made based on the Catholic faith in general and the coaching of the Pope specifically.

Of course, history shows us that JFK couldn't keep his dick in his pants long enough to ponder "What Would Jesus Do" let alone hit the Pope up for advice. Though, it shouldn't have taken JFK as an example to disprove the concept; sadly, it should have already been public knowledge that anyone who can be in a position to get elected to our highest office is self-centered and ego-driven. The fatal flaw in democracy within a republic, IMHO, is networking and reciprocal politics (you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours...with the occasional knife being jabbed into said back). Since that flaw was in place well before JFK developed a Boston accent, the concerns of papal influence never should have made its way into common political thought.

Now, I don't know if you could so easily dismiss my theory:

Muslims are very nearly unelectable for any national office...and will remain so for decades.

This is of great importance to me because I happen to be a muslim. Not your garden variety, either: I converted to Islam after being raised in a (not-so-practicing) Irish Catholic family. Being born to that Irish Catholic family, I look more like Larry Bird than Magic Johnson. Lest you miss the point due to ignorance of American sport history, I'm a muslim who happens to be a caucasoid.

Can a muslim win a local election? Sure. It is much easier to have a higher signal-to-noise ratio in such an election (meaning a candidate's message and meaning can play more prominently than just their choice of religion).

Can a muslim win a state election? It is possible...but not probable. The noise dilutes the message a little more here...which hurts their chances of combatting the ignorance about Islam or if/how it might effect how the candidate does their job in office.

A national election? Give me a break. There are so many things already working against any Tom, Dick, or Harry that wants to win an election that throwing in the fact that the opposition will say the muslim prays to the same god as Osama. Nevermind that the opposition likely prays to the same god as Osama, seeing as how God and Yahweh are just some of the many names of Allah. Nevermind that Christians pray to the same god as David Koresh, by the logic many of them apply in drawing comparisons between your average muslim and Bin Laden.

Let's be plain: much of the American public is ignorant of issues that face nation and too apathetic to undertake any research that would cure them of their ignorance, uncover the facts, and lead them to form an educated opinion.

Given that this is a FACT...a harrowing fact, but nonetheless indisputable can a muslim anticipate they will have the opportunity to both dispell the anti-Islam prejudices they will face from voters AND get their actual political message out?

Since I was young, I wanted to serve this country in federal elected office. OK...I wanted to be the President...I was a kid, sue me. In 1984, I was 9 years old. You know what I did in late October/November? I made pro-Mondale signs with my cousin. Part of a school project, you ask? No...somehow, I just wanted to do it and roped my cousin into it. I don't believe we finished our signs until the Thursday after the election. Since no one had the heart to point out it was too late and Mondale already had the snot beaten out of him, we still got to post the signs in our front yards.

When I got to high school, I was a member of our Model Congress and Model UN extracurricular programs. I went after school to work with others who had an interest in the political process. I travelled the country for my passion. This was the only school activity that really fired me up.

Around the same time, I converted to Islam. Shortly after my conversion, I was told that muslims can't be lawyers or politicians because it would be haram (sinful) to participate in a non-Islamic government. I was crushed. I moved my focus on to going to school for Political Science and then getting certified to teach American History to high school students. The thought was that maybe helping to get the next generation of American kids to be passionate about their country and about helping their fellow Americans lead better lifes would be the closest I could get to a life in politics. I said...I was crushed. My inspiration gone, I took a full ride scholarship I had received to Montclair State University and pissed it away. Don't get me wrong; their were many other bad decisions and negatives going on in my life that contributed to it as well, but I didn't have the fire burning in me to push through it all due to the loss of my dream.

I've since learned that whether or not participation in non-Islamic government is haram is a matter still up for debate, with many more seeming to think that it is halal (good) or at least not haram than the opposite. For a period of time, I got excited again. I felt the fire in my belly...the drive to do something. It is a fire that has come and gone.

First I worried that I didn't really fit the profile of a successful politician. Many of the elected officials I've met in my life were veterans or successful business owners. I regretfully missed my opportunity to enlist in the American military, as the only branch I can still join might mislead me on my options and wind up sticking a gun in my hand to have me shoot other muslims (not a desirable position for me). I really don't have a business that I have a desire to start, which would certainly make it difficult to be successful at one.

But no sooner as I put those concerns aside have I been faced with the realization that, as a white muslim who converted from Catholicism/Christianity, I'm about as electable as a convicted pedophile in this country.

Wait...that's a bit of unintended irony there...the Catholic priest pedophilia epidemic didn't cross my mind until AFTER I typed that, I swear.

My brother thinks I have a defeatist attitude. That I'm just killing my dreams before they have a chance to live. That I need to adopt the whole "shoot for the moon and, if you miss, at least you're amongst the stars" philosophy.

But how do you muster the effort and courage to shoot for the moon if you're not certain that your rocket won't explode on the launch pad?