American Presidential Elections:
Reflections on Hillary Clinton's Florida Primary "Victory"
(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time!
Taking the Qur'an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It --
And which One Does Not?)
Race for American President: Primaries and General Elections
In American Presidential elections, there are first the Primaries. Then there are the General Elections.
Primaries are spread out over a number of days, weeks and months, all over the 50 United States. They are like "heats" in athletic competitions.
And they consume hundreds of millions of dollars. That is right. Race for American presidency is actually a billion-dollar game.
I call it the greatest show on earth, borrowing an expression P. T. Barnum once used to promote his circus. American presidential elections are no less a circus.
At the end of the Primary season, one candidate from the Republican Party and another from the Democratic Party emerge as the winners of their respective Primaries.
These Primary winners - and any Independents who may be around provided they have lots of money to spend - then go on to fight it out in the General elections, which are every four years, in November.
The 2008 Race: Non-Primary Primaries of Michigan and Florida
The state of Michigan is America's car capital: Detroit. It is also home to one of the largest concentrations of Arabs and Muslims: Dearborn.
Florida is one of America's pre-eminent sun-and-surf states and a haven for well-to-do retirees, many of them Jews.
The National Democratic Party had cancelled all primary activity in Michigan and Florida and consigned their delegates to primary oblivion. This was done way before the primaries actually took place.
And all Democratic presidential candidates agreed to it.
As a result, there was supposed to be no Democratic primaries in Michigan or Florida; no campaigning by candidates; no votes; no delegates; nothing.
Again, all candidates accepted that decision and signed on the dotted line.
Disagreement about dates and schedules between the local and national Democratic parties. The national party showed its displeasure at the state parties by depriving them of the privilege to hold primaries, something the national party had warned in advance it would do if the state party violated party rules.
A Desperate Gambit by the Clintons
Let us emphasize that point once again: All democratic candidates, including Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama, had signed off on this decision by their party's High Command.
But after the ignominious rout of the Clintons in South Carolina, it seems the Clintons needed some positive pictures and words on which to hang their political hat. They got their chance in Florida's non-primary.
For, American presidential elections are as much about pictures and words, empty or otherwise, as about ideas and substantive policy positions.
And then, all of a sudden, in the midst of all the staged hoopla, Hilary Clinton marches into the hall filled with her supporters shouting "Thank you Florida for this victory."
Mr. Barnum would have been proud of the sheer humbug of that staged event.
How desperate was that? And how cheap!
And how infinitely sad!
Easy to say: Told you so.
Easy to say: Given the Clinton history, what else do you expect?
Easy to say: Don't forget, these are the folks who, with a straight face, tried to tell the American people what the meaning of the word "IS" really was.
Easy to say: One more reason not to vote for the Clintons.
Easy to say: It can't be happening.
But when it comes to American presidential elections, don't rule anything out. The memory of a genuine war hero swift-boated into a lying, cheating, cowardly crook four years ago is still fresh in many people's minds.
Clintons Racialize the Race
But after the cynical racialization of the race in South Carolina, and after saying Obama is just another Jesse Jackson-type sizzle in the Black pan, and thereby alerting the White Voter with a wink and a nod whom to vote for, now staging this plastic charade to create word linkage and visual association between candidate Clinton and the word "Victory," is beyond cynical.
It is down right dirty.
It is nothing less than a moral and media hit job on the intelligence and decency of the American people, who absolutely, positively deserve better.
The real question is this: Is this the person America can "trust" with larger, more momentous decisions in future?
Is this the person America can "trust" to heal its wounds?
Or could this be the straw that will break the back of the legendary patience and generosity of the American people to be able to say: NO MORE CLINTON.
Just as the American people -- Black and White; Old and Young; Male and Female; Democrat, Republican and Independent -- said "NO" to the Clintons in South Carolina!
At best, in the eyes of many people, this is the politics of the past, which was predicated on the assumption that the American people are dumb; they are asleep at the wheel; and they don't care.
Toward a New Future of Truth in Politics
The future, however, seems different just as a very different present seems to be breaking upon us. And that future seems to have something to do with truth, honesty and integrity in politics.
The American people seem to have sent out a loud and clear memo saying they are smart; they care; and, this time around, they are wide awake.
Indications are they will send the fraud, deceit and cynicism of the past to where they belong: trash pile of a forgotten history.
This time around, the American people seem to be saying that politicians will have to deal with them truthfully and honestly if they want their votes.
And that is the dawn of a new freedom from the tyranny of lies, make-believe and mind-manipulation that not only America but the whole world has been waiting for.
© 2008 Syed Husain Pasha
Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at]
AOL [dot] com or www.IslamicSolutions.com.