Obama Won and Nothing will Change: Reactions from Cairo Egypt
I am an American living and working in Cairo, Egypt. Unfortunately I was not able to cast my vote. Despite THREE attempts at registering for my absentee ballot and several email exchanges, I never received my ballot. Believing in my country, I thought it was user error on my part or perhaps I had applied too late (6 weeks in advance). My worse fears were verified when I heard from eight other American colleagues and neighbors, here in Cairo, that they too did not receive their absentee ballots.
We can only hope that it was government inefficiency and not a deliberate act to stop us from voting. On second thought, does it matter which it was, we were not able to exercise our democratic right to vote. The American system still has lots of problems.
No ballot for me, but I was certainly not left out when it came to soliciting funds for campaigning. I have been receiving anywhere from 3 to 8 emails per day from various individuals, political entities, pacts, and parties asking me to contribute to various election campaigns. Each one had a sense of URGENCY about it – that if I did not contribute all could be lost. None of these emails contained content as to how things might be better for me or America if I was to contribute – NO – just a plea to contribute to the ongoing fundraising competition between Obama and Romney. What seemed to matter most was — who raised the most money — monthly, weekly, daily and even hourly.
Out of frustration, I began to answer the emails: “Are we Americans supposed to BUY our President?”
What kind of democracy is based on how much money you can raise and spend on a campaign? Can this really be called a democracy when corporations can donate unlimited amounts to presidential candidates?
Man do we need campaign finance and media reform immediately!
If we don’t reform, we run the risk of loosing our democracy entirely.
Despite it all, I am glad that Obama won, mainly because I cringe thinking of how things could have changed under Romney, making things even less democratic. I’m fed up with the BS from the Republicans condemning the Democrats for “big government” — Has everyone forgotten about the Federal Agency of Homeland Security —- built by the Republicans under GW Bush — the LARGEST government agency in the history of the USA. Tell me now which party is making government bigger?
And what about the enormous Federal Budget Deficit? Has every one forgotten that after eight years of President Clinton (Democrat) the US government had the LARGEST SURPLUS in its history. GW Bush (Republican) followed, and after eight years in office the US government had the LARGEST DEFICIT in history. So which party makes bigger government and overspends? The Republicans.
Don’t get me wrong, I am no lover of the Democratic Party, I just like the Republican Party even less. In fact, to me, the two parties have become so similar that one could say we have a 1.2 party system in the US. Not even —- a 2 party system.
So we Americans, and the world, have four more years of Democrats and Obama.
I am hoping that Obama will be REALLY BOLD during his second term and make the changes that he has been talking about. I am hoping he will stand up to the corporate interests, the military industrial complex and special interest groups and do what is best for the American people, the world at large and our environment.
I even have day dreams that one day soon Obama will stand before the world and say “As the commander and chief of the US Armed Services I command all our American troops to come home. We no longer need combat troops, we only need peace keepers. I have decided that we no longer need to go to war, but rather we need to spend the money at home on our schools, health care, our roads and our damns, our infrastructure and our people, yes our American people. I think it is time we exercise diplomacy in dealing with other nation states. It is time we turn our perceived enemies into allies by helping them with what they need, job creation, independent food creation, schools, teachers, housing and much more. WAR is passe. I reject the notion that war is good for the economy. We will make PEACE PROFITABLE! As for the corporations which make billions from making military hardware (i.e. Lockheed Martins, Bechtel) we know that you will not loose such contracts without a fight, so I say to you, we will continue to give you the large contracts, but we ask you to utilize your technical expertise to make new weapons — weapons for peace — such as mobile health clinics, mobile school units, mobile water desalinization and purification plants, alternative forms of energy formulation, cures for cancer and much more. We ask you to use your enormous creative energies and technical expertise to invent and produce products that will help people’s standard living increase and help in healing our Earth. We are fully convinced that you can MAKE PEACE PROFITABLE.”
This is my dream.
So when it was announced early this morning in Cairo that Obama had been re-elected I began to ask the Egyptians around me for their reaction.
Ahmed, my trainer at the gym, said “Yes, I am happy for Obama. Romney does not understand us in the Middle East and he doesn’t know about Islam. At least Obama knows a little about us.”
Ali, the door keeper, said “I don’t think it will change anything, for either one. America does not understand us. America does not care – only about what is best for America.”
Suzie, a Coptic Christian student, said “she did not believe that the American President can change anything about US Middle East relations because no matter who is President, America will always side with Israel.”
Person after person, told me that nothing will change, that they had given up hope that America will ever be a fare broker in regard to Israel, or that America will ever treat the people of the Middle East and especially Muslims with dignity and respect.
Egyptians don’t believe propaganda easily any longer. They have awoken from a long long slumber. They are aware and awake.They question everything now. They see no reason to have hope in American foreign policy that will effect them. They have seen torture and death and felt the sting of American tear gas in their eyes. They have witnessed the American Administration’s continued support of their puppet Mubarak even when the Egyptian people had spoken, in the millions, against him.
Year after year, decade after decade, young Tunisians and Egyptians watched as America and the EU continued to support Bin Ali in Tunisia and Mubarak in Egypt even after young Tunisian and Egyptian revolutionaries lost their lives, limbs and eyes for the cause of democracy, justice and freedom. These brave young people in Tunisia and Egypt have made the ultimate sacrifices. American propaganda, no matter how slick, will not be swallowed whole by Tunisians and Egyptians ever again.
There were no celebrations in the streets of Cairo. In fact, it was just another day in Cairo with people paying little or no attention to the news that Obama had been re-elected. Everyone seemed to know about it – but the general consensus was “NOTHING WILL CHANGE.”
I HOPE OBAMA PROVES US ALL WRONG.