November 2 is a challenging day for Americans in general and for Kurdish Americans in particular. As a minority without international representation to safeguard its basic human rights, the Kurds always hope for a radical change in national and international politics. As members of a non-partisan organization, the Kurdish American Education Society, we should avoid as much as possible, public endorsements of any candidates; however, we would like to highlight a few relevant issues for the undecided voters in this election.
It seems that President Bush is concerned about the spread of the fundamentalism as the contemporary threat to western democracy. He compares the religious fundamentalism of the Middle East with the fascism of Western Europe during the World War II and communism of the Soviet Union. Since those obstacles of the West have been eliminated, he seems determined and willing to risk American lives and resources to eliminate this contemporary threat with all the means at his disposal, with the help of the world if necessary and alone if needed.
Senator Kerry, on the other hand, seems to be more considerate and less determined in a proactive approach in dealing with the threat of religious fundamentalism. He is worried about the consequences of the war and about alienating the international community. He hopes to be able to share the burden of the war with other UN members. However, he seems to ignore that many members of the international community are directly or indirectly involved with the promotion of terrorism and fundamentalism.
There is also the view of Mr. Nader to consider. His worries include “poverty, discrimination, joblessness, the troubled conditions of education, environment, street and suite crime, budget deficits, costly and inadequate health care, and energy boondoggles.”
To deal with these issues, he advocated a Jeffersonian style civic rebellion in his article, Democratic Revolution in an Age of Autocracy, published in March of 1993 in Boston Review, which was beyond reproach; but today his views are out of touch with the potential threat facing the world in the troubled Middle East whose rulers only understand the language of force!
Regardless of whom we vote for, this land of immigrants, innovators, and pioneers remains unique. The American democracy seems to be self-regulating; it catalyzes extreme changes internally as we as internationally; once changes are made, and the society is accustomed to them, the country returns to its baseline to prepare for further challenges.
Independence from the Great Britain, abolishing slavery, promoting women's equal rights, and defeating fascism in the West and stagnant communism in Eastern Europe are among some of the major achievements of this unique country. In its way to defeat a major intolerant hurdle, the religious fundamentalism, and to promote change in a very troubled region such as Middle East, America deserves all the support it needs.
If for no other reason at all, at least for the symbolic practice of our own democratic rights, we ought to vote on November 2, 2004.
Kamal H. Artin, MD, is from the Kurdish-American Education Society in Orange County, California.