Posted on October 31, 2014 in Countdown
This is our last countdown before the midterms and we just want to take a moment to remind you to #YallaVote. Voter turnout in minority groups is supposed to be a big factor in this election, and could make a difference in several key states. This season has seen hindrances to voting from restrictive voter ID laws to scare-tactic billboards aimed at minority groups. But we’ve been bringing you news about the issues and candidates that our community cares about and now it’s up to you to turn out the Arab American vote! For information on where to vote in your state and the candidates that are up for election, visit our Yalla Vote homepage.
We all know candidates trip over their words once in a while, and with 2016 hopefuls making the rounds so early, we’ve seen plenty of slips already. At a rally for Democrat Martha Coakley in Massachusetts this week, Hillary Clinton remarked “Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.” Unfortunately for Clinton, the comment fueled commentator that have been painting the candidate as out of touch with America’s working class due to her wealth. In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie told Maine Nurse Kaci Hickox to “get in line” if she planned to sue him for keeping her in a 21-hour quarantine after returning from West Africa. Christie argued that he ordered Hickox’s quarantine to ensure that she did not come to the United States with the Ebola virus, thereby protecting the public safety of American citizens. Christie’s comments reflect a particular sense of insensitivity that has gotten the governor in trouble in the past. If Christie and Clinton are hoping to run for President in 2016, then they should be more mindful of comments that may come back to haunt them later on down the road.
Thinking of politicians saying the wrong thing – in a move that didn’t shock us at all, Rep. Peter King hopped on the fear-mongering wagon last week following Wednesday morning’s shootings at the Canadian parliament. During an interview with NewsMaxTV he warned viewers that “right now you have ISIS telling their people in Canada and the United States to carry out these attacks.” The congressman was quick to conflate Muslim communities with terrorists and extremists insisting that the U.S. needed to “go all out with surveillance” and that “we have to find out what’s going on in those mosques. He noted that the NYPD used to do just that until the “morons” at the New York Times, Associated Press, and ACLU “went after them.” Right. Because defending civil liberties is moronic. We’re going to have to disagree with Congressman King on this one.
Tunisia’s election commission declared today that the secular Nida Tunis party won 85 of the 217 available seats in Parliament, with the Islamist Ennahda party following with 69 seats. Most importantly, the election results represent the second genuinely competitive and peaceful elections that Tunisia has held since deposing of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011. Tunisia’s smooth transition between governments was best reflected when Ennahda leader, Rachid Ghannouchi called Beji Caid Essebsi, the leader of the Nida Tunis party, to congratulate him on the elections results. Analysts and observers are placing the recent elections within the framework of a battle “between enlightened “democratic” secularists and backwards Islamists,” but we think that fails to appreciate the true significance of Tunisia’s elections. We believe it’s important that the global community recognize that Tunisia managed to hold these elections in spite of growing discontent with the country’s economic climate, domestic terrorist attacks, and a general lack of support for the Ennahda led government.
The Israeli government announced this week that it would move ahead with plans to build 1,000 new housing units for settlers in East Jerusalem. The U.S. criticized the plans, stressing that it would make taking up future peace talks more difficult. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki implied at a briefing this week that the construction could have larger repercussions, stating, “Israel cares about their place in the world – if they want to achieve peace there are actions they will have to do.” While not quite as direct as calling Bibi a “chickenshit,” she gets her point across. This new round of criticism from the U.S. – both official and not-so-official – makes one thing clear: we need less talk about how rocky the relationship is and more action.