October 24, 2012

An Open Letter to President Obama & All the Women Who Will Vote for Him.

Four years ago, I sent you my last (nearly) $200. I was a newly single mom, learning to survive, alone, with my kids.

I believed in you.

So much so that my sister and I waited in line for nearly six hours with my daughter in her stroller, my four-year-old by our sides, so we could hear you speak. (Or not really speak—by the time we got to where you were, you were pretty much gone.)  We heard, perhaps, an echo of you. And then we heard music. Music that we could dance to. And dance we did!

I proudly wore my pink “I’ve Got a Crush on Obama” t-shirt at parties and in pictures, with a huge grin on my face. Even my then two-year-old daughter wore your shirt, proud to look like mommy. My son wore an Obama mask on Halloween and helped me cast my vote for you in November. We were, perhaps, some of your biggest and goofiest fans.

The night of your election, we wept. We clapped and we danced ecstatically.

I was so emotional, so sure of my choice. I was certain that the future would be better. I wrote on our family blog that it was the first time since I was a kid that I could remember feeling proud of my country.

But four years later, those feelings are gone and I cannot with conscience vote for you. In fact, I have thought about asking you for my money back for months. I know now that where the money really counted, it came from the big Corporations, not from broke single moms like me. And it is the broke single mothers around the world that could really use that $200 now.

You have not helped us. The plight of the single mother is no better in the U.S. today. Women on the whole still do not earn equal pay, despite the hype of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

As Jill Stein reminded us in her People’s State of the Union Address:

“One hundred and forty-six million people—that’s nearly one in every two Americans—is now living below or near the poverty level. The stress falls hardest on our most vulnerable and disadvantaged, with the majority of children, half of our elders, three quarters of Latinos, and two thirds of African Americans living in or near poverty.”

Moreover, the plight of women around the world is worse because of our wars “on terror”—the same wars you promised to pull us out of.

Photo: We, the Revolutionaries of this Ummah

As a Muslim woman, I am so tired of seeing pictures of Malala Yousafzai exploited to legitimize American imperialism. Like everyone else I deeply admire Malala. I love her—as my sister—perhaps more than most Americans will ever understand. I weep for her–I weep for all the children who are being maimed or killed around the world for senseless reasons.

What I cannot understand is why we value some lives more than others. Why are our drones killing women and children the world over?

That, I will never understand, or tolerate.

But we are stuck on our “rights.” Mostly reproductive rights.

But what rights come at the expense of another person’s life?

And, I might add that we do not need anyone to grant us the right to birth control or an abortion. As women, we have been sold a pack of lies that benefit Corporate America. Instead of fighting for our “rights,” we should be learning about our bodies. We hold every-single-thing we need within us. But we keep looking outside of ourselves for answers, and that is where we truly become lost.

So, most women, will vote for you no matter what. I know that. You’re the African-American prince we have all been waiting for. The one who supposedly supports women’s rights, too. You embody hope for all of us—women and minorities alike.

And it is not that I think that Romney is better than you—certainly not. (It’s in fact hard to believe that he could even be a viable candidate.) I just don’t feel you represent significant improvement from the Republican Party to merit my vote.

If you were ever truly on the side of women, Mr. President, you would have rallied for your female running mate—Jill Stein—to be able to debate with you instead of being locked to a chair for eight hours. Are we living in a Democracy or not?

Photo: Stan Johnson

It’s now the end of your term. The corporations have won. The one percent has prevailed. And much of the U.S. population will believe that they have won—if you are elected.

But if we look at the facts, instead of the hype that is so often presented to us, the average American has lost, and lost miserably. And as usual, women are the biggest losers.

You are not a stupid man. I don’t even believe you are a woman-hating man. But I do believe you sold out during your presidency. And I have to say, I am deeply disappointed.

Sadly, I no longer feel you can represent me—or the change our country so desperately needs now.

No matter how much we like Michelle, or how beautiful your daughters are, ultimately your loyalty has rested with men in power.

Women have bought your lies just like we buy the lines of a charismatic (but abusive) boyfriend. We’re brainwashed to believe we only have two viable choices in this election. But we hold the power. We own more than 50 percent of the vote in this country. When will we vote for ourselves?

We talk about a woman in office—but where is she? Why have so many other countries managed to have a female head of state—including many Muslim countries—but not our “progressive” nation?

My ballot has already been cast Mr. President. My question to women around this country is: When will you finally make a choice that truly benefits women?

Editor: Lynn Hasselberger

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