Time to elect yet another President for four more years. After months of campaigning, rallies and three debates, the presidential election has come down to several swing states and the most important of them all, Ohio – exactly where I am right now.
Several weeks before the first presidential debate and the bombardment of false advertising by GOP candidate Mitt Romney, I decided that I needed to do something, anything to help re-elect President Obama. So with less than a month away, I packed my bags and headed to the most important county, Hamilton, to Get Out The Vote. I knocked on doors, made phone calls, passed out flyers and recruited volunteers.
As an Iranian and an American, I have a lot at stake. Like millions of hyphenated Iranians, we belong to two nations and have learned to always watch out for the day when we might return to our first home. Attachment to Iran is highly potent among Iranian-American communities and is passed down to generation after generation.
As I cast my vote via absentee, my two priorities are the economy and foreign policy. When I graduated in 2008, I was in dismay with the lack of employment offers existing, not only for me but also my fellow classmates. I put my passions on hold and took a job to survive. As the country moved forward with the election of President Obama, 2011 and 2012 alumni who shared my interests were all fully employed. I became hopeful again, a dreamer with passion.
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What matters to me at the end of the day is America’s policy vis-à-vis Iran. America’s aggression towards oil wealth hit an all-time high with two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. As heartbroken as I was with the loss of lives, I was on the edge with a possible strike on “axis of evil”-Iran. Then came the savior, Barack Hussein Obama with policies of hope and unity, with an “extended hand, for unclenched fist”.
But Iran does not need an “unclenched fist”, what it needs is to be left alone for a while to figure out its path to hope and unity. The 2009 Iranian presidential election was a step forward, but we ended up with the repeat of America’s 2000 presidential election; do you see the irony? We are not that different after all.
What is at stake right now for me as an Iranian-American is the ability to see part of myself not crushed and destroyed by the military intervention if Mitt Romney is elected. His so-called “Red Line” is the same propaganda tactic Bush used to invade Iraq. It is propaganda of fear and illusion seeking sympathy votes based on lies for Israel, the so-called only ally in the Middle East. Study after study has been done with placing Iran as nowhere close to developing a nuclear bomb, not even close to nuclear technology let alone a bomb.
With extended sanctions placed on Iran’s economy, Obama is no angel. He is no savior, but he is the better of the two evils. What is at stake this election night is the policy of war vs. the policy of sanctions/diplomacy. The difference between the two candidates on Iran is the difference, between black and white. It is the difference of a policy of understanding Iran and understanding Israel’s needs. The margin of difference is wide and visible. It is up to us, voters, to vote smart.
The views reflected in this article are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Your Middle East.