VOICES | As a Somali-American My Vote Also Counts


The stakes are too high for me not to vote. As a new American whose native land is in flames because of my adopted country’s ill-conceived policies, by the both the current and preceding administrations, I need to vote.

More than that, I am mobilizing my community to take part in their civic rights. We need to elect the candidate who cares about our issues as Somali Americans: a practical balance between security and our civil liberty, the economy, refugee family re-unification, and the stabilization of Somalia as part of foreign policy.

Like many Americans, I am fascinated with Sen. Obama’s professorial articulation on the issues particularly his plan for the welfare of the middle class and poor. However, he is yet to address my core issues, as does Sen. McCain. Both candidates have laid broad strokes on what they will offer if elected to office, as a result I am not swayed either way. I will continue to study the candidates and their platforms before casting my vote on the 4th of November.

Sept 11th: Profiling Muslims

How would either candidate establish a balance between protecting the country and our civil liberties? Following terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 American, American-Muslims in particular, have had their civil liberties compromised. I would be the first one to agree that there could be situations where profiling would be appropriate, I am concerned that the practice has become the normal way for law enforcement to treat Muslims.

Immigration – Family re-unification
What are the candidates approaches to ease the lengthy process and backlogs associated with the refugee family reunification program? Currently, it takes about 5 years from the time one submit an application to the time their family is finally granted a visa. Neither candidate has addressed this issue.

Somalia: The 3rd Front of the war on terror
For a long time before the lucrative project of the war on terror found its way into Somalia, Somalis have been suffering in the hands of very cruel and unruly Somali warlords who have killed, looted and raped many Somalis. However, what Somalis had to endure under these unruly warlords cannot be comparable to what they have to endure under the U. S. sanctioned Ethiopian occupation. Ethiopia with the support and guidance of the current U.S. government invaded Somalia in violation of the African Union and UN Charters, and Security Council resolutions 1724, 1725 and 1744.

In just few months, over 100,000 were killed, countless others injured, and over 1.5 millions displaced and are on verge of starvation. I want to know how candidates would end the crisis without killing more innocent Somalis or abandoning altogether.

Economy – Reasonable Tax hike/other ways to stimulate
We are under a constant threat of layoffs and economic hardship. We are worried about our savings and what this means to the future of our children. Understandably, life changes will be required of Americans, to this end we are willing to sacrifice percentage of our net pay.

Most importantly, I would like to know how candidates would raise taxes on businesses without jeopardizing jobs or decommissioning businesses or provide tax cuts without compromising other necessary infrastructure such as construction and repair of roads, bridges and hospitals. How do candidates propose to achieve this?

Opinions expressed by Mohamed Hassan are his own and do not reflect the opinions of Mshale.