By M4L Staff
For the 2012 presidential elections, and for all other elections, Muslims for Liberty (M4L) takes the position that voting is useful only if a person can place a vote knowing that they are contributing to the promotion and preservation of peace, justice and liberty. This is an ethics-based approach to voting. If a person cannot faithfully place a vote that contributes to these principles, then it would be better to abstain from voting.
In the context of the current American political landscape, M4L does not support the voting methodology of “lesser of two evils”. Firstly, this methodology falsely assumes that there are only two options (i.e. the Republican-Democrat paradigm). Secondly, this methodology effectively acknowledges the endorsement of evil (such as war, injustice, etc.) and runs contrary to the Islamic principle of “amr bil ma’roof wal nahi a’n al munkar”, which means “advising others to the common good, and enjoining others to refrain from known evils”.
Voting in favor of a particular issue or candidate means that you are formally registering your cooperation with and approval of that issue or candidate. It is not something to be taken lightly. Therefore, any candidate who contributes to war, injustice and oppression is not deserving of a vote from a principled Muslim. Allah says in the Qur’an: “Help one another in righteousness and piety, and do not help one another in sin or transgression.” (Chapter 5, Verse 2)
The Republican and Democratic elite are equally responsible for the perpetuation of things like war, drone bombings, a paranoid police state, pre-emptive prosecutions, bailouts and government-corporate partnerships. All which result in enormous injustices. Therefore, M4L does not endorse either the Republican or Democratic nominee for president.
M4L National supports all avenues that have a common goal of promoting the cause of liberty. Each state/regional chapter of M4L is free to endorse the candidate or method that it views as most appropriate for that chapter. For the 2012 American presidential elections, M4L National recommends any of the following for its chapters and for Muslim Americans as a whole:
» Vote for LibertarianGary Johnson (or any other third party in line with our principles)
Gary Johnson is the presidential candidate nominated by the Libertarian Party. As former governor of New Mexico, he has a proven record of balancing a state budget and vetoing government over-reach. His positions are clearly anti-war, anti-Patriot Act/NDAA, anti-foreign aid to Israel (and other countries), and anti-Federal Reserve. He also has a record of defending the rights of Muslims and advocating for the preservation of civil liberties. Gary Johnson is expected to be on the ballot in almost all 50 states.
» Join the write-in campaign for Ron Paul
Ron Paul’s popularity and appeal has created a movement of people committed to his philosophy and ideas. Ron Paul has a 30 year congressional record of opposing government aggression, over-reach and injustices. Some people who supported Paul in his presidential campaign have pledged to a Ron Paul write-in campaign in Novevmber.
Check your state’s election rules for write-ins. Some states (such as Georgia) do not allow write-ins unless that person is registered as a write-in candidate.
» Write-in a person you think is most worthy
If you cannot faithfully vote for a 3rd-party candidate or for Ron Paul, then you can write in the name of someone you think is worthy of the presidency. This can be part of a serious effort of supporting an alternative candidate, or it can be a statement of principle which expresses your dissatisfaction with all the candidates. You do not even have to put the name of a person. “Nobody”, “None of the Above”, or “No Confidence” are all legitimate options for principled voters.
Join the Vote for Nobody Campaign. This does not mean inaction or disengagement from political discourse and debate. Rather it is a strategic decision to abstain from supporting unworthy candidates, or to abstain from participating in a broken political process. The non-vote is also a principled position of not registering your consent to be governed by a corrupted political system.
A person can channel the time, energy and passion that would otherwise be spent on voting or campaigning, into something more productive like getting involved in activism or advocacy for a certain cause. Volunteering to do charity work or community service is another option.
M4L takes the position that voting is not an obligation or even a civic duty. The majority of “get-out-the-vote” campaigns mindlessly tell people to vote without ever exploring how principles are compromised or why the political process may be an insufficient solution to peoples problems. What defines a good citizen is not the extent of their participation in the affairs of governance (in this case voting). But rather a good citizen is defined by good character, charity and voluntaryism.
It is hoped that the above recommendations will challenge the Muslim community to think more critically about elections and the American political process as a whole. The first step in breaking free from the stays quo is making a concious decision to not participate in it. We are in no need to be on the winning side of an election or to supposedly have our vote “count”. What we need is for our people to stand up for principles that are in line with the philosophy of liberty and with our Islamic teachings. These are principles that should not be compromised for the sake of inclusion or for fear of repercussions.