In 2008, Barack Obama could do no wrong. I donated to his campaign. I eagerly anticipated and was ultimately mesmerized by each of his charismatic speeches. I voted for him. I celebrated his victory on election night and stayed up watching his acceptance speech.
Four years later, election season is upon us and Mr. Obama is seeking re-election. I get daily requests from the Obama campaign for donations. I get calls to volunteer on his behalf. I have decided not to give Mr. Obama any of my money or time. More importantly, I have decided not to vote for him. Until now, I have never informed the Obama campaign as to why I ignore their emails and requests and why I will not vote for him again. Inspired by an article I read recently titled "Why I Refuse to Vote for Barack Obama," by Conor Friedersdorf, I thought it would be better to pen a letter to the Obama campaign voicing my concerns rather than just protesting silently. Here it is:
Dear Obama for America Campaign:
I voted for and supported Mr. Obama for US President in 2008. I will not do so again this year. Although I was a political science major at UC Berkeley and while I serve in a government capacity as a Deputy Public Defender in Santa Clara County in San Jose, CA, I am admittedly relatively ignorant when it comes to political matters. Nevertheless, I know enough about Mr. Obama’s tenure as President and am in tune with my conscience to the point that I cannot vote for him this year.
Most troubling to me were the extra judicial killings of Osama Bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki (and his son). My thoughts are generally captured in two blog posts, one titled "OBL’s Death: Batman Justice," and the other "US Government: Judge, Jury & Executioner of Anwar al-Awlaki," I authored shortly after those momentous events were widely celebrated and broadcasted by the Obama Administration. The President’s willingness to assassinate US Citizens without any semblance of judicial oversight or involvement is criminal. The Obama administration’s denial of due process to these individuals, amongst others, is too egregious for me to overlook.
The presidential sanction of the continued operation of Guantanamo Bay and MR. Obama’s signing of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which arguably permits the indefinite detention of terror suspects without trial, further illustrate the president’s disregard for human rights and due process. I cannot continue to support an administration that permits and champions such vigilante policy and the curtailment of fundamental civil liberties.
More recently, I was apprised of the appalling reality of US drone practices in Pakistan as reported by researchers at the law schools at Stanford and NYU. Sickening. While the US decries and combats terrorism, the Obama administration engages in the murder and continued terrorizing of Pakistani civilians with drone attacks. My conscience does not allow me to support the candidacy of a man that promotes, implements and continues these hypocritical and ugly practices.
In 2008, Mr. Obama exhilarated and excited me as a champion of change and justice. In 2012, Mr. Obama terrifies and frightens me as a purveyor of death and terror. I will no longer be deceived by his charisma and eloquence that mask a very scary underbelly. Mr. Obama will not receive my money or time and does not have my vote.
Sajid A. Khan