How Obama won and What it means for Islam?

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD

Epigraph: “Once the world of ideas has been transformed, reality cannot hold out for long.”

“The history of the world is none other than the progress of the consciousness of freedom.”

George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Tübingen University: one of Germany’s most famous and oldest universities.

When George Hegel graduated from the Tübingen University, he was deemed in his final evaluation to be poor in oral exposition, a deficiency that was to dog him throughout his life.  He was called by his fellow students as, ‘the old man,’ who lacked in social skills and could not make a splash in group conversation or speech.

In other words, he was polar opposite of President Barack Obama, who has made his political career on his great oratorical gift.

Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel found his gift in long hours of study and writing.  He changed his handicap into his strength.  “Hegel was the last of the great philosophical system builders of modern times,” says Encyclopedia Britannica, “his work, following upon that of Immanuel KantJohann Gottlieb Fichte, and Friedrich Schelling, thus marks the pinnacle of classical German philosophy.”  Quotes from George Hegel give us insights into President Barack Hussein Obama’s victory and its implications for the future of Islam.

“World history is a court of judgment,” wrote Hegel.  Scores of articles have been written about why Americans judged in favor or Obama, on reasons of his successful second bid and historians may continue to write for decades to come.

Most of the groups that saw increased turnout in 2012 compared to 2008 favored Democrats. And in almost every case, they were judged to be among the less-enthusiastic voter groups before the election.

On the flip side, Republicans had many of the more enthusiastic voter blocs, yet almost all of them turned out at or below 2008 levels.

Hispanic voters, while measuring on the lower end of the enthusiasm spectrum, saw one of the biggest increases in turnout between 2008 and 2012 — much of it due to rapid population growth in that community. The same goes for young voters, who are notoriously unenthusiastic about voting, but came up big for Obama.

Among GOP-friendly groups, married people, seniors and Christians either saw a drop in turnout or remained the same as 2008, despite having some higher levels of enthusiasm. And white people, of course, saw a drop in turnout due to the growing minority population.

President Barack Hussein Obama re-elected for 4 years.

By routing Mitt Romney by 332 to 206 in the Electoral College, Obama joins FDR, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan as the only presidents of the past century to twice win more than 50 percent of the popular vote.

But, what tools did Obama’s election campaign use to pull out this magical trick.Twitter is an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as “tweets.”

Pope Benedict XVI has a million followers in Twitter, Dalai Lama has some six million but President Barack Obama has 25 million followers, who can re-tweet his message, on any given day to millions more.

Ex. President of USA Al Gore, recipient of Nobel Prize for Peace like President Obama has 4 million followers in Twitter.  Obama has more followers to my knowledge than any celebrity, religious or political figure.

Obama will have a big say in the next election as well, even though he himself will not be running.

Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and launched that July. The service rapidly gained worldwide popularity, with over 500 million registered users as of 2012, generating over 340 million tweets daily and handling over 1.6 billion search queries per day.[6][8][9]

In a recent article,titled: Why the Pope and Obama turn to Twitter, published in CNN, Nilay Patel wrote:

Twitter has grown from being an insider back channel for tech nerds into being the insider back channel for the entire world.

It is everywhere at once and everything to everyone: a public broadcast platform, a private messaging service, a way to share photos, a late-night therapy session, a journalist’s best friend. We expect people to be their most honest on Twitter — and that honesty can spark firestorms of controversy.

Since its launch, Twitter has become one of the ten most visited websites on the Internet, and has been described as “the SMS of the Internet.”[5][10] Unregistered users can read tweets, while registered users can post tweets through the website interface, SMS, or a range of apps for mobile devices.[11]

Noam Chomsky (/ˈnm ˈɒmski/; born December 7, 1928) is an American linguist, philosopher,[8][9] cognitive scientist, logician,[10][11] historian, political critic, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor (Emeritus) in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years.[12] In addition to his work in linguistics, he has written on war, politics, and mass media, and is the author of over 100 books.[13]

Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies is a 1989 book by US academic Noam Chomsky concerning political power using propaganda to distort and distract from major issues to maintain confusion and complicity, preventing real democracy from becoming effective. The title of this book borrows a phrase from the writings of Reinhold Niebuhr.

Nearly the entire first half of the book is based on Chomsky’s five 1988 Massey Lectures on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Radio from November 1988 and extends his and Edward S. Herman‘s propaganda model to a variety of new situations. The remaining appendices address criticisms of the work and provide additional detail.

As a genre of political thought, parallels exist between Niebuhr’s “necessary illusions” and the “noble lies” of Leo Strauss, “public relations” of Edward Bernays and “myth making” of Niccolò Machiavelli. Likewise, Chomsky’s analyses in Necessary Illusions represent a refocus on the use of these patterns of power, which he implies to underscore the failure of populations – particularly in a representative democracy – to learn from history in this regard.

The book highlights, how national media in the Western democratic countries creates world view for the masses, which creates distortions in perception of some otherwise very apparent facts.

Plato would make Socrates say in the Republic (7.514a ff.), comparable to that of prisoners of an underground cave, whose unfortunate fate is to confuse reality with passing shadows created by a fire inside their miserable abode and kept in motion by clever manipulators, who in the name of politics, religion, science, and tradition control the human herd.

Twitter and other social media has destroyed the national TV’s and other popular media’s ability to create necessary illusions, as the re-election of President Obama has shown.  For weeks preceding the election, it seemed to me that CNN and other national TV media in USA were cheer leading for Governor Mitt Romney, but, to no avail.

We now have a more leveled playing field.  Where by, any one with a will and team of hard workers can spread the truth.  There in lies hope for the weak, for the poor, for the down trodden, for the have-nots and last but not the least for the religion of Islam, with its 1.5 billion followers, who did not have a voice before.

Since September 11th, 2001, the West has started to learn about Islam.

Hegel said, “The learner always begins by finding fault, but the scholar sees the positive merit in everything.”  As a new learner in the first decade since September 11, the West has mostly learnt about the violent and terrorist tendencies of the Muslim extremists.

But, in coming decades they will come to know a whole lot more about Islam.  About its ethical and just teachings.  About its rich heritage.  About how Europe was found on achievements of the Islamic Empire.  About how even the Christian theology of Thomas Aquinas was borrowed from Imam Ghazali, a famous Muslim theologian.  About how European science was built on the foundation of Arab mathematics, on the basic foundation of Arab numerals as opposed to the Roman numerals, wherein one cannot intuitively even do simple arithmetic.  But, the Muslims will have to show it to their non-Muslim fellow citizens, their friends and acquaintances, through the social media.

In June 2008, Twitter launched a verification program, allowing celebrities to get their accounts verified.[88] Originally intended to help users verify which celebrity accounts were created by the celebrities themselves (and therefore are not fake), they have since been used to verify accounts of businesses and accounts for public figures who may not actually tweet but still wish to maintain control over the account that bears their name – for example, the Dalai Lama.

Twitter offers the members ability to tweet or send messages to every celebrity and political or religious figure, one at a time.

Some of them may actually read it.  I know it from personal experience.

Epilogue

In a recent article in CNN, Nilay Patel writes, “Twitter has redefined the way news is gathered and shared — stories break on Twitter now, not on TV or in the newspaper.”  He adds, “Twitter is town square and a freshman dorm room and an international conference call all at once.”

How can this new found influence of Twitter and social media, serve the Muslims and Islam?

“Mark this well, you proud men of action! you are, after all, nothing but unconscious instruments of the men of thought,” said Hegel.

If researchers and authors have done their work well and put easily readable and interesting articles about Islam online, Muslim youngsters can begin to tweet and share through email and other trust worthy social media, the sun of Islam will rise from the West, sooner rather than later!

There are 30 million Western tourists visiting Turkey every year, some 20 million Muslims live in China.  According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life:

The number of Muslims in Europe has grown from 29.6 million in 1990 to 44.1 million in 2010.34 Europe’s Muslim population is projected to exceed 58 million by 2030. Muslims today account for about 6% of Europe’s total population, up from 4.1% in 1990. By 2030, Muslims are expected to make up 8% of Europe’s population.

The numbers are not small in North America, in USA and Canada.

If enough Muslims start tweeting to non-Muslim friends, the ground reality will change.  Once the world of ideas has been transformed, reality cannot hold out for long.  This is what George Hegel believed and so do I.

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