The House that Obama Built Is Painted Red
By Tahir Ali

Glimpses of the Neighborhood Party and Candidate Night in Worcester

Worcester : The pundits had been predicting and the GOP's were anticipating, that the mid-term elections will cause another change - their predictions and hopes came true. A change for worse or better, the next two years will tell. But for now we have a Democratic president in the White House, a Republican majority in the House of Representatives (185D, 239R), a Democratic majority in the House of Senate (51D, 47R), and a Republican majority of Governors.

A drastic change from 2008 (House Senate: 59D, 41R  - House of Representative: 257D, 178R). Clearly President Obama will have to play a different game from now on; that of comprising with the GOP to avoid a stalemate, and if not played carefully, face a foreseeable checkmate in 2012.
Whereas, most of the States on the US Map had gone mostly red (GOP presence in H.R), however, Massachusetts managed to retain its blue color. The Democrats hurt at losing Senator Kennedy's seat to the fairly unknown republican Scott Brown were not taking any thing for granted anymore. Lesson learned, a more cautious Democrats have been seriously pushing the GOTV (Get-Out-The-Vote) campaign.

 It was the evening of Friday the 29th and the Coral Seafood in Worcester was jampacked, not as much with patrons but with supporters of Democratic incumbents running for re-elections: Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Lt. Gov. Tim Murray and Congressman Jim McGovern. "We are at a time when we need to be turning to each other, not on each other, and how we lift this commonwealth up, not how we tear it down,” Governor Deval Patrick said in response to the "divisive tactics" his Republican opponent Charles Baker had been using in his campaign trails.
Rashid Shaikh, me and my family were in attendance at the Coral Seafood in order to show the Muslim-American support.
That support came in many flavors. Two days later on Halloween day, Rashid Shaikh had organized a neighborhood party and candidate night for the Democrat Party. Jim McGovern, Tim Murray, Kevin Byrne, candidate for State Rep., State Senator Mike Moore all showed up at the Shaikh residence. Rashid welcomed the special guests, the Muslim community and others that had gathered at his residence. Rashid, clearly jubilant and exuberant echoed his sentiments well as he labeled his special guests as "really good human beings". Rashid recalled when he and others in a cold morning in the nation’s capital, were standing outside in line that wrapped around the Congressman's building, waiting in earnest for tickets to attend the inauguration ceremony for the 44th US President. "The congressman himself came outside and handed the inauguration tickets," Rashid added, "and that's the kind of person Jim McGovern is."

Rashid as well as Tim Murray pushed the GOTV campaign; "the polls indicate that it will be within a margin of error, it's a very close race, and that's why we need you to go out and knock on doors and work the phones," Murray said. Recent polls were indeed showing that the gubernatorial race was headed for a statistical dead-heat.

President Obama recognized the GOTV effort. The day after the elections he thanked the volunteers by phone. I was invited to participate in the conference call, listening to Obama saying, "Thanks to the volunteers out there, you make the phone calls, you knock on doors," he continued, "Think of the ups and down we went through the campaign - keep the spirits alive, transform the spirits into accomplishments." The president apparently disappointed by the House turnover managed to say a few words of encouragement: "I know you are tired, don't get discouraged - I know I can count on you, you know how to change 'yes we can' to 'yes we did' - thank you for the tireless work, and not to give up"
The underlining question becomes how did the Muslim-American vote in the mid-term elections this time and in what numbers. It is suffice to state here that mid-term elections are as important as the presidential elections. The Muslim-Americans who predominantly voted for Obama two years ago - as did the rest of the nation - will really have to work hard and vote in large numbers if they want to keep Obama in the White House for a second term.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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