The Shameless Commodification of Muslim Life at the DNC

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The Shameless Commodification of Muslim Life at the DNC

The Democratic National Convention was a carousal of performance—besides a heartfelt rendition of “What The World Needs Now Is Love,” attendees listened to a mob of politicians, some of them Republican, all of them reinforcing Hillary Clinton’s presidential platform, deliver speeches in hopes of seeing her inaugurated. Summoning fears of a Trump presidency and imploring unity, regardless of political affiliation, the Democrats assembled to persuade voters into sending another Clinton to the White House.

The lawmakers that headlined the Democratic Convention included notorious New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and former CIA Director Leon Panetta, whose presence forced a wave of convention goers to shout: “no more war”. Bloomberg, like all others who crossed the stage before and after him, was tasked with challenging Donald Trump, who he would call “a dangerous demagogue”. Bloomberg’s forceful presence was another political maneuver on the part of the Democrats—bring in the hard right drifters who see Donald Trump as a trespasser. Despite the Clinton campaign’s peppered invocation of Muslim¬Americans, and the threat a Trump presidency poses for a disenfranchised community expected to double by 2050, Bloomberg’s attendance signaled the jarring disparity between the marginal benefits of this self¬serving rhetoric and the strategies that Democrats will shoulder, unconditionally.

The self described “outsider” Michael Bloomberg, during his time as Mayor of New York City, head¬started the notorious surveillance of Muslims by the New York Police Department. Falling in line alongside other lawmakers who’ve made it their mission to prey on the marginalized under the guise of safety and security, Bloomberg would invoke the spectre of terrorism in order to shadow the Muslim¬Americans of New York City. “[O]ur laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change,” Bloomberg said during a press conference at the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative after the Boston bombing. Bloomberg’s elusive spying initiative led to no leads or terrorism investigations, despite it lasting at least 6 years and using tactics that went as far as using paid informants to ‘bait’ Muslims “into saying inflammatory things.”

In Mapping Muslims, a report authored by a collection of human rights organizations, including the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility Project (CLEAR), the NYPD’s surveillance methods were assessed as being broad, and unquestionably focused on ethno¬religious markers. The undercover NYPD presence at some mosques was so obvious and distressing to some attendees that “a qualitative and quantitative change in the mosque experience” began to manifest, all of which was “caused by suspicion and fear of surveillance.” Michael Bloomberg continues to defend this in depth, discriminatory monitoring of Muslims—even liberal favorite Bill DeBlasio’s administration has defended this police surveillance. Despite members of the Democratic Party following through with their customary charade as doom merchants, their invitation to Michael Bloomberg proves them less than convincing.

Bill Clinton’s long-winded speech in support of his former First Lady included a brief but significant petition to Muslims using the promise of inclusivity and welfare, so long as they back the right horse and meet certain qualifications:

“If you’re a Muslim and you love America and freedom and you hate terror, stay here and help us win and make a future together. We want you.”

This single sentence illustrates just how pervasive the commodification of Muslim life is, across both political parties. Muslims remain clearly defined not only by their association with terrorism, but their expressions of nationalism. Khizr Khan, a grieving father of an American¬Muslim soldier who died in Afghanistan, spoke at the Democratic National Convention of his devotion to the United States, and he was mercilessly tokenized, especially by those who refuse to acknowledge Muslims outside the confines of sacrifice and unyielding patriotic devotion. Muslims in the military are often alluded to, by Democrats and Republicans, in a way that’s meant to show a diversity of platform, in reality this language further demonstrates that Muslims are only worth as much as they’re willing to forfeit.

The Democrats remain at the very core, irrespective of flowery rhetoric, a war party, a party which has helped immunize the architects of the War on Terror, all while working tirelessly to diversify expanding military projects—to make their wars more inclusive, so that maybe next year during another one of their conventions you’ll be moved by another Muslim parent reliving the horror of their child’s sacrifice into voting for a politician invoking another bogeyman.

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