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SERWAN ZANGANA: May God Help Us To Make Rational Decisions

Despite the controversial results from the 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden became the president of the United States. Since then, some of my acquaintances and friends said they voted for Biden only for the sake of removing Trump from office. Now, we are all paying the price for that. It is unfortunate that in a nation like America raw emotions and anger instead of cool logic navigate many people on how to vote.

Although emotions and anger are a natural part of human beings and play a big role in our lives, they can divert the mind from making some logical decisions. Personally, I try to subjugate my feelings in order to make a rational decision on Election Day. Naturally I might not agree 100% with some of the points of view of the candidate whom I support, but I base my decision on the main points and priorities of the candidate’s policies, priorities and beliefs.

It is interesting to see many people’s reactions, especially some minorities, when they realize that I vote for Republicans. They ask, Why? My response is: because in general, Republicans stand for faith in God, support conservative principles, and believe in less government intervention in people’s social, economic and educational lives.

Usually, during elections I focus on the ideas that my candidate embraces. Basically, I believe that voting is not a “right” that I am obligated to practice. Rather, it is a trust that I place in a person who represents and stands for my principles. Therefore, I don’t cast my vote for the sake of the election only, but for how that person will serve our city, state or country going forward.

Some friends of mine who voted for Biden recently told me that they now truly regret their decision. However, they can’t go back and redo 2020. From this lesson, we should not get caught up in the moment and let emotions, rage, or groupthink steer our logic away from making a right choice. This is the reason why politicians spend millions of dollars during elections through commercials to stir up our emotions and cause agitations to create vulnerability. In this way, politicians and their handlers seek to freeze up our logic and instead move us to vote, not using our brains, but using our glands.

In the 1980s, the former Iraqi regime placed the Iraqis under continual emotional stress through its propaganda by spreading fear and constant threats. The regime’s purpose was only to control the Iraqis’ minds and prevent them from making rational decisions, and in fact, many people were controlled in this way.

In 2004, while I served as an interpreter with the U.S army, one Iraqi interpreter from Baghdad told me that he did not realize the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussain had been such an abusive person during his reign. That interpreter, though intelligent, had been so controlled mentally and overwhelmed with propaganda, he had been basically brainwashed. It wasn’t until after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime that he was exposed to documented evidence off the dictator’s brutality.

People’s emotions have always being targeted and exploited by political systems, groups, and organizations throughout history. However, with experience and learning, we can learn to use rational logic to guide us to make some of life’s big decisions. A few weeks ago, I was impressed to hear some of my relatives, who had been Democrat voters in the past, say that as Muslims we should not vote for Democrats because that party embraces an ideology that does not align with our beliefs. Quietly I asked myself, did I hear the voice of reason?

Overall, may God guide us in our decisions. “Good Judgement wins favor, but the way of the unfaithful leads to their destruction.” (Proverbs 13:12-18)

– Serwan Zangana supported Operation Iraqi Freedom as a U.S Army translator before coming to the U.S from Kurdistan, Iraq in 1997 to seek political asylum. He was granted asylum status and years later proudly became a U.S citizen. He currently serves as a correction officer in Roanoke.



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