February 17, 2011

Why Aren't Democrats Doing Health Care?

Last week, I published a comment about the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) that discussed the MB's social services to Egyptians and wondered why the Democratic Party in the United States wasn't doing something similar:

I see groups like the MB, CAIR, MAS, etc., as organizations working for the greater good of humanity. The Democratic party in the US could learn a thing or two from the MB and their feet-on-the-ground social services. (Americans need health care? Why haven't the Democrats started up free or low-cost clinics for these people? Don't they think these people won't remember on election day?)

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from the Muslim American Society (MAS) featuring an article in the Gainesville Sun that was originally published on February 9th. The article is about a free medical clinic that the Gainesville Muslim community is setting up (opening on the 26th) that will provide primary and preventative medicine, insha'allah, to adults and children, regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. The clinic is being run by volunteers and paid for through donations.

Now, rhetorical questions I would ask of my fellow Democrats are: Do you think this clinic will become popular with the local community? Do you think the Muslim community in Gainesville will benefit from a PR-perspective by opening this clinic? Do you think the Democratic Party, which is much better funded than a small group of Muslims, would benefit with electoral support if they were to help fund/run these types of clinics nationwide? (Even if these clinics were not run or funded directly by the DNC, they could be run through a foundation created by the DNC, as Singapore's dominant political party, the People's Action Party (PAP), does with their charitable foundation.)


Anonymous said...

How do Islamist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah raise the money that is required to fund their social services for the poor?

I imagine Hezbollah relies on its Iranian sugardaddy, but what about Hamas? Some of the Sunni Arab oil states would no doubt be willing to fund Hamas terrorism, but I don't expect they'd be as willing to fund Hamas social services, given how that could encourage the Muslim Brotherhood in their own countries, directly threatening their own corrupt rule.

JDsg said...

I have no idea, honestly, although I would think that monies donated for zakat would be a significant source of revenue.

Your second paragraph strikes me as somewhat simplistic in its motivations; I think motivations with regard to outside donors funding Hamas are more complex than that. First off, a key point, as Ojibwa mentioned in his SP diary, is that social services account for 90% of Hamas's budget. And the fact that social services do account for such large percentages in the Hamas and Hizbullah budgets is well known among Muslims worldwide. So a Muslim country sending money to Hamas would understand that most of their money would be funding social services instead of armed rebellion against Israel (or some of the other non-Hamas factions running around Gaza).

And those governments may be fine with that even from an altruistic perspective; Muslims do have a strong altruistic streak that the paying of zakat and saudaqa has inculcated. But let's look at this from a more cynical, realpolitik approach. :)

First, it's in the other countries' interests to have Hamas exist as a counterweight to Israel (as opposed to having no Hamas exist). Hamas gains its popular support both internally within Gaza and externally by providing the social services that would otherwise be lacking. (If they didn't do it, someone else would.) I remember reading an article, probably at least a year ago, that concluded that groups like the MB, Hamas and Hizbullah all gain their political support from their social services so that the most effective way for these organizations to be undercut by the local governments is for the government to provide the social services instead. Obviously, that hasn't happened yet. To be honest, I'm not sure countries like Egypt or Lebanon can afford to pay for the social services necessary, even if that meant weaker organizations like MB and Hizbullah.