The day after the election, I woke up crying. Not really sobbing — I just had a steady stream of tears rolling down my face. I was sad and incredibly disappointed. I pulled myself together, got my son his breakfast and then stopped, remembered, and the tears started again. I started working, and that’s when my phone started buzzing with texts all day: “thinking of you” or “I love you” or “are you ok?” and the tears would fall once again. I hopped on conference calls and someone would start the call innocently, “How’s your day?” And I couldn’t even lie: “Honestly, I’m not good today,” and we’d spend the first 10 minutes talking about what the eff just happened. It was a hard, sad day that left me heartbroken.
I’m a Muslim, and half of this country doesn’t want me here. It doesn’t matter that I was born here or that I’m sixth-generation American. It doesn’t matter that no matter the linage we’re all AMERICAN, whether by birth or because we came here and became one. Unfortunately, so many people woke up with the message that we (those of a different religion, culture, race and even gender) aren’t wanted. We aren’t respected. We’re second class. Images of atrocities past came flooding to my mind – communist black lists, Japanese camps. Will the same thing happen to us? Will we lose our house? Our savings? Worse, will we be killed? How do I protect my son? The temptation to run was immense. Pack our bags and move to a country where we feel safer, but that would be giving in and relenting to the hate. It won’t help our society progress and come back from this huge, hateful blow if we run away because then the hateful win and they will be the only voice left.
You do not ignore the awfulness someone does because they have some other quality that is good.
People started sending me articles and saying that a lot of supporters didn’t condone the hate. They didn’t vote for Trump because of his racist and sexist speech and actions. They did it because they believe Trump will help them get more jobs, protect their taxes. He’ll fix government spending and other critical policy measures. They aren’t racist. They don’t hate people, but they want change. Real change. The government isn’t working for them! They feel drowned out. And to those who fall into that group, I say shame on you! You should be absolutely wracked with guilt and shame.
When you see children afraid that they are going to be deported because they are a minority – you did this.
When you hear about a woman having her hijab ripped off her head as she walks down the street – you condoned this.
When you witness someone of color being called a racial slur – you provided the power and permission.
You do not ignore the awfulness someone does because they have some other quality that is good. When you do that, you are no better than a judge who gives a light sentence to a man caught raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster because, well, he’s really good at swimming and he can do “great” things in life. You are letting someone get away with actions I would argue are equal to murder (and, honestly, they just might result in that) because you think he has a better tax policy or you think Obamacare is dumb.
So I dare you – I dare you to come talk to me about why it’s ok that this man is in office representing our country after EVERYTHING he has said and stood for and see what I think is more valuable, equality or policy. Go ahead and sacrifice women’s rights so that Obamacare can be repealed. Give up religious freedom so that regulations against the banks are relieved. Build walls and paint a whole ethnic group as rapists and criminals so that we can have more jobs. Take racial equality back 50 years so that we have a “red” house. Bravo – mission accomplished. But don’t pretend you aren’t racist just like the rest of them.
Shame on you.
This Muslim stands up for diversity, women’s reproductive rights, legalized gay marriage, elimination of rape culture, freedom of religion, race equality, gender equality, cultural equality, tax equality, support of our troops (the U.S. Military, in case you want to interpret that any other way) and the basic civil liberties that this country was founded on.
(Photo: Barbara Rosner/pixabay)