I know that right now, in spite of the fact that I am scared and anxious about the actions that Donald Trump is taking, I have to choose my words carefully.
Yes, I feared these very actions being taken against Muslims throughout his campaign. In fact, I was concerned by the nationalism he espoused from the beginning of his early days on the campaign trail, taking such a vitriolic stance against Mexicans that he would have made the late Ronald Reagan turn in his grave.
I never got the sense that immigrants were necessarily safe if they were “legal,” and Trump’s actions are proving that in the past few days. His executive orders have unleashed full pandemonium on refugees who are fleeing heinous situations and have been granted asylum in this country, only to be turned away at the airports after arriving in the United States, per the orders of the intolerant administration, acting in a manner unprecedented in American history.
These refugees have already gone through an extensive vetting process, despite the #alternativefacts being presented by Trump’s lying surrogates.
The past few days are truly a great blemish on this country, one which was founded on being a safe haven for religious freedom. Yes, we are not without our scars – the mistakes that we have made in the past should never be overlooked. Past and continue treatment of the native people of this land, the internment of Japanese civilians and the refusal of refuge to many Jews seeking asylum from Nazi Germany during World War II are part of our shame that we should never forget.
Our shame was meant to be a lesson we learned from, not one we repeated.
That being said, it’s a tenuous time for someone who did not embrace Trump from the beginning and is asking others to rise up and be vocal now. Because while I say that yes, I did see this coming, I am not asking for anyone who voted for him to be defensive or to apologize or to even regret their decision.
What I am asking though, is for well, you – yes – you – if you voted for him – to acknowledge that perhaps he is not the man who you thought he was. That perhaps, in spite of the appeal some of his messages held for you and even whatever disdain held you back from voting for Clinton, that you understand now that something dangerous is going on.
That Donald Trump does not speak for ALL Americans.
That Donald Trump does not care about upholding the Constitutional rights of all Americans.
That Donald Trump uses gaslighting to manipulate his followers into believing #alternativefacts, aka lies.
That Donald Trump still has not divested information about his taxes and his business debts to countries, calling into question many of his interests abroad.
That Donald Trump is putting his business interests ahead of the interests of US safety.
That Donald Trump is trying to resort to authoritarian tactics, for example, silencing the media.
That Donald Trump is appealing to fears by creating enemies out of the marginalized, one of the most commonly used weapons of plutocrats.
The list goes on.
But the point is, at some point, most people who voted for him don’t care or want to listen to this. Why listen to the truth? This has become a testosterone filled competition of the worst kind – not a society building exercise to restore civility and dignity to all citizens of this country.
So I bide my time and my words. I know that people know I am angry. But I also need everyone to know that I am not angry at Trump voters anymore. Perhaps there was a time that I was. But that time has passed.
We are all in this together and the only way we can admit there is a problem and challenge what is happening is together. I understand that your hand may have selected differently than mine on that ballot, but how do we walk forward together from here if you are truly against the injustice that you see being wrought within the first week of his chaotic presidency?
The time has passed for anyone to ask me to give him a chance. He lost those all too long ago, he burned those up the day he questioned the birth of our previous President, solely because he was African American. The day he openly went after the Khan family, the parents of fallen soldier Humayan Khan. The day his chummy video with Billy Bush came out. The day he revealed he was “smart” not to file his taxes. And all too many other times.
Those chances are long gone. He’s running on a major deficit.
What I ask of you is to withdraw from your silence. To acknowledge that the vast, vast majority of Muslims is NOT extremist (CNN has estimated the number of violent Muslim Extremists to be approximately 106,000; Pew research says the number of Muslims worldwide to be around 1.6 billion – or 23% of the world’s population – less than .006625% is considered extremist. Courtesy of former colleague, Big Data Analytics Expert @Mark Loucks). To acknowledge that we can’t turn our backs on refugees facing a major humanitarian crisis (much of it in Syria also the machinations of Trump’s buddy Putin).
I do not blame you for your vote.
But I will never forget your silence.