Dear Trump Supporter,
I do not believe I possess the vocabulary nor the strength to accurately describe my current feelings of despair. The walls, the bans; it is all underway. Just last week Trump announced the building of the wall along the U.S.’s southern border and issued a complete ban on immigration from seven Muslim majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The ban also applies to individuals holding dual U.S. citizenship.
I have never, in my life, felt such anxiety. My grandmother will be travelling to Pakistan in the coming months. I am tempted to convince her not to go for fear that she will be not be let back into the country when she decides to return. Why do I feel this way? What have Muslims done to deserve such treatment? Have we done something so inhumane, so grotesque, that with a stroke of a pen, we are deemed unworthy of setting foot in America?
Prior to the election, you casually remarked “he won’t be that bad” and “there’s no way he’ll do (Insert xenophobic policy here).” It seems that many Americans who either voted for Trump or chose not to vote at all, had a naive confidence in America’s institutions. It seems that you had faith in Republican leaders to stand up for those groups which Trump wished to marginalize. I am sorry to say that you were wrong. Very, very, wrong. Your negligent feelings towards Trump’s actual policies lead me to ask a few questions. I must admit, not only for my knowledge as an active citizen, but in large part, for my sanity as an American-Muslim that must live in a country which wishes to see his people banned.
The first is “why did you vote for him?” If you felt that he would not be able to follow through on his promises, by what merit did he deserve your vote? Analysts attribute Trump’s win to a certain ‘feeling’ he gave voters. What was that feeling? Please, tell me. Did his promises to deport millions of people make you ‘feel’ good? Or maybe his idea to punish women for having abortions filled some long, deep, void.
Nevertheless, I completely understand his popularity. Borders matter. National identity matters. The white working class of America feels forgotten. However, does turning away refugees who only wish to find safety from a never-ending bombing campaign strengthen our national identity? Do walls and bans make you feel remembered?
As much as I would like to give you the benefit of the doubt, I cannot. While his promise to bring jobs back to the U.S. was appealing, no doubt, he was not the only one to support such as proposal. Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were also supporters of curbing free trade. Yet, you still voted for Trump despite his repeated promises to remove and bar people of different faiths and races from this country.
I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that many voted for Trump not only for the economy, or security, but to live in an America which is controlled by white, straight, ‘Christian,’ men. An America which thrives off of appealing to people’s most fatalistic emotions. A country in which giving less to someone who isn’t Christian, or male, or, white, somehow gives more to you. Let me be clear, I am not calling everyone who voted for Trump a bad person. I am not calling you a racist deplorable. I am, however, calling you selfish. Despite all the outrage from women, Muslims, Hispanics, and people in the LGBT + community, you still voted for him hoping that somehow, disenfranchising the aforementioned groups, would make your life better in some imaginary, zero sum affair.
I do not know if I will be able to forgive you. I do not know if I want to forgive you, as you showed me something about this country I thought was long buried in its past. You showed me that America is not what I thought it was. You showed me that no matter how hard people of color or American-Muslims work to be good citizens, millions of our fellow Americans hate us for no good reason other than the fact that we somehow make their lives worse by simply existing. That is something we will never forget.
I pray that if you do not see the error of your deeds soon, you will see them before something much more sinister occurs. I pray that through marches and protests, we are looked at not as ‘crybabies,’ but as concerned citizens who only wish to see their country live up to its potential as the beacon of liberty and compassion we all know it can be. Finally, I pray that one day, American-Muslims can tell their children that their fellow countrymen and women stood beside them, steadfast, in the struggle against bigotry we currently face.
Towson University Student. American. Muslim.