Before anything else, hope is all humanity ever had, and hope-fully we always will.
As we all try to process and work through the results of this election, I think it’s more important than ever that we listen to each other. Many of us feel gutted right now. And it’s hard to imagine that a Trump Presidency won’t negatively affect all of us. But for some it has dire implications.
One of the groups I worry about….and there are many….are Muslim-Americans.
Today I received an incredible message from a young former Muslim-American named Faizaan Jaffer. I say former because the young man is now an atheist who lives in Canada. But he has great perspective. And his voice is one that we should all hear.
Here’s his powerful letter…..
DISCLAIMER: This is simply self-expression. I did not write this with the intention of insulting anyone’s political point of view. That being said, if this offends you…well to be honest I really don’t give a shit at this point. You can message me about it or unfriend me, up to you.
The most apt word I can use to describe the way I’ve felt as an American over the past 16 hours is: helpless. The past 16 hours have understandably been filled with a whirlwind of emotions; feelings of being worthless, hated, and unwanted by the people from my own home. Now these are not new feelings by any measure, as this was exactly the reason why my family moved to Canada 9 years ago, pre-Obama. Yet still, the past 16 hours have been spent spiraling downwards through a seemingly endless abyss; lying in bed yet being unable to sleep, being hungry yet feeling too sick to eat, longing for comfort and companionship yet having forgotten how to speak.
Perhaps the scariest part, is that this is only the beginning.
Now that the election is over, we’re expected to be strong, swallow our pride, and embrace Trump as our president, because he is, after all, who “The People” wanted. Well fuck that and here’s why:
1. It is ok to feel sadness, anger, fear, or any range of emotions. It is ok to feel. Often times when we feel down, we’re told to be strong and move on, because it’s over. However, expressing our feelings is not a weakness, it’s one of our only universal strengths. For, many of us are mourning right now. We’re mourning in the loss of something we never truly had. We thought that the racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and prejudicial roots that this country was built on were finally being eliminated. However, we were mistaken. They were simply being hidden deeper into the fabric of our society. We are mourning the loss of the progress we thought had been made. We are mourning the loss of something that never truly existed, yet we still have the right to mourn.
2. Perhaps the most frustrating part is that “We The People” did not vote for Donald Trump. The majority of votes – the Popular Vote – went to Hillary Clinton. I voted for Hillary Clinton, but because the majority of the ‘Electors’ in my state, Georgia, voted for Trump, Trump received my vote.
I VOTED FOR HILLARY CLINTON, YET MY VOTE WAS COUNTED AS DONALD TRUMP’S.
THAT IS NOT DEMOCRACY.
THAT DOES NOT ALIGN WITH THE BULLSHIT VALUES THAT AMERICA CLAIMS TO HAVE AND SHOVED DOWN OUR FUCKING THROATS EVERYDAY IN GRADE SCHOOL.
The progress that we thought had been made over recent years sparked hope for a better tomorrow. My plan was to return home in 2 years after graduating from university to join the fight against systematic discrimination. It’s difficult, however, to imagine now that America, and even humanity, isn’t a lost cause.
We blindly recited the Pledge of Allegiance in school everyday. In its current state, I don’t see how I can pledge my allegiance to this flag any longer.
With great disbelief, and on the contrary to my rant, at the bottom of this wastebasket of my emotions, underneath the anger, the frustration, the fear, and the depression, lies a tiny shred of crumpled, wrinkled, yet unbridled hope. Maybe I’m just a naïve 20 year old, but I still faintly feel the same hope that was sparked by the progress that we thought had been made. For, it is embedded deeper into our roots than racism, misogyny, xenophobia and prejudice ever can be. It might get buried like those other American roots had been, but it is always there. It may be hidden underneath the surface right now, but when it comes above ground, it has the power to shift mountains, as it always has. Before anything else, hope is all humanity ever had, and hope-fully we always will.
I hope that we can fight to create a flag that we are all proud to pledge our allegiance to, because this one’s just not working anymore. I hope we can. I don’t know if we can. I’m not even sure I still think we can. But, I hope we can. And that’s all we can do right now. And we’ll mourn. Because, it’s ok to mourn. And when we’re ready, we’ll fight to create that flag. But today, all we can do is be there for each other, hope, and remember that it’s ok to mourn.
To all the protest-voters, whether you voted for Trump, a 3rd-party candidate, or simply didn’t vote: Many of us minorities didn’t want to vote for Clinton, but we did because we couldn’t afford the alternative. I hope your protest vote was worth the suffering that is to come.
To my LGBT, African-American, Hispanic, and most-of-all to my female family and friends: I will never be able to understand the extent of how horrible this must feel for you to have this man as POTUS, but I truly empathize with you as much as I possibly can.
It is no doubt that we are ALL going to have a long four years, but as my Canadian high school, the Burnaby Central Wildcats, used to say: We’re all in this together.