It used to be funny. Some of us minority students used to stick around with our Cuban teacher after Spanish class and watch Tonto Trump – our jaws agape at Trump’s statements that were so ridiculous the offense was lost somewhere and we forgot that it wasn’t fiction, but our presidential election process.Donald Trump is a great comedian, but that shouldn’t make him the next president of the United States of America.
Then our laughs turned stale. They came home with us – at least with me – and the reality stuck with us that somewhere, real people were finding credibility in his empty words and loud mouth. Perhaps one could dismiss that, so for a while I did.
Recently, however, I am beginning to watch my own rights fade from my vision, each Trump headline making the situation feel more and more serious.
I acknowledge that there are varying levels of enthusiasm among Trump voters – some people truly do support his positions, some align with “anyone-but-Hillary,” and some vote party lines down the ticket. But I imagine that in order to cast a ballot for Trump, that voter has already abandoned fact-checking, any knowledge of our governmental systems and even a basic understanding of the constitutional rights that are granted to every citizen in this beautiful land. My heart beats with a rich patriotism and love for the “land of the free.” Who is Trump to deny me that individual truth?
I am an American-born Syrian Muslim, but that does not make me a threat to our country’s security. I pray to the same God that Trump does for a peaceful mind and a peaceful future. I love my country more than many of my fellow Americans say they do and so I am confused when somebody associates Trump’s vision with national pride or a “greater America.”
Donald Trump’s vision of a greater America is an older America, one that we read about in textbooks. One that permits alienation, governmentally instituted racism and prohibited entry based on religion. It feels as if I’m watching a stop-motion animation in reverse and I go to bed every night in fear that future history books will continue to chronicle an oppressed America. If we are indeed rewriting history with this election, these textbooks will soon read, “Once upon a time, America was so fueled by fear and hate, raw hate, that we wrote ‘Hillary is worse’ on our ballots.”
Trump cannot make America great and he has made a joke out of our electoral system with his success thus far.
America is better than Trump. America has pride and would never associate herself with a sputtering, angry bully, no matter how hurt she is. If America is truly the best country in the world, we won’t vote for a bully just because he has a lot of money or affirms our fears by confidently repeating unjust solutions.
A decade ago, we would have been able to see through such an ill-founded ruse, but somehow now we’re so scared, so unsure, that we choose to believe the excuses time and time again and defend ignorance in the name of casting off the chains of political correctness.
What makes a good president isn’t the same as what makes a good friend, comedian or salesperson. A president’s job is to represent a country, to interact respectfully and efficiently on a global level and to make smart decisions considering the well-being of the 300 million equally important citizens within the United States.
A president should comfort people in times of crisis and take steps towards a productive solution, not rile up anger towards groups of people and evade the question of plausible policy.
A vote is an intimate thing. The presidential nominee that gets your vote should be one that you trust enough to make the right decision most of the time, and reassure you that our country is in good hands. They shouldn’t just be a person that hates the same things you do and might someday stumble upon at least one solution to the problems you think are important.
To those who want to ban Muslims from a country founded on freedom of religion for their own peace of mind: it is an undeniable fact that you believe your peace of mind has more worth than my right to be your equal.
With any hard decision, I like to ask myself what problems one solution will create, and what problems that solution would solve. I encourage Trump voters to ask themselves that, too.
A vote for Trump is a gamble with our country’s future.
Boraan Abdulkarim ’20 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is from Saint Paul, Minn. Her major is undecided.