Since I read this post by Asra Q. Nomani I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind, and keep dialoging with portions of it, trying to understand:
This is my confession — and explanation: I — a 51-year-old, a Muslim, an immigrant woman “of color” — am one of those silent voters for Donald Trump. And I’m not a “bigot,” “racist,” “chauvinist” or “white supremacist,” as Trump voters are being called…
I most certainly reject the trifecta of “hatred/division/ignorance.” I support the Democratic Party’s position on abortion, same-sex marriage and climate change…
But I am a single mother who can’t afford health insurance under Obamacare. The president’s mortgage-loan modification program, “HOPE NOW,” didn’t help me.
…as a child of India, arriving in the United States at the age of 4 in the summer of 1969, I have absolutely no fears about being a Muslim in a “Trump America.” The checks and balances in America and our rich history of social justice and civil rights will never allow the fear-mongering that has been attached to candidate Trump’s rhetoric to come to fruition.
I’ve been hearing that many people voted for Trump who don’t identify as racists, xenophobes, bigots, etc. I get it: they had other reasons to vote for him. Yet today, while overhearing a conversation about all the people who voted for Trump even though they aren’t racist, xenophobes, misogynists, bigots, etc. – I thought, It doesn’t absolve anyone to say, “I’m not any of those things, but I voted to put a man in power who is” — he’s endorsed by the KKK, pledged massive deportations, and wants to require Muslims to register with the government. We don’t get to oppose something and support it at the same time.
It’s a lot easier for me to understand people voting for him because he gave permission for people to let out the racism, etc., that was just beneath the surface, barely held in check because of “political correctness.” I didn’t understand the idea that what I consider basic human courtesy could be experienced as a gag order of political correctness rather than a human ethical value, and I do understand the resentment that grows when one feels forced into a certain point of view.
People are already getting harassed and hurt because of hijab, skin color, etc. Kids are crying in their classrooms from fear about being deported . Anyone who says “our rich history of social justice and civil rights will never allow the fear-mongering that has been attached to candidate Trump’s rhetoric to come to fruition” hasn’t been paying enough attention to what’s been going on in this country.
It’s a mega-gamble to vote for someone and assume something along the lines of, “he’ll come through on cheaper health care, because I want that, but he won’t come through on the dangerous stuff I don’t agree with because someone will hold all that in check.” I fail to understand how Trump’s version of health care can be expected be better and cheaper than Obama’s – Obama fought hard against the Republicans to manage even the compromised version we ended up with, and yet now he singularly holds the blame for whatever is inadequate in Obamacare.
But, the questions are ultimately much bigger than that. We all, I think, vote from a less-than-logical place. I couldn’t vote for Trump because I — a white-ish woman — couldn’t live with myself if I voted to endanger people because of their race, religion, or immigration status. Ms. Nomani brought up some concerns about Clinton and terrorism in the name of Islam, and she no doubt has a much more complex perspective about that than I do.
The idea of registration cards really upset me, and I fantasized about the whole country converting to Islam so that everyone would then have to carry a registration card, in order to defeat the purpose. I had an odd experience after reading Ms. Nomani‘s explanation of her vote – I felt some relief, and thought, “well, heck, if Muslims want to live in Trump America, I guess I’ll stop feeling concerned for them” but that’s not fair either: I have no idea what portion of the Muslim population Ms. Nomani represents but I know her opinion and her vote don’t let me off the hook.
Maybe it’s time we stop identifying with our opinions, get over the name calling, and start really talking and listening to each other about what’s hurting us, what we value and what we hold dear as human beings. I would guess that everyone wants to be safe and wants their loved ones to be safe. I would guess that everyone wants affordable health care and the right to live in dignity, regardless of our differences. Unfortunately, some would call that socialism as if aspiring to basic safety, security and decent quality of life for all is a bad thing.