Let me preface this post by saying that I am in no way some kind of political buff. Before this election year, I truly did not give a rat’s ass about who ran our country. To this day, all I know about Barack Obama is that he’s the first black president in the history of our nation and that he gave all 2013 Hyundai Elantra owners the gift of filling up a full tank of gas for less than $30 (in Georgia). Oh, and he also likes basketball or something.
What got me interested (like, barely interested) in politics was a guy named Donald Trump. I knew that he was worth a lot of money and that he’s fired a lot of people on national television. But that was the extent of my knowledge of him until a few months ago. I had heard that he was running as a candidate for the 2016 presidency sometime last year and I had no doubt in my mind that it was a joke.
But then things went from 0 to 100 a little too quick. I started seeing poll numbers on my Facebook feed and short video clips of people cheering him on at his rallies. Needless to say, I was super curious.
Then came the disheartening and thoroughly disappointing clips of him responding to some of his hecklers and him talking about his issue with both illegal and legal immigrants. Shortly after that, I came across articles highlighting his desire to build some sort of wall to keep Mexicans out of our country along with his brash openness to have Muslim-Americans register with a government database to help keep track of “them.”
I know what you’re thinking. This guy is just another liberal college student who, if he’s being completely honest, doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but supports Bernie Sanders for the hell of it and is looking for another opportunity to bash on Donald Trump and his evil ways. And you’re probably right. This post might be a bit bias due to my lack of knowledge and I won’t sit here and try to deny that sentiment. But just to be clear, I am not a Bernie Sanders supporter, although, I have indeed felt the Bern many times. I still have lots of research to do before I decide who I’m voting for this year.
With all that being said, I do want to say that I actually have a lot of respect for Donald Trump. He has to be doing something right if he has a net worth of $4 billion. He’s a presidential candidate that this country has never seen before. He’s not worried about being politically correct and evidently says whatever’s on his mind without hesitation, which, in my opinion, is pretty dope. I also think, that deep down, he has this country’s best interest at heart, even if I don’t agree with some of his views. He’s charismatic. He’s entertaining. He definitely knows how to get people to stand with him, even if some of them are on this ride just to see what he’ll do next. He’s also got one hell of a team behind him running his campaign. Simply put, the guy knows what he’s doing and how he wants to do it.
But so did a guy named Adolf Hitler. Hell, Hitler somehow got whole countries to follow him AND fight alongside him.
Now, I’m not saying that Trump’s going to go down as one of the most heinous human beings to ever grace this Earth. I have no reason to believe that he’ll be the mastermind behind Holocaust 2.0 in route to being the catalyst for World War III. I’m only comparing Trump to Hitler to say that just because someone knows how to lead and does it successfully, it doesn’t mean that what they’re saying and doing is right.
Although there are a lot of reasons why I would never vote for Donald Trump, I think the one thing that really does it for me is his stance on Muslims.
It seriously scares the shit out of me and the reason is this:
What if, just what if, it was Kim Jong Un and North Korea that decided to start all of this madness around the world? What if Un’s regime just decided to drop a nuclear warhead on U.S soil? What if it was his men that perfectly executed pre-meditated terrorist attacks in Europe?
Islamaphobia is real and to truly put it into perspective, what if it was Japan or China or any other oriental nation that decided to terrorize the globe? And what if I was blamed for it? Because, let’s be honest, all Asians do look alike (except to the fellow Asian).
The Muslim community could easily be me. Or my roommate. Or my mom. My dad. My sister. The very people I love most.
I could be the one that steps into an environment of fear as soon as I leave my apartment. I could be the one that gets kicked out of a Trump rally because of the way I dress. I could be the subject of a government database to keep track of me and my actions. It wouldn’t matter that I was born in East Lansing, Michigan. It wouldn’t matter that I’ve lived 23 years of my life in three different states. I could be the one being told to leave my country and to “go back to where I came from.” The fact that I’ve only been to “where I came from” only twice in my entire life would hold no weight with some people.
I know that I’m over-generalizing and that I’m probably throwing hella shade to a lot of Trump supporters who don’t condone actions like this, but I like to believe that this is a small taste into how the average Muslim lives on a daily basis.
And because Trump exacerbates this irrational and widespread fear of Muslims, I cannot stand with him. I don’t care how many great ideas he has to fix this country. I’m sure that he has a lot of them and I’m sure some of them are actually really brilliant. I’m sure he has plans and promises that most Americans can agree on. But to hold an entire minority group accountable for the actions of a few? There is no way in hell I can get behind something like that.
*For this next part, I am going to channel my inner Dr. Love (I really hope you guys get this reference because I thought this joke would be really funny) and use my imaginary psychology degree to get my point across*
On the flip side, I get it. I get why people support him and his stance on Muslims. They’re scared. I see this world going to shit every single day. There are so many things that are going terribly wrong in our world. The problems range in complexity with no real spectrum and no obvious solution. From police brutality right here in our backyard to ISIS beheading children for listening to pop music in the Middle East, we’re living in very terrifying times and it’s uncomfortable to talk about. The fact that Donald Trump is so open about his opinions is, I think, why people are drawn to him like magnets. He’s simply saying what a lot of people are thinking. Trump himself has probably been tremendously affected by events in the last fifteen years. He’s stated that he was in New York when the planes hit, that he saw people jump out of the windows of the World Trade Center.
So, man, I freaking get it. I’m just as terrified as the next guy. When I heard about the shooting in San Bernardino, the first thing I did was look up how far the city is from Torrance, where my family lives.
It was less than two hours away. If those shooters drive for two more hours, the trajectory of my life is completely different.
I have to say that waking up to the news that day really shook me up. I can guarantee that this post would be different if my family had been directly involved. I’d probably be in a place of overwhelming fear and despair and the way I look at people who wear head scarves would be intrinsically different because of it. My rage would consume me and I’d probably want every single Muslim to stay beyond a five-mile radius of anywhere I was.
I want, with everything in my soul, to believe that that’s what’s happening now and that the people that support this idea are better than this. They’re seeing and hearing things about ISIS and their fears continue to grow as their minds feed on the images on the news. And, honestly, all of these fears are well-warranted and very much justified.
But the way Trump uses these fears to get people to follow him makes me sick to my stomach. It’s politics. I get that. Votes are what get you into the White House, but if it’s going to be like this, I don’t want any part of it. It’s just not right. I don’t have any particular reason for why it’s not and I shouldn’t have to have one. It’s just not. Not just on a racial level, but on a human level.
It’s truly a damn shame for Trump to have such a gigantic spotlight and rather than using it to bring people together, he uses it to further divide communities. He has such a great opportunity to minimize the flow of racism that exists today and instead, he’s building up walls between people that ultimately constrict how they see each other. He’s eternalizing the idea that all Muslims are dangerous. Meaning, this stereotype isn’t going to go away any time soon. As a matter of fact, it may never go away. This issue will continue to rise and will eventually become as notorious as the “black people versus white cop” issue which is rampantly initiating arguments and divisiveness throughout the country. I need to believe that my next president will work hard to alleviate these fears and prejudices, not perpetuate them.
I think I relate so strongly to this topic because I know, as I’m sure all of you do as well, that I’ve participated in many forms of racism and still do to this day. I’ve called white people cracker and black people the N-word and ever since middle school I’ve referred to all of my Indian friends as curry daddies (shoutout to Riz and Aamir). Honestly, I still refer to most of my friends as “niggas” on a daily basis, but only after I’ve made sure that there are no black people around. It’s okay to say it if that particular race isn’t in the same room as me… Right?
But I’m also a minority myself and I know what it’s like to be on the other end of all that. I know what it’s like to be the only Asian guy in class. I know what it’s like for someone to ask me for my math homework (joke was always on them though). I know what it’s like to be called a chink and to have people stretch their eyelids so they look a little more like me. I know what it’s like for people to call me Jeremy Lin instead of LeBron James. Just kidding, I’ll take that one to the grave any day of the week. It’s all fun and games until it happens to you. Slowly, but surely, it just starts to become the norm.
We need to realize that the Muslim community could very easily have been any one of us and we need to stop whatever it is that’s happening to them from becoming the norm. I’ve already mentioned the North Korean example, but to take it a step further, and bare with me on this, what if it was, I don’t know, a black terrorist group from Africa? Or what if it was a European terrorist group that rose up, seemingly out of the depths of nothing, and coordinated attacks around the world? And, as a result, what if white people in the U.S. were blamed for it? What if white people weren’t the majority in the United States?
It doesn’t even have to be racial. What if it were radically-idiotic Christians who were responsible instead of the radically-idiotic Muslim extremists? And what if Christians were required to wear head scarves whenever they were in public? If the history of our world were entirely different, how would we feel about all of this? What if it was happening to you?
So, why is the title “Why I won’t be voting for Donald Trump” instead of “Why I don’t like Donald Trump” you ask? Because I will actually be voting this year. I’ve never been one to vote. I’m not a patriot by any means, but I do kind of love where I live and, at the very least, I can get up off my lazy ass and vote for someone that I agree with. I’m realizing that I’m a part of the next generation that will be taking care of this country and I think voting in the election is a practical way for me to start standing up for what I believe in. It feels great to know that I typed up 2000+ words on something I care about, but at the end of the day, it’s just words on a screen.
This spiel isn’t a jab at Trump supporters nor is it a jab at any particular race. They’re just my thoughts on a very complex issue.
I don’t have an answer to this problem. I just know that dividing ourselves and playing the blame game won’t do anything.
I don’t hate people that support Trump. Truly, I don’t. I would honestly love to hear the reasons why people do support him.
I also don’t consider myself some sort of advocate for the Muslim community. I’m not trying to pretend like I know what it’s like to be a Muslim because I don’t.
But, I am an advocate of love and although I lack of it often, I’m choosing to stand next to my fellow minority. It’s really the least I can do.
To those of you that made it this far, thanks for reading! ‘Till next time…
With much love,