What can you tell me about the little girl in the picture above? What country do you immediately think she is from? What holiday is she celebrating? What ethnicity is she? Most people not exposed a lot to diversity might think she is strictly American because she is celebrating Christmas. She probably is of European heritage. Only part of that thought process is correct; she is American. Her mother was born in Upstate New York, of primarily French and English heritage. Her father was born in Uganda, of East Indian decent. He was a refugee as a teen and his family moved to Canada, where they became citizens. Just before this picture was taken, the father obtained American citizenship. Could you have known all this by just looking at the picture? No, of course not. Did you know she loved celebrating the Fourth of July with hamburgers, kosher hotdogs, vegetarian baked beans, corn on the cob, fresh sliced tomatoes and cucumbers and potato salad? Did you know she loved collecting names of friends and relatives who served in the various branches of the military annually to place on her elementary school’s Wall of Honor around Veterans Day? Did you know she was in Girl Scouts? Did you know she took tap, ballet and jazz dance lessons for nine years? Did you know she celebrated both American holidays and Ismaili Muslim holidays? Again, of course not! Can we judge a book by its cover? I think not.
This little girl has grown up to be a twenty-four year old adult. She texted her mother on Election Day. This is how their conversation went down:
DAUGHTER: Are you voting today?
MOTHER: Did early by mail.
DAUGHTER: Me, too. I heard the lines were crazy and that it’s pretty close in our state.
MOTHER: Yeah, this election is such a farce. I voted for Hillary to ward off war should The Donald get miffed.
DAUGHTER: Yeah, I voted for Hillary to avoid Muslim incarceration camps. Sounds extreme, but Trump had threatened it.
So, I ask all diehard Republicans who backed Trump, did you dismiss his threat because you thought it to be right? Or did you dismiss this threat because it did not apply to anyone you knew? In either case, how do you explain to American mothers who happen to have Muslim children that their child must be incarcerated God knows where forever? I thought one of the American founding principles was freedom of religion. Or was that Pilgrim story we grew up with fictitious? I ask all non-Muslim mothers to imagine that their children, grown or otherwise, must be incarcerated or be sent out of the country. You will never have access to them again. In supporting such a rash decision, are we doing unto others as we would wish them to do unto us?