On Islamophobia, Donald Trump, gun control
Most of the time I avoid discussing politics and indeed my own opinions in general. But with everything going on lately I feel there are a few things I have to say. Not for the first time, I feel as if I need to defend myself as an American citizen. Usually I’m quite proud of this fact, but lately I’ve been less sure. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful to have been born where I was. I know how lucky that makes me. But now that I am living abroad it is easier to see things from an outsiders perspective, and from here, it does not look so good right now.
The recent incident in Philadelphia in which a pig’s head was thrown in front of a mosque is what put me over the top and prompted this post. As a liberal northeasterner, I have often excused my countrymen’s bigotry by saying something along the lines of, “well most people don’t really think that way where I come from, America is a big country.” Yet this pointless, disrespectful act of prejudice happened in Philadelphia, the city which I call my home. And this is happening all over my beautiful country. Americans all over are ignoring the core values on which this nation was built. People from all over the world see America as a place of hope and opportunity and yet right now it appears to be full of high-minded, hypocritical people who are eager to lay blame and throw insults and worse. Perhaps Donald Trump is right when he says we need to make America great again, but he is severely misguided on how to do so. The way to make that happen is to embrace values of inclusiveness and encourage the free exchange of ideas and philosophy. So to my many Muslim friends and to the Muslim-Americans and the true Muslims everywhere I want to sincerely apologize. I’m sorry for the way American people are vilifying you. I’m sorry for every bit of prejudice you have been subjected to. I’m sorry that you have been pushed to defend your religion with hashtags such as #notinmyname and the like. You should not have to tell people what people should already know or make the effort to learn. For this, I apologize and I just want to say the recent sentiments from Americans are #notinmyname
On Donald Trump
Really America!?!? I mean, like….realllllly America? The fact that I even have the urge to write about this man’s presidential bid is a problem. While it is looking less likely every day that he will win in the primary, the support he has is absolutely inexcusable. What happened America? First, Trump wants to build a wall and now he wants to bar Muslims from entering the country? But the problem isn’t only that he is suggesting these things. The problem is that so many people are agreeing with these suggestions. This sort of discrimination has no place in America and Trump and his supporters are fostering the very things I hate about my own country with these misguided ideas. The answer to the threat of terrorism, in this case the Islamic State, is NOT to shut out and alienate a group of people desperate to escape a war-torn homeland. For starters, many of the people being influenced by Islamic State ideology are already here and not all of them are even Muslims to begin with.
The George Washington University report underscored the diversity of the 71 people in the United States charged with crimes related to the Islamic State since March 2014: 40 percent were converts to Islam, defying any ethnic profile. They were young, with an average age of 26; overwhelmingly American citizens or legal residents; and 14 percent were women.Source
The answer to this particular threat is to open dialogue and for every person to practice inclusiveness on a community level so individuals such as these are not tempted by extremist ideologies. It’s on all of us, the politicians don’t have the answer and neither does Donald Trump.
On Gun Control
The second amendment is crucial to our nation. After all it is part of the Bill of Rights which is a necessary foundation for this great nation. You cannot remove this right, because it would invite questions into the other rights enumerated on the Bill of Rights. That being said, everything – EVERYTHING – has limits that come down to common sense and protecting the people of this country. Take for instance the first amendment, by far the most important and inalienable right in America. The right to freedom of speech, religion (take note Donald), petition and assembly is what makes America so great and what makes us privileged to be here. And yet there are limits. Over the past 200 years the United States Supreme Court has been challenged to find certain restrictions that adhere to common sense to ensure the safety and well-being of this nation. Because of these limits, I can go to jail for hate speech, incitement and other certain things I say that could prove harmful. This proves that, rightfully, common sense and the safety of fellow human beings can win out even over our “inalienable” rights. So I repeat, while the second amendment is important it has to have limits. Why, for instance, does anyone outside of the military need an entire stockpile of military grade weapons? We may be guaranteed the right to bear arms but that doesn’t mean that a) we should bear arms or b) we should have the freedom to bear any arms we darn well please. There are limits that should, no, need to be in place to protect the safety and well-being of America as a country and the people within it. More reading here.