To stand validated in Trump’s America, you have to be Caucasian and Christian

Published: February 28, 2017
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Headstones lay on the ground after vandals pushed them off their bases in the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Philadelphia. PHOTO: REUTERS/Tom Mihalek

It was just last summer when my buddies and I – three from the Jewish faith, one Afro-American Christian and one agnostic (that’s the closest I can describe myself in terms of a ‘belief system’) – were having a conversation (not trash talking like Donald Trump)  in a squash club’s locker room.

To my disbelief, the oldest of us who had experienced the dreadful times when Jews were blatantly discriminated against, emphatically announced,

“Come November, if Trump becomes the president, everyone in this room should prepare themselves to kiss goodbye to their civil liberties and peaceful lives.”

At that time, Trump didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell to succeed. There was more going against him than anything for him. Although I followed my friend’s discourse intently, I just shrugged off his comments and moved on with the hope that Democrats will cruise to victory.

Obviously, to the utter dismay of yours truly and countless others, things didn’t go as anticipated and here we are months later, witnessing President Donald Trump with his coterie of warmongers in charge of the White House in perhaps the strangest and the most unprecedented time in recent American history.

The words of my dear squash mate, an established medical researcher who was born in Hitler’s Germany and forced out of his homeland as an infant with his family, now haunt me. In today’s America, diversity is considered to be a ‘weakness’ and ethics, values, standards, and educated conversation are giving way to straight shooting, brash ideals, loose talk and an ideological shift to hostility and militancy based on hatred and bigotry. It the kind of stuff that keeps me awake at night.

Trump is laying the basis of a fundamentally unsound and stressful environment. He’s a loose cannon; illogical, unfettered, blabber mouth who likes to put his point across by using no more than 140 characters that predominantly objectify realities and put to shame our existence as Americans.

Trump undoubtedly has a knack for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time or simply staying quiet when the entire universe expects him to speak up. Case in hand is the recent spate of threats that the Jewish community was subjected to and the desecration of cemeteries in several states.

While the Muslims stood by their Jewish brethren in this time of horror in an unusual show of strength and support, Trump didn’t utter a word condemning the acts of vandalism. As anti-Semitism carried on in full swing, Trump was too busy holding campaign-style  rallies and trying to grab headlines (or whatever else one can creatively imagine).

It took a tremendous amount of public pressure and prompting for Trump to blurt out a few words admonishing the perpetrators of violence against Jews and the destruction of their sacred sites. Those words came out of his mouth at a meeting that was supposed to honour African American folks.

It seems that the concept of time and place is a problem for the president and it’s become the entire nation’s headache. What he did at the National Prayer Breakfast, for instance, was yet another example of his brain haemorrhaged existence. How he kept completely silent about the Quebec mosque massacre was astonishing as well. How he made up a terrorist act in Sweden was nothing less than the fact that he is a ‘fitnah (discord) and thrives in spreading chaos.

I keep scratching my head, wondering if the US can claim to be a western leader it once was anymore. Prior to Trump, there wasn’t any active destruction of roots by a national actor. True, there’s been an increasing heterogeneity of society where social cohesion became a challenge and traditional values got undermined. However, even in the most turbulent of times and despite lots of cognitive dissonance that has taken over between generations, the spirit of community and oneness at the ground level has continued.

Presidents over the years have worked toward unifying communities and ethnicities in spite of all the differences. Not this president, however. It is safe to say that Trump is the reason why the American society is progressively coming to a halt from backbreaking phenomenon like anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. He is pitting people against each other and making them question the loyalty, integrity and intentions of those around them.

I hate to say this but to stand validated and vindicated in Trump’s America, it seems one’s got to be Caucasian and Christian. I just said something that for me and for millions of other Americans would have been nothing less than an outright taboo. This is because we were part of the great Melting Pot but now that Melting Pot is cracking under pressure.

The point is that there’s no point anymore, nothing matters; reason, prudence, decency, politeness and deep-thinking have all made their untraditional exit. What matters now are fuss, fear, isolationism, anti-globalism, nuclearisation, lies, guns and ammunition, hostility and rhetoric. We seem to be suffering from a degenerative disease that’ll eventually paralyse us.

My association with the Jewish faith has long, historical roots. I may not worship or believe in any religion known to mankind but I do respect each and every level of human conscience and try to seek spirituality at each juncture of my life. When I lost my parents at a relatively young age, the guy who came forward and held me together for eons happens to be a Jewish rabbi.

Without Rabbi Abraham, I would’ve lost my way in life. We often talk about what’s going on around us and he remembers the days when he, as a young lad, was refused service in the US government because of his religion. He fears that those days are coming back.

Abraham wants me to stay positive; pray, persevere and have faith. He often reminds me of Bruce Lee’s words when asked if he thought of himself as a Chinese or North American:

“I want to think of myself as a human being, because under the sky, we are but one family. It just so happens, we look different”.

Applying ourselves to these memorable words, at least to my mind, is the best we can do to counter Trump’s buffoonery that has become the hallmark of our declining fortunes. By sticking together, we shall overcome.

Ahson Saeed Hasan

Ahson Saeed Hasan

The writer is a proud American, a peacenik who has traveled well over 80 countries and lived in four continents. He likes to share his experiences and reflect on the worldly surroundings. He tweets @tweetingacho (twitter.com/tweetingacho)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Parvez

    Is Trumps America ( as you like to call it ) the real America ? …… I don’t think so.Recommend

  • Patwari

    See,…you are showing your true colors.
    This blog is about the Yellow Haired Man who
    is a racist a bigot a misogynist and got elected
    as president of US. The whole world is aghast.
    This blog is NOT about Pakland or the Muslim
    World.
    Do you understand?Recommend

  • Rohan

    Haffez saeed is the jehadi twin of trumpRecommend

  • Rohan

    Just like in Pakistan you have to be Sunni and punjabiRecommend