The day after the election

News flash: The man who has no political experience, has openly mocked African Americans and called hispanics rapists, has been elected as America’s 45th President. He has repeatedly called for banning muslims and was caught on tape promoting the sexual assault of women. This man won the election! During his acceptance speech, he said “I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans.”

Unfortunately, most of us were not reassured by this pledge. Understandably, Muslim Americans are among the most devastated minorities since hearing news of his victory.  I spoke to dozens of Muslim friends yesterday who expressed their disgust, fear, and sadness over the election results. One friend graciously shared her feelings surrounding this election and the years to come.

 

Bushra Begum is a 35 year old Muslim American from New York City.

 

What was your reaction after you heard that Trump had won the election?

I was in utter shock. A huge wave of sadness filled my heart. I cried until I fell back asleep. I really wanted this to be a bad dream that I could wake up from but it wasn’t.  I felt disappointed in my fellow Americans. This was my first time voting and I felt cheated.

Honestly, I tried to go to bed before the results were announced because I know wouldn’t be able to sleep if I found out the results weren’t what I wanted. I woke up at 5:45am and was nervous to check my phone. Lately Facebook has been my news outlet and that’s what I checked first. To my disappointment, Trump had won the election.

I obviously voted for Hillary for many reasons but mainly because she had more political experience. Though Hillary has her own vices, she seemed fair to me in her proposed policies and a candidate with an actual understanding of government, foreign relations and would have been a better fit for the office of presidency.

Trump, in my opinion, has showed his true colors throughout the campaign as a racist, sexist, and incompetent candidate who is totally unfit to hold such a high office.

I had high hopes throughout the election that Hillary would win but it started to dwindle with her email scandal, which took over the media so close to Election Day. I started to worry even more seeing her opponents turning out at his rallies, to join thousands of his supporters. It was very disturbing to hear all the hateful messages that were shouted and to see the violence, which he didn’t even condemn.

 

“I don’t feel free.

I feel scared to leave home. 

I feel scared for the future of our children.”

 

Describe the conversation in your house the morning after the results were announced? 

That morning, my husband reassured me that everything would be okay. He explained to me that Trump said whatever he needed to so he could get elected. That his policies would never follow through. He told me not to worry about the economy but just focus on our child’s well being and my health. I’m expecting.

I FaceTimed with my parents early in the morning. I couldn’t help but cry my eyes out and asked them what is going to happen to us and our future. My dad reassured me that Trump will not be the same man that we saw during his campaign, that he will change. I pray my dad is right.

In your opinion, what does Trump’s victory signify? What does it say about us as a nation in the 21st century?

His victory signifies how backwards this country is going. This is supposed to be “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” I don’t feel free. I feel scared to leave home. I feel scared for the future of our children. Our parents left their homelands for us, for our future, for our education, to escape the oppression they felt in their home countries. Now, I feel like that was all in vain.

All of us, unless we are Native American, are immigrants in this country. I feel that the message Trump is sending is that America only belongs to the caucasians and everyone else needs to find another place to go. I was born and raised in New York City. This is the only place I call home. I have no where else to go. Today, for the first time in all my 35 years, I feel unwanted. I feel unwelcome in my own country.

Has your hope for the future of this country changed after this election?

My hope has drastically changed for the future of this country. I don’t believe Donald Trump is capable of being a good president, not with his racists values and beliefs.. He doesn’t respect minorities, women, Muslims, or Mexicans, just to name a few. I cannot respect a man who doesn’t respect the concept of equality.

 

“I was born and raised in New York City.

This is the only place I call home. I have no where else to go.”

Your thoughts on how the future of your kids as they grow up in America? Are you hopeful they’ll feel safe and a part of this democracy?

This is my major concern, the future of our children. I am an expecting mother and am so fearful of what my daughter will have to endure. I worry about my nieces and nephews who are in elementary school, about them being bullied and discriminated against because their names aren’t “Jennifer” or “Michael”.

I pray for a safe future for all our children as our parents prayed for and were able to provide for us. As children of immigrant parents, I know what my parents gave up for us. I never expected to be here today, worrying about my unborn daughter’s future in the United States of America. I pray that my daughter and all immigrant children feel safe growing up. Unfortunately, I don’t think they will feel proud to be an American…their feelings will be radically different than ours. And that’s the saddest truth in all this.

 

 “Today, I feel like I don’t belong here.

For the first time in my life, I feel unwanted in a country i’ve lived in for 35 years.”

 

So in the end, are you hopeful at all?

I want to be hopeful but I fear for the hatred that’s rooted deep down in the hearts of millions of Americans. It that finally came to light during this election. We all know that racism exists but I feel that now Americans will think it’s okay to be openly racist. That it’s acceptable in society to openly hate because our leader is hateful. That’s what concerns me the most.

I was born in this country. I consider myself a Muslim American. Today, I feel like I don’t belong here. For the first time in my life, I feel unwanted in a country i’ve lived in for 35 years. My only hope is that our Muslim communities across America, through our actions, promote a message of peace, love, and compassion. That we promote a message of equality and justice. We need to show our fellow citizens that we’re not angry and violent people.

My sincere request and message to my muslim brothers and sisters is to live the Prophet’s message and become examples of love. Let’s be kinder than ever before. Let everyone know that Islam is a religion of peace and equality. That’s my message.

 

Check out our latest conversation on being Muslim in America today.

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