Dear Republicans, conservatives, independents, undecideds, and anyone else who is willing to listen:

Being a single-issue voter in this election is OK. I promise you. And this is the issue —

You vote for the guy who ISN’T a power-hungry and virulent racist, grifter, fraud, cheat, autocrat, megalomaniac, narcissist, and pathological liar who assaults women, revels in the misery of others, delegitimizes the press, undermines elections, obstructs justice, profits from official acts, bolsters dangerous conspiracy theories, coddles criminals and dictators, dismisses dire warnings and briefings, abdicates responsibilities, and emboldens white supremacists to commit violence against fellow Americans.

Single. Issue.

This isn’t a hard choice. …

Shortly after the first bombs fell on Baghdad, the FBI began interviewing Iraqis living in the United States. I was one of those people, even though I’m not Iraqi and never have been. More on that in a minute.

Image for post
Image for post
(Courtesy Deirdre O’Sullivan)

My father is Indian, my mother Czech. With the exception of a six-year stint in Italy, I’ve lived in New York City since I was 2. I’m about to turn 46.

On May 9, 1997, in a building in Lower Manhattan, I stood shoulder to shoulder with other immigrants, raised my right hand, and, as part of the naturalization oath of allegiance to the United States of America, renounced all loyalty to foreign princes, potentates, et al. …

When I walked through the threshold of the jetliner’s pressure door, I was struck by the sudden change in temperature. The tropical country’s monsoon-season humidity hit me, forming a sheen of moisture on my skin. Even my lungs felt wet. I had finally arrived after an unbearable trip that had spanned three continents in two days. My departure from JFK seemed long ago. Now, I found myself half a world away, in Burma, to bid farewell to my grandmother. She wasn’t gone yet, but I was making this trip knowing she had little time remaining.

Mom and Baba embracing
Mom and Baba embracing
Mom and Baba

I had never been to Burma, also called Myanmar, before that September 1997 trip. My father was a United Nations official posted there from 1995 to 1998. He picked me up at the airport in his chauffeur-driven official car and brought me to the multi-story house he shared with my mother and grandmother. The house and yard were sheltered behind a tall stone wall. The home was massive compared to the urban apartments I was used to when we lived in New York and Rome. It had several bedrooms plus a patio, living room, dining area, study, sitting room, and more. My father employed seven local people, including a cook, to take care of the house, the garden, and my grandmother’s needs. This kind of life was all but impossible for my family in the West, but was common for foreign officials living in developing nations. …


Arun Kristian Das

Arun has survived TV news, print and digital journalism, and book publishing. He is also a certified running coach and a licensed New York sightseeing guide.

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