My mom is from Bangladesh. That is where she lives. She comes and visits us once every two or three years. She loves antiques. So every visit, we are forced to drive up and down highways in rural Virginia and spend hours in roadside country stores looking at obscure antiques. In one of these trips at a gas station, she met up with some bikers from West Virginia.
She was curious about their Harleys, they were curious about her sari.
One thing led to another. They became friends. And they took this picture. A bunch of “angry” white Americans with an elderly Muslim woman somewhere along the Virginia State Route 42.
I talked to her this morning. She is looking forward to her next visit. I did not have the heart to tell her that she may not be allowed back if Mr. Trump follows through his campaign promise (visa restrictions for Muslims).
I think she should always be welcomed. She should freely meet her friends in West Virginia and hang out wherever and whenever they want to. I think ensuring that, is an American thing to do.
What is American greatness?
I grew up in Zambia in the eighties, where the word American was synonymous with quality. Here’s a sample of what was said around town:
We will buy this car, it is made in America.
He works hard because he is an American.
Do not even think of bribing that company, their CEO is an American
This was the “professional” view of America. But folks who had American friends (my parents included) overwhelmingly said that one quality that struck them about their American friends was their compassion. They truly cared for others, no matter how different they may be.
American compassion is American Greatness
To my self-deprecating (somewhat) cynical fellow Americans
This is not just an anecdotal assertion based on a small sample size. American compassion is backed up by macro data.
- In a world when the US is losing its foothold in many areas we still rank top in humanitarian aid and personal charity
- Our armed forces have responded and helped with relief efforts in most major natural disasters around the world.
- Our immigration system is not primarily merit-based (as opposed to Canadian or Australian systems where you are scored based on your skills and background).
To the Trump supporters:
a) Who think a Trump Presidency will not take away the compassion
b) Who think a Clinton Presidency will also take away the compassion
a) You may think Mr. Trump is a good person (at least better than Ms. Clinton) but you know bad things happen at his rallies. Facebook memes may lie but a pattern of consistent behavior from a subsection of his supporters does not. His message is allowing a very small number of bad people to act in ways that YOU never would. If elected, Mr. Trump may not actively and consciously want to pursue policies that harm core American values but people around him would.
If you are tired of the establishment and are desperate for a candidate to help the US start over, find someone who brings out the best in all of us. It may take another four years but choose the right person to do this.
b) You do not like Hillary Clinton. You have your reasons. We do not have the time to argue that. But you should vote for her even if you do not like her. Because:
- You know she will maintain the status quo. That gives you four years to find your champion.
- Her rallies do not have “incidences.”
- She is respected internationally. Really.
This is a political and opinionated post. I do not write about political matters, that is not my field of expertise (or interest). I am not a fan of HRC and not even much of a democrat. I am brown. I lean towards atheism but have deep respect for the Jesuits who taught me for 12 years. I grew up in Bangladesh and Zambia. But I call America my home(land). I have believed, felt, acted as an American for the last twenty years. No matter what happens tomorrow I will stand by America, stand by her core values and the one thing — and only thing that makes her the greatest nation on Earth — her people.
But this post is about my Mom’s America. I want my Mom’s America to remain intact, for my sake and YOURS.