This year, what will be my birthday present?
My birthday falls the day after the election. The first time this happened, I could not vote, because it was my 18th birthday. I missed being able to vote by one day. I was still in boarding school, had pulled a bit of an all-nighter, was hyper from too much coffee… watching the election results and at midnight being triumphantly bitter about being able to vote, one day late.
This year, I am scared. I’m not bitter. I am genuinely scared.
I was originally going to entitle this: to all my Republican ‘friends’ who are still voting for Donald Trump. But it is bigger than just feeling that people I care about don’t care about me. It is bigger than feeling that people I thought were my friends are voting for a man who wants to deny me my rights on many levels.
On my birthday I will wake up, and either get the news that Trump has won, and the end of the world is at hand, or that Clinton has won, and there is rioting by Trump’s supporters who believe that the election was rigged.
Either way it is dangerous. What happens to me when the person down the street, a Trump supporter, who just knows me as the Arab woman, is angry? Or the cops, running my plates, see one of those Arab names.
I’m lucky, I don’t look particularly Arab. But in some ways, that is part of the problem. If I presented more as the stereotypical ‘Arab’ woman, maybe my friends would have to think more about their choices. But then again, maybe they wouldn’t really be my friends.
Either way, though, it is going to be a hell of a Birthday.