In 2008 I voted for Obama because he promised to bring change. Even though I knew he was a politician I fell into the trap of believing him, suspending all my sanity, my reasoning and thought that change will happen; despite knowing deep down that he may have limitations.
Because the American political system is so structured, with the congress and the senate, the lobbyist and what not, that there is little room for maneuvering. Due to the rigidness of the system politicians cannot do what they promise. Additionally bi-partisan system has totally polarized America.
But I always take politicians’ promises with a huge pinch of salt. And Obama came across better than John McCain. Above all I voted Obama because of who he was. I thought America badly needs diversity.
When in 1988 Benazir Bhutto was a prime minister candidate I was in her favor because she was a woman and I thought she will diversity to Pakistan. She disappointed, not only me, but also million of Pakistanis. Because her government was as corrupt as her father. She, like her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was power hungry and her PPP party members were hooligans. Her husband, Asif Zardari, was so corrupt that he was known as Mr. ten percent because he took ten percent commission in all and every business that he could lay his hands on. I had no sympathies when her government was dissolved in 1990, three years before her full term. Ironically the responsible person was the President who also belonged to PPP. I despaired and worried about the condition of Pakistan when she was elected again in 1993-1996. But she didn’t deserve to die, the way she did.
Talking of politics I grew up with this thing in Pakistan where people even in a nucleus family may vote for different candidates. Political discussions were everywhere; at home, with friends at parties, with colleagues and everyone openly participated. People openly declared whom will they vote for. I remember fiercely debating and arguing, with my siblings, for or against a candidate. But everyone was all right with each other after the arguments.
So, imagine my surprise when I first came to America and saw people not revealing their political viewpoint. In the beginning, as a naïve, I started talking opening about my political viewpoint but then I realized nobody responded. I was perplexed so I asked a friend and she told me that people don’t like to discuss politics because some people take discussion personal.
I adapted to the new political culture and stopped discussing politics with friends. But during current American presidential campaign I am openly expressing my opinion about politicians. I give the credit to Trump for that because of his plan of issuing ID to American Muslims. I don’t care if someone gets offended because this is not a neutral issue. It’s the bigotry of Trump that I can’t stand. Additionally I cannot get over my idea that this is how Hitler must have started; slowly and gradually sewing the seeds of Nazism. This is how he must have incited people against gypsies, gays, disabled and not the least European Jews. Once a seed is sewn then it takes root and it shoots up some time or the other. If not checked and curbed it can kill millions of people.
But then whoever I talked to agreed with my viewpoint of Trump. For the first time I thought thank God my friends and I have same viewpoint. Earlier it didn’t matter about friends having different viewpoint because such moral issues were not at the root.
A few months ago I met a woman but I didn’t know her political affiliation because I don’t go out of my way to ask people.
One day during a long telephone conversation she told me that she was Republican and she would vote for Trump because he will bring the change. According to her America badly needed a big change.
I said, “But he is a bigot and would issue ID to American Muslims and ban all Muslims coming to the U.S.” She said that he was banning entry for only those who didn’t have visas.
“No, he said all Muslims. British Muslims have been denied entry to the U.S. despite having American visa. Ok, forget about visas. What about issuing ID?” I asked.
“Well, he is saying that only some particular Muslims will be issued ID.”
“No, he said all Muslim will be issued IDs,” I said and thought did she really hear what she said?
“Well, I know Trump is good at choosing his advisors and he gets good advise but he doesn’t always listen. He does what he wants.”
“He is listening to his advisors who are telling him to say these things. If his advisors are not telling him to say then he is doing what he wants.
“To me one human being discriminating against another human is wrong,” I said.“Yes, but I know Trump is not like this. He just says it. He will listen to his advisor and I know he surrounds himself with good advisors.”
“And good advisors are telling him to issue ID cards to American Muslims,” I said.
“Well, Trump is financially successful. He knows how to run businesses,” she said.
“But running a country is not like running a business,” I said.
We kept talking back and forth and finally I said that we don’t agree on the same thing. I’m against him because of his bigotry. He called Mexicans drug dealers, rapist and murderers. Look how Trump attacked Fiorina or whatever her name is I said and my friend said that Fiorina was his opponent.
“What about his attack on Hillary?”
“What attack?” asked my friend. And I thought never mind if she doesn’t know about it I am not trying to keep on pointing out his outlook.
“I voted for Obama the first time, even though I am Republican. But he couldn’t bring the change because of there were so many things that he couldn’t maneuver through.” I told her that I also did the same but the second time I didn’t feel like voting because I was disappointed. Besides Muslim surveillance was increased during his time.
So I asked how did she think Trump would maneuver the system that Obama couldn’t. He will be constrained by the same structure. She kept saying that he chooses good advisors and he was a successful with money. We went around in circles. She was totally convinced that he will bring change and I was telling her over and over again that the changes brought by Trump will not be good.
“Well, it’s good we can discuss about politics and hear other’s opinion because what I have found here is that I can’t openly discuss politics here,” I said.
She said that she had lost a good friend because of politics. They were supporting different parties and after the voting the friend severed all relationship with her. I told her that it didn’t matter if people belong to different parties. But for this election what matters is the bigotry. It’s like before when people were against African Americans. Then there was Japanese Internment. According to a documentary on History Channel it was Eleanor Roosevelt who told the President to allow Jews to enter the U.S. during and after the Second World War. She also invited a Japanese to the White House to show solidarity while Roosevelt had put them in Internment. This is not the first time America has done something like this.
Somehow the conversation turned into how so many Pakistanis are now in England and I said well they should be because their country was colonized. After all Pakistanis are from the Indian subcontinent. Britain had colonized Indian subcontinent. All other European countries had colonized countries around the world. They looted those countries, took their wealth, murdered people. Now is the time for those people to live in Europe. When Europeans came to America they oppressed the natives. How they went to South American countries and killed people while they were busy in worshipping ceremonies. So, it’s time for a pay back. Besides, people migrate and the trend was always there and will always be there.
We finally concluded our conversation. Since our conversation I had been thinking bout whether we should remain friends or not. Never have I cared about political issues of my friends but if a friend agrees with what Trump has been saying then I have to think really hard. It’s moral and ethical dilemma.
Would you be friends with a person who supports a bigot?