There is a story behind this. And it involves raw emotion.
During each and every presidential debate, the "who's family history is sadder" section which all candidates talked about their misfortunes growing up, I would roll my eyes. My friends, whom I had dragged into my sad debate watching "party", would seem confused and ask me why I shrug my shoulders when someone on that platform bring up something that potentially manipulates people's emotions.
These aren't their exact words. They obviously didn't use the words "manipulation" or "emotion". For them, it was all about stories on how this one candidate touched this one immigrant mom's life.
Great. I don't understand how that's an answer to the question on immigration reform though. To avoid anymore awkwardness, I'd cheerfully say, "must be an American thing!"
Spoiler alert: I am an immigrant. My star-spangled adventure started when I won a scholarship to come here, to the U.S., and study at a Christian school as a Muslim woman. Fresh off the b-, well, plane; very little English; no hijab and totally a third world feminist, I made my way through college into the adult life just with bruised self-faith. What kept me going was texting my parents good morning and the hope that the day I won't have to text them, because they will be here with me. I have U.S. citizenship by birth. I am an immigrant, as I am also an anchor baby by definition. I have always dreamed about bringing them here; so much, that when our CFO asked me what kept me up at night, I said, "my job". My job, because without it I can't pay the bills; I can't save up to bring my parents; I can't help to set up a a good life for our family. You see? Everything revolves around them.
Naturally, my friends, my closest circle of friends knew about this dream of mine. They supported it. They said, "Oh, you are barely a Muslim. You don't count." I put that into quotes because they are their words. Then they voted for Trump; a guy not just a Islamophobe, but also a racist who feeds on the 50's gender dynamics. Like a dogwhisperer, he also took everyone like him out of the shadows. When I went to the airport as a volunteer interpreter, I saw chaos. I saw how people from random Middle Eastern countries outside the banned ones were still not let into the country. There were people, HELL, there was apparently a 5-year-old who was detained for hours before she was able to see her mother. Good job though, really, I'm sure your ignorant butt up in Michigan feels safer now that a 5-year-old got detained.
At the airport, I spotted what I used to see in my home country; the insecurity on people's faces wondering what will happen to them now. Most of them were miserable at home, that's why they picked up what they could, left the rest among with many relationships, broken hearts, the streets they were familiar with and the language they spoke in. Now they have to suffer in the U.S., so claimed the land of opportunities. They remember; this is not what they were promised after waiting for that damn lottery Green Card for 13 years.
Rewinding to November 9th. I'm in my bed, it is 3 pm on a rainy day in DC. My Whatsapp notifications are only two, both from my parents. Checking my phone every 20 minutes, no calls. Next time I talk to one of my friends I initiate the call and it is way into January. She is telling me, "yeah but he won't do half the things he said he'd do." I flinched. "So you voted for someone who won't live up to his promises or will turn this into an autocracy?"
No answer. She probably didn't know how to spell the word "autocracy."
I can't forgive my friends. I can't forgive that they were moved by those politicians' stories but were not even touched by mine. I can't forgive they voted so I can't reunite with my parents. I can't forgive.
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Stop Graham Cassidy
Senior Full Stack Engineer