When 9/11 happened, I remember the ghost town-like feeling during the days/weeks that followed. Everyone was in a state of shock, collectively stunned by what had happened – contemplating the sheer magnitude of our loss. Of course the mass devastation touched each one of us in this country deeply but as a Muslim-American, there was another consequence yet to build into something unstoppable.
That morning, the world had changed. It was as if there was a thin layer on everything; a layer of distrust, disdain, blame – fear and also hatred. For the first time in my 31 years of age at that point I had been on the receiving end of dirty looks because of my appearance; the color of my skin and the supposed shared culture with the perpetrators of that atrocity. Honestly, I didn’t know how to handle it. Just as my fellow-Americans were grieving for 9/11, I was equally upset and appalled, scared and confused, feeling hopeless and helpless. It took a while for that feeling to go away or at least be numbed enough for life to go on close to as usual as possible.
Fast forward to today. The election has been a rollercoaster of emotions, ranging from hope (as I wholeheartedly supported Bernie) to powerlessness after witnessing my idol fall short of the nomination, to despair as the election unearthed a nastiness I didn’t believe was still prevalent in our great country. Unbelievable was the negative rhetoric, blatant racism, ethnocentricity and bigotry exposing itself as an invisible problem and finally the ugly underbelly of the worst kind of sexism you could imagine.
I am a single mom, a progressive Muslim and a minority. I write this knowing that in less than 24 hours, I will have to blindly accept the fate of my children and myself. There will be two very different outcomes to this story and they couldn’t be more different. Since this crazy election began, I have felt small tremors of aftershocks with each newly derogative comment coming from the Trump campaign or someone associated with it. I’ve had to send my kids off to school wondering and worrying about the environment they may need to face; unsure if they will be faced by the very racism and demagoguery that I’ve been shielding them from. I’ve experienced a marked change in my business (self employed and reliant on my self to get and keep my clientele). Most hurtful of all, I’ve watched a steady degradation of the communication between people in my social media circles as the lines of separation slowly went from zig-zagged, to slightly blurry and now crystal clear.
Very soon, like countless others who feel they have been talked at rather than talked to, I will learn the fate of my children, myself and those who share a similar background with me – and never have I ever been so afraid for all of our futures. So when I tell you why “I’m with her” it’s because Hillary Clinton is the best choice for me, my family, our future and quite frankly, the future of all of us.