I heard that Trump won the election the night I was at a sleep study. The technician woke me up and told me and I had this terrible sinking feeling right through my body.
For days I was upset, walking around in a daze. And then I told myself, “Look, you’re Canadian, alhamdu lillah. This doesn’t affect you that much.”
Oh, but it does!
It’s a new reality.
I watched the coverage of the women’s march last Saturday, cheered on all the Muslims who were going, and felt good about it, but couldn’t go myself. And to be honest, even if I hadn’t been busy, I probably still wouldn’t have gone.
I don’t think protests are all that useful.
Big ones are, I guess. But all the ones I went to felt like a huge waste of time.
Why not save your energy for other things.
I wrote a Facebook post for example. Probably ill advised.
Why do I always feel the need to play devil’s advocate?
I wanted to warn all the people who are completely devastated that Trump won, that they’re going to have to be patient.
I think white people, and even white women, are used to being able to click their fingers or something and fix whatever ails them.
It’s so nice to see such confidence and enthusiasm.
But don’t they realize it’s exhausting to be in protest mode? And we’re talking a period of four years!
He’s got at least four years, unless he’s impeached, which is a very high probability.
I wanted to warn them not to demonize the other side, but rather to try to understand them.
Everything happens for a reason.
And I said, hey you’ve only been disappointed and embarrassed by your leadership for a few days, I’ve been disappointed in Muslim leadership for more than sixteen years!
What was the biggest lesson I’ve learned through all those bitter disappointments?
That the people who claim to represent me as leaders, don’t define me. I am a separate and distinct entity.
I am responsible for who and what I am, my flaws and my admirable characteristics, both.
No one else.
And so are you!
And whatever a boneheaded leader does, it doesn’t reflect on who we are.
That’s what those who disagree with Trump as their new president have to learn.
I think they also have to realize that they’re dealing with an awful lot of people who do agree with him.
Soon after the inauguration I saw a Facebook post of a fellow children’s author saying how happy she was that Trump had won, and how uncomfortable she’d felt for eight years as others had sung the praises of the Obamas.
And as I read her post, I realized what a mistake it was to openly talk about politics. And this will probably be my last post on politics as well.
I found myself thinking less of her.
Even though she was right, she had every right to express her opinion.
And then I thought of how other people must have viewed my posts.
Politics, like religion is so intensely emotional. A lot of people identify so completely with the people they support that they view criticism of their leaders as criticism of themselves.
It’s silly, but it’s the way it is.
The funny thing is I’m actually not totally liberal. I have conservative leanings as well. I can actually kind of understand why Trump supporters are so enraged that they’d support him. But I think they were seduced.
He is not what they think he is, but time will tell.
One piece of advice I can give, because I think I’m pretty darn good at it, is to be patient!
Be patient over the next four years.
Keep striving towards the good you want to see in the world, and do not abandon your principles in order to create short cuts you think might be justified at the time. The end does not justify the means! The means are important!
I believe that God doesn’t change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.
That means that if you’re rolling along and everything’s peaceful, things won’t change unless you yourself do something that changes your fundamental nature.
And if you’re going through life at war with everyone nothing is going to change until you change your fundamental nature.
It goes both ways.
I’ve found this true of my life.
And it’s true in general.
I don’t believe in abandoning my principles. In that way extremism lies.
And extremism is the worst. You have to remain steadfast, you have to remain patient. Work towards the good, talk to those who you disagree with, try to understand and reason with them. Not all of them can be swayed, but some can. And always always appeal to people’s better nature.
Good luck with it!
It’s going to be a bumpy ride!