My parents were avid travelers, and as an only child, I was privileged to accompany them in their adventures to far away countries like Australia, Ireland, France, and many more. After every trip, as we returned to the United States, my mother and I shared the same sentiments of safety and security as our plane’s wheels touched down on American soil. I can distinctly remember exclaiming, “We have rights again!” as an eight-year-old returning from France. Since then, proclaiming our rights on American soil has become a sort of tradition every time my parents and I return from a vacation.
That sentiment is gone. I sit in my bedroom in my college house in Ann Arbor, Michigan incredulous at the disease that has ravaged this nation. After yesterday’s #MuslimBan from the Trump administration, we are no longer a land of the free but a land of taking freedoms. We are no longer a home of the brave, but rather a home of cowards and ignorance. Perhaps we never were either in the first place. Trump, as he sits in his bigotry and hate, is only a symptom of the virulence that brews in the heart of America. He does not come to power; his cabinet does not descend upon this nation, if a vast number of Americans were not steadfast in their racism, sexism, and disregard for human life. This disease has finally come into mainstream light and into the world’s eyes. The disease is a master of manipulation and clever propaganda. Another master manipulator once said, “The task of propaganda does not lie in the scientific training of individuals, but in directing the masses…You always have to appeal to the emotions and far less to the so-called intellect…effective propaganda has to concentrate on very few points and drive them home through simple slogans…The task in propaganda lies not in weighing the right and wrong, but in driving home your own point of view.” This manipulator was Adolf Hitler in his notorious Mein Kampf.
I study at one of the world’s greatest educational institutions and learn from and amongst the brightest of our generation. As fulfilling and gratifying as that may be, I live in a wonderful bubble- a bubble that values and aspires to expand scientific research, a bubble that advocates for the complete equality and autonomy of women and the various intersections they have engrained in their identities, a bubble that understands the importance of diversity and human kindness. As a woman and a child of incredibly hard-working immigrants, I am sub-human in the eyes of the current regime. And I say regime instead of administration purposefully.
However, there is hope. There is hope because this country has bred leaders like Michelle and Barack Obama who are not just tolerant, but embrace all walks of human life. There is hope because the world marched along American women as we stood our ground. There is hope because our amazing African American, Hispanic, and Muslim brothers and sisters have not stopped fighting against a system that works to keep them down the most. We aspire for peace, but demand justice. The time for appeasement and compromise is over. We will not the atrocities of yesterday (and I mean yesterday in a broad sense and in a literal sense) continue today.