I want you to know that I take your Trump sign personally. I take it personally because I have a vagina, or as your favored candidate might say, a “p***y.” My daughter has one, too. And I figure if you’re okay with a p***y-grabber for President, you might just be one yourself. I assume you vetted the guy before you put that sign on your lawn, facing my home, in our safe and quiet suburban neighborhood. The latest news, I bet, reaches you before it reaches me, since we don’t have cable television at our house. But your loud, proud sign supporting a sexual predator for President is still out there, right alongside the quiet part of the block, where my kids sometimes practice riding their bikes. I don’t think we’ll be riding our bikes near your place any more.
I want you to know that I take your Trump sign personally. I take it personally because I’m Muslim. Not a terrorist, although Trump seems to conflate the two with frightening regularity. I’m hoping you can stand in for Trump and explain to my children why their 75-year-old Muslim grandma shouldn’t be allowed to visit them from London anymore. Or why we should have to be on a special list because we pray a particular way. Or why our mosques have become a target of vandalism and arson. Or why we now have to worry about being attacked or killed on American streets for being Muslim.
I want you to know that I take your Trump sign personally. I take it personally because my husband passes for black in a lot of places. Your candidate has emboldened racists to commit hate crimes, and used dog whistles and lies to scapegoat communities of color. Trump has attracted the staunch support of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and the endorsement of the Ku Klux Klan, and has been known to retweet the account @WhiteGenocideTM. Trump’s candidacy makes this country a more dangerous place for my husband to live every day because of the color of his skin.
I don’t know the shape of your own hate, but I can tell from your sign that Trump’s sits comfortably with you.
I want you to know I that I take your Trump sign personally. I take it personally because I send my kids to school in a country that had 20 school shootings last year. Donald Trump suggested that his followers would or at least could shoot Hillary Clinton. Your sign tells me that you think American elections should be bloody. I want to raise my family in a country where they can go to schools, play in parks, walk down streets, shop in stores, and participate in electoral politics all without fear of being gunned down. Instead, I’m across the street trying to figure out how to explain lockdown drills to my kindergartener.
It’s not just politics, you understand. I’m pretty sure your politics are terrible, but I’m willing to not be offended by them. It’s that your sign tells me that you stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a sexual predator, a misogynist, a bigot, and a racist, one who is willing to see this country descend into violence and chaos. Your sign says Trump, but it also screams “c*nt,” “terrorist,” “get out,” and I take that very personally.
Your Neighbor Across the Street
Sofia Ali-Khan is a Muslim American public interest lawyer and writer. Her recently viral post, “Dear Non-Muslim Allies,” and other writings can be found at sofiaalikhan.com.