The emotional aftereffects of this campaign cycle will be felt for a long time to come. Asma Khalid from NPR opened up about her experience as a journalist during the election, meeting GOP voters, following canvassers and interviewing people in churches and diners across the US. From being prodded about the Muslim register, to being yelled off a front lawn, her story is eye-opening to say the least, and an emotional rollercoaster, no doubt. All while she observed and wrote, didn’t argue back. A beautifully written piece, Asma’s experience feels like an amalgamation of all the hurt, doubt and confusion we have felt as a community since 9/11.
“Through tears, I told her that if I had known my sheer existence — just the idea of being Muslim — would be a debatable issue in the 2016 election, I would never have signed up to do this job.
To friends and family, I looked like a masochist. But I was too invested to quit.
I was hired by NPR to cover the intersection of demographics and politics. My job required crisscrossing the country to talk to all kinds of voters. I attended rallies and town halls for nearly every candidate on both sides of the aisle, and I met people in their homes, churches and diners.
All year long, my single job was to tell the stories of voters. I met a Trump-supporting mom who had lost her son in Afghanistan, an evangelical wife who worried that race relations had gotten worse because of President Obama, a former military man afraid of Muslim terrorists.
I always tried to understand their fears. But, so many times, this empathy felt like a one-way street.”
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(Photo: Ariel Zambelich/NPR)