Dear Friend Who Can Do Better:
I hope you are well. I thought about messaging you directly, but since you have made your disdain for my recent views quite public, it strikes me as more appropriate to respond to your concerns publicly as well – and to ask people you trust to lead this conversation with you afterwards.
Yesterday’s pathetic spectacle involved a question about “what candidates would do about domestic terrorism,” which we all understood as a half-assed attempt to veil the real question: “What will you do about Muslims who live here?”
Muslims picked up on this quick, but you didn’t.
Hillary didn’t bother hiding the actual question in her answer. She spoke about an “intelligence surge” (guess who against?) and said Trump’s insults to Muslims were silly. Because they undermine civil liberties and kill people? No. Because they make it less likely that Muslims will “cooperate with law enforcement.” Law enforcement – the same state agency that kills citizens with impunity. (You must agree with that much since you sometimes post “Black Lives Matter.”)
The U.S. Counter-Terrorism Policy has conducted surveillance, tortured and killed Muslims domestically and abroad for years. These are policies that Clinton supports. These are things that will continue to happen when she becomes president. These are things I won’t be able to avoid just because she’s president instead of Trump. These are things which I, as a human being, find deeply troubling and worth naming.
What I also find deeply troubling is our political system’s complete lack of regard for the majority of victims of domestic terror; people who are killed by White and other non-Muslim male shooters weekly (be they agents of the state or otherwise). There are shootings, bombings, stabbings that harm hundreds (thousands?) of people annually, but amount to zero media coverage or government policy. Why? Because they do not conveniently fit racist narratives of “terror” that are used to justify war and occupation.
This is the point I was making in a post of mine yesterday:
- Candidates and presidential debates are able to use “Muslim” and “domestic terror” synonymously while ignoring the actual culprits of mass murder in our country.
This is the point that you found nonsensical and suggested were worse than Lena Dunham’s (a White belligerent racist) bullshit.
I get you think Trump is bad. I think he’s bad too. I also think Clinton has terrible policies. And when she becomes president on a wave of liberals singing “yes, Queen,” she will have complete latitude to implement violence.
You might respond and say, “the time for critique is after the election.” But your nastiness now is a reminder that liberals have little patience for this brand of murder, and likely won’t after the election either.
I know you’ve shifted significantly in your views. I hope your friends (our friends) will take this moment to encourage you to go further.
I get that you pride yourself on being unabashedly frank, but for you to publicly call our exhaustion with our “citizenship being conditioned on cooperation with killers” nonsense – well, that isn’t honesty. In fact, it shows a gross lack of understanding of Islamophobia.
It also shows a level of uncalled for nastiness and a lack of decency. You should know better than to disparage concerns about violence (especially when coming from people who share many of the same loved ones as you.)
To our mutual friends, we live in a world and an election cycle that continues to give a pass for anti-Muslim violence. I hope you’ll take it from here and engage with this friend and others about how their views foster violence.
(Originally posted on Facebook. Edited by Maysoon Khatib.)