An open letter to everyone post Trump victory -Hasan Haider

Donald Trump will be our 45th president. He will be my president and yours, whether or not you voted for him or supported his candidacy. Believe it or not, a hashtag doesn’t exclude you from his leadership. I respect the democratic process and the office of the presidency enough to accept the results of the election, but the president-elect has a very long way to go before he earns my respect. I still strongly believe that, based on his campaign, he is entirely unfit to be president and I fear what he may do, but I am willing to see what he does before passing conclusive judgment. Until he gets to work, the rest of us need to heal from a uniquely divisive and polarizing election.

To those of us who strongly opposed him and are a bit devastated by his victory,

  • He won fair and square. We can moan about the electoral college all we want, but that isn’t new and it was always the determining factor in who won this election. It is a little upsetting to think the popular vote does not have the final say, but instead of complaining about it now we should have been fighting against it the whole time.
  • If you are a liberal who did not vote for Hillary and are now protesting Trump, let this be a lesson. The fact that he won irrefutably proves that the system is not rigged. Mark down November 6, 2018 and November 3, 2020 on your calendars. Please show up and vote strategically.
  • The way we are feeling now is the way that many of our political opponents have been feeling for the last 8 years. I know that feels like a bit of a false equivalency, but it is important to acknowledge that we all love this country enough to be this hurt when we think the wrong people lead us. Our values and visions of the future may differ but strong emotional reactions to politics come from patriotic love and the desire to shape a better society. Except for the hateful and bigoted people who happily supported the worst parts of his campaign, I see little reason to end friendships and burn bridges. The truth is that many people voted for him despite his racist policies just like many of us voted for Hillary despite being deeply troubled by her scandals and ties to Wall Street. We will likely always disagree on many things, but try to understand the frustrations that fueled such a protest against the establishment and find common ground in moving forward more united.
  • Calm the protests and save your voices for inauguration day. Stay as politically active throughout his presidency as you were during this election season. Every president campaigns differently than they preside, so now we just have to remain vigilant. As Bernie said, if he actually does improve the plight of working class Americans, then we must applaud and support those efforts. If he makes a single move at the expense of the marginalized or to make this a less inclusive country, fight back and do not compromise.
  • Do not forget that we want him to succeed. Both sides may have different ideas of what a successful Trump presidency looks like, but no matter who is in charge we should support any policy that makes America a more perfect union.

To those of you who supported him during the campaign and voted for him,

  • I need you to at least try to understand why some of us are so hurt by this. This goes beyond what we think is the best tax policy or how we feel about ObamaCare. Donald Trump, on more than one occasion, used explicitly racist rhetoric. And many of us thought and hoped that would be immediately disqualifying, but instead we watched audiences roar their approval and his numbers went up. For those of us who belong to the groups he targeted, it was extremely unsettling to watch our fellow citizens express that, essentially, they wanted us out of our home. That we are not welcome here. It is impossible to not take attacks like that personally. I imagine that many of you might not really understand that feeling, but it was and remains a very real fear. This country has a long history of taking away rights from minorities when it is afraid, so when threats like his are made we do not have the luxury of thinking he will not actually do it or that he would be unable to fulfill those promises. We have to take him at his word. Rather than mocking or being dismissive of those genuine fears, please take the time to try to understand what it feels like to belong to a group targeted by what he said on the campaign trail. It has been a somber few days coming to terms with the fact that insulting and scaring minorities was a part of a successful campaign. We never imagined that could be a winning strategy, but it worked.
  • I know a lot of you voted for him as a protest against the system, or against Hillary, or in solidarity with your party and were probably repulsed by the same rhetoric that we were. At least, I truly hope that is the case. If that is true and you now feel unfairly labeled as a racist or a misogynist, then please join us in fighting every moment of his presidency that is racist and misogynistic. Fight hate wherever it is found. We will likely disagree with you on much of his policies, but if you did not vote for racism then do not allow him to misrepresent you.
  • Congratulations. You came out to support your candidate and party when and where it mattered and because of that you will be able to see more of your own values reflected in policy. Despite strongly disagreeing with most of the Republican platform, I do believe a balance between liberal and conservative leadership is a good thing and I sincerely hope he does work towards making America great for all Americans.

You might laugh off my completely pretentious attempt at making sense of issues much more complicated than I am capable of understanding. I also don’t hate Nickelback and thought Martin O’Malley was the obvious choice for president, so you would be fully justified in doing so.

At the end of it all, I love this country. Even when it feels like that love is unrequited. I was born here and I will probably die here. I am unapologetically passionate about politics and government because I do not believe anything about this system is rigged or so far removed from us that we can do nothing to bring about the change we hope to see. I want this to be a fairer and more inclusive society. I want there to be less bigotry and misogyny. I want us to be less fearful of each other. I optimistically believe most Americans want the same things, even if they sometimes fall in different places on our list of priorities. Unfortunately, prejudice is not too hard to find so you will always be kept busy in the pursuit of equality. Stay active in the political process and be heard, not just during election season but always. This is our home and we owe it to each other to care.

Things feel crazy right now, but it will pass. Your favorite music will still move you, the Cubs still won the World Series, and Taco Bell is still amazing. Be safe, be kind, and always choose empathy over fear.



I saw a woman looking quite sad, her arms folded very stiff. I looked a little closer, could have sworn I heard a sniff. 

For those who know me, I’m not strong.

I’m not particularly smart, and I am often wrong. 

I always do my best, and very seldom is it plenty. 

Many know that my heart is never at rest, that my head is always anything but empty. 

This woman is here crying, and I don’t know how to help her stop. 

My life indeed is one big mess, still recovering from my last drop. 

How can I comfort a hurt soul

When I’m unable to see out of my own freshly dug hole? 

I realized I was helpless, couldn’t help her with what she was going through. 

So I sat down beside her, and I began to cry too. 

Remembering Amjad Sabri

Amjad Sabri was a victim of sectarianism in Islam. Not only are extremists fighting other religions, they’re fighting the religion they’re claiming to be apart of.

ISIS does not care if you are Muslim. In their minds, if you are not 100% on board with their psychotic mentality, you are an enemy, and you should die. This kind of mindset is the reason that so many Muslims are dying at the hand of other “Muslims.”

Syrian Crisis

If you’ve been keeping up with the news, you’ve most likely heard about the war in Syria and the millions of people trying to escape the violence. You’ve also likely seen the photo of a young child’s lifeless body washed upon the shores after drowning in the Mediterranean Sea.  Alan (Aylan) Kurdi, a three year Syrian, and brother Ghalib Kurdi, five years old, died on September 2nd of 2015. 

Their deaths brought major media attention to the gruesome reality of the war in the Middle East. These two children opened the eyes of the uninformed and the hearts of the humane. 

Alan and Ghalib are just two of the hundreds of children to leave this world because of the civil war.

WashingtonPost estimated that up to 250 three year old children have been killed since 2012. To put things in perspective, the age of three was chosen to represent the other hundred or so children just like Alan. That doesn’t account for the one, two, four, five, and six year olds being massacred. The only thing separating them is news coverage. And these are only the children that we know about. All of these casualties, all of these victims of war, all of these innocent lives cut to a halt. 

The Syrian crisis has been going on since March of 2011, and for about a week in September of 2015 it received major awareness. The real question is in regards to why that awareness has died down so much. The general public shared the photos on Facebook, made their statuses something about how sad it is and how we must do something, but within a few days it was forgotten. Their lives continued and this matter was barely given a second thought.

There is a saying, “just because it isn’t happening here, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.” These kids dying could be your children, your brothers or sisters, your cousins, your neighbors, your friends. 

There are many days that I read tweets from skeptical Americans, asking why America should take in people who they say are terrorists and ISIS sympathizers. The internet holds plenty of knowledge but plenty of ignorance as well. 

The United States has agreed to take in thousands of refugees, and many more in the coming years. Unfortunately, they are coming at the worst time. Racial tensions are high, Donald Trump is running for president, and there’s evidence of the KKK starting to gear up again. 

The most important thing we can do for these people is welcome them with open arms. Show them that safety and security are necessities that will be given to them. Show them that we can look past the stereotypes presented to immigrants and muslims and people of different backgrounds. 

So the answer to my question, why people forget about these heinous crimes so quickly, in my opinion can be answered in a few different ways. One way, is that people are afraid. ISIS propaganda has terrified many people, and while that is justified, fear of the middle eastern people in general is not. Some people channel this fear into anger, and as you can see on any amount of comment sections on articles or on facebook or on tweets there are plenty of bigots rooting for the death of the Syrians, saying to “let them kill each other off.” 

Another way to answer it would be a sense of uselessness. The “what can I do about this” sensation. In reality, there’s so much you can do. Donating clothes, food, winter attire, anything spare that you have so that the refugees can arrive to a comfortable setting. Just keeping aware of the situation is putting yourself to use. Knowledge is power, and knowing the truth of what’s happening will show support in its own way. 

The last way that I can conjure up would be the feeling that it’s not happening here so it doesn’t matter. It may not be happening here, but it’s happening to millions of people who, maybe not in culture, but in heart and mind and body are just like you. As I said, this is happening to your relatives, your neighbors, and your friends. Your fellow human beings. So take a step away from thinking of all the things that separate us, but think about everything that connects us.