No Family For Thanksgiving

Before the election, I had come to terms with my family voting for Trump despite his rhetoric...after all, they assured me they would 'stand with me' if laws were made that threatened my safety.

by Deedra Abboud in Muslim, Political, Relationships, Social Views
November 23, 2016 0 comments

I just woke up with no hot water. I checked the gas, on. I checked the pilot light in the water heater, not on. Read the directions (after sending an audio message to my husband just in case something happened because he’s out of the country) and attempted to light the pilot. No luck.

Hopefully, I can get a repair man out today because tomorrow I have a bunch of friends and friends of friends coming over for Thanksgiving.

No member of my family is coming. We are spread out all over the country and sometimes get together, but this year everyone decided not to travel.

And for that I am thankful.

My entire family voted for Trump. I did not.

I spent months writing and using social media to inform people about Trump’s statements and lack of policy details beyond “make America great again.”

About a month before the election, I stopped. I figured people had already made their decision and nothing I could say would make a difference – after all, I could not even get my own family off the Trump train.

I never believed Trump would actually do the multitude of things he promised. As an attorney, I understood many of his promises were not within presidential power. I understood most of the campaign was nothing more than rhetoric and would never become anything of substance.

But at a social and civil rights advocate, I also knew that the type of promises and rhetoric would have an effect on the ground – discrimination and personal attacks.

So for the month before the election, I began working on creating understanding, coming together on common issues, facing our fears, and a positive attitude .

Immediately after the election, I began advocating a ‘wait and see’ attitude.

  • Let’s see what Trump actually does rather than running around scared of the fanciful rhetoric from the campaign.
  • Let’s focus on the issues rather than just being anti-Trump.
  • Let’s give those who voted for Trump the breathing room to feel betrayed when Trump does none of the things he promised rather than keeping them in a defensive position by attacking Trump at every turn.

Before the election, I had come to terms with my family voting for Trump despite his rhetoric; come to terms with their perspective that minorities had ‘gotten out of hand;’ come to terms with their perspective that LGBT rights and bathroom controversies were ‘silly;’ come to terms with their perspective that “banning Muslims from entering the country ‘until we figure things out,”’ even though my husband regularly travels outside the US on business and might not be able to return to his own country; come to terms with their complicity that a Muslim registry might include me.

After all, they assured me they would ‘stand with me’ if laws were made that threatened my safety.

Then I left for Europe on business for a week. My only connection to the election fall-out was social media, European news, and Dutch people who all wanted to talk about Trump and what that would mean for Europe.

It was while I traveled Europe that I started feeling less comfortable with my family’s positions. Trump removed the ‘Muslim ban’ statement from his website the day after the election. But while I was in Europe, Trump announced his continued commitment to a Muslim ban and/or a Muslim registry. Trump then announced his cabinet nominations: Stephen Bannon (Chief Strategist), Jeff Sessions (Attorney General), Mike Pompeo (CIA Director) Lt. Gen. Michael Fynn (National Security Advisor).

Based on the history and statements of these men, it’s not looking good for Muslims in America. Nor is it looking good for civil rights in general or minorities specifically.

From my family? Crickets.

Not a word. No concern. Either they are either not aware of what is going on or are still under the illusion that I am the ‘exception‘ that will not be affected by the anti-Muslim policies virtually assured at this point. Like everyone can be thrown under the bus, as long as their ‘way of life’ is kept safe – not that anyone really understands what that means.

What I’ve seen recently from my Trump supporting friends and family is more an effort trying to convince others they are not racists/bigots and very little time recognizing why some people might think they are and even less time worrying about and standing up against the words and actions of Trump, his surrogates, and other supporters. Forsetti’s Justice

I feel betrayed

I don’t know how else to describe it. I have a group of friends and friends of friends coming for Thanksgiving. They are diverse. Some are Muslim, some are not. People of color (various shades) and other minorities, including LGBT. All of my friends are aware of the current potential threat to the safety of minorities in America.

But my family will not be there. And this year, I am thankful for that. I am not ready for those conversations. I am not ready to share my feelings of hurt. I am not sure if I even understand them yet myself.



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