I am rarely at a loss for words. But tonight, I was utterly speechless.
Two significant events have left me unable to comprehend our un-humanity:
First: Close to a million civilians in northern Syria are fleeing bombardment. They have nowhere to go. The Assad regime and its backers – Russia, Iran, Hezbollah – call this a cleansing operation. Others call it genocide, or at the very least, atrocities on a massive scale.
In an extraordinary feat, the international community continues to simultaneously wring its hands and sit on them when it comes to Syria.
Second: After months of boycotting U.S. news about – what else, the impeachment hearings – I watched Donald Trump’s post-impeachment speech. I listened for what seemed like forever but was probably about 5 minutes. I tried to understand what he was saying, but I couldn’t.
I thought just listening to Trump’s speech would help. But looking away from the screen actually made things worse. Because when I wasn’t looking, the sound of applause and laughter was amplified.
Behind that merriment, I could hear fear. Hell, I could almost smell it.
I bet those dozens of lawmakers in the audience so intent on pleasing Trump were doing so out of fear that they would be his next target. Would he tweet insults at them in the night? Would they go from being “helluva guy” to some teenage version of “poopy head”?
Times like these call for deep thought and…PIZZA. And wine.
I realized I was feeling let down by America. The America I have always loved; the America that had been – in my mind – the world’s greatest hope to become the land of the free.
We all know that racism abounds in America. Just look at the prison system and you’ll see institutionalized slavery. Check out Big Pharma and you’ll see a perfect dealer-user dynamic.
But what I thought we had – what we always would have – was a group of politicians that would dare to speak uncomfortable truths. That both parties, no matter how radical and divided, would put their country before their choice of party. That representatives elected by the people would not lie down in the face of justice to avoid their president’s mockery.
I’m not sad because Republicans showed their support for their candidate; I’m devastated because they let their greed, lust for power, or weakness (or all three) stand in the way of Doing. The. Right. Thing.
I know Syria isn’t America, and Donald Trump has not murdered hundreds of thousands of innocents. I know nobody in their right mind would ever call Syria a democracy.
But I do know this: my split Syrian-American identity knows there are two authoritarian presidents, both willing to destroy their countries to stay in power.
What do YOU think?