So as you may or may not have already deciphered, I live in the U.S. And contrary to the recent whirlpool of : rants, satires, posts, tweets, statuses, snaps, and general professions of grief and anger on social media, at a certain orange headed fella’s promotion to head of country, I want to talk about real people.
Not the ones behind a screen. Or behind trolling cartoon-character profile pictures on Facebook. Nor the red faced, deluded campaigners spitting into the poor news reporters’ microphones. And definitely not the ones on stages and under spotlights.
I want to talk about the lovely old lady, in a strawberry-pink knit sweater , that I brushed passed as my mom and I left the polling station at the Church, who so graciously greeted me on the morning of Election Day. Her salt and pepper hair flitted in the chilly morning air, and her crinkled skin softened and formed the brightest smile as she bid me good morning, entering the station to excercise her due right.
I want to talk about the employee at our local grocery store, with a snapback and a hundred different snazzy adornments, and two black ear piercings, who after bagging the goods, stood waiting for us to pay the bill. He offered to carry them to the car. As I reassured him that I would be fine, he gingerly handed over the bags, reminding me that they were heavy. His brown eyes shone with kindness as he stopped to genuinely smile at us and say, “Have a wonderful day.”
I want to talk about my neighbor, who we passed outside after a while, (two days exactly on account of the cold temperatures),as he was pulling out of his driveway just as we were entering ours. He rolled down the window of his car and half stuck his bald head out of it and waved a peace sign at us. We all grinned.
I want to talk about the super tall guy with a well rounded belly who while lumbering down some aisle, unabashedly called out, “Marhaba!” when he saw my Muslim-like clad self. The contented look on his face after he pronounced the Arabic letter ‘haa was almost cute, but I actually appreciated his efforts more than he would probably know. He had probably rehearsed that moment many times.
I want to talk about the lady at the counter with perfectly painted lilac nails, and a neat afro tied back with a black and white bandanna. Her soft voice sounded the way my cat used to sound when he purred from deep within. She complimented my sister’s red hijab.
I want to talk about the lovely librarian with brown bangs curtaining her silvery eyelids as she stayed overtime, checking out my family’s 30 books or so, that we conviniently slipped in our baskets five minutes before closing time. Her sweet face never ceased smiling as she dealt with our overdue books, and other shenanigans. As I gathered the armloads of books, I asked her of her name. She replied, tilting her head while her grey eyes shone, “Myra.”
When we were driving from the library parking lot, I thought we were the last ones left. But as we turned round the corner, I saw a middle aged lady with brown bangs and grey eyes walking briskly to the only other car left, a battered old, golden Toyota Corolla.
And as I looked into the sunset behind the library, I saw a hardworking, kind, selfless, sincere, liberated, trustworthy, loving, compassionate, strong human being. One who was willing to sacrifice much for the prevelance of unity, peace, love and the return of faith in mankind.
I saw Myra.
So just because of what some news agencies choose to flash across my iPod screen, or spam my email with, or flood every feed created in human history, that can never override what I see, and feel.
The America I know has its roots in the desire to be different and to embrace change. To be diverse and welcoming. We’ve come so far as a nation, though the wounds of slavery, oppression and racism are still healing, we have come far. We’ve risen above concentration camps, and walls. Even above identification cards and derogatory slurs. We’ve definitely risen above dictatorial mindsets and division.
And if your wondering, then no, America isn’t perfect, far from it in fact. But this country has such potential in the values and mindsets of its people, in its diversity, that it would be an understatement to at least acknowledge that it is special.
And when some people come and challenge the very thing that makes it special, wanting to separate, divide, partition, break, and isolate…wanting to hate, I believe in all those who will still fiercely love.
Pray for a nation, no, a world that accepts Myra and I.