#741: Isaac and Ishmael

January 20th, 2017

It couldn’t have been the big blue purse.

It was large, made of a plastic that apes leather, and bright. Crayon-bright blue on the Green Line.

It couldn’t have been the gleaming white sneakers either, the ones bedazzled with the line of rhinestones that curled into two little hearts as it snaked across her metatarsus. She tapped one foot gently, almost nodding it as the train pulled out of the former manufacturing district that’s now the spot for the hottest of hot restaurants.

It couldn’t have been the blue jeans with the six metal buttons pulling each cuff into the perfect skinny cut either.

No, it must have been the piece of cloth on her head that makes her hated.

It was an al-amira, the internet tells me. That’s the type of Islamic head covering where there’s a close-fitting cap and a scarf over her hair, not the one that’s all scarf or any of the ones that cover her face.

She picked through a thin book, her eyes testifying how enwrapped she was with the contents.

I wanted to talk to her, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. I wanted to apologize, beg for forgiveness for things I hadn’t done because of what’s about to happen in Washington.

What would I say? “Hi, I also see you solely as a representative of your religion rather than as a unique human being exercising your own agency but it’s cool because I’m nice.”

She’s a person, not a shot at white liberal redemption. She’s a human reading a book of curled Arabic script with a little cloud cartoon on the cover, nodding her toe on the train the night before a man who pledged her harm takes the oath of office.

I have engaged with Trump supporters before, both online and in person. There seemed to be an ignorance or disbelief his stances are what they are. One guy online was convinced Trump only wants to deport undocumented immigrants who commit crimes, even though getting them all out is the second step on the 10-part plan listed on Trump’s campaign website.

A woman at a party seemed completely unaware Trump called for the war crime of retaliation on NBC news. She must have said “Better than Obama” like 10 times during that conversation.

She’s Mexican-American, which confused the hell out of me.

The general Trump party line I’ve come across has been they don’t think he means what he says, that the guy just gets carried away and really likes working a room.

In other words, their greatest hope is that the person they believe should hold the office of president of the United States of America either isn’t in control of his actions or lies to their face with regularity.

He said what he wants to do. He said it multiple times, in multiple venues and in multiple formats. He said time and time again that he would use his office to violate this woman’s rights because of her faith, said he would create a database registry, demand faith-based ID, ban the entry of Ishmael’s children in ways he’d never consider for Isaac’s.

“I would certainly implement that. Absolutely,” he told NBC about a Muslim registry and you can watch the video here if you deny it.

He would direct law enforcement agencies to spy on mosques and Muslim communities, praising an NYPD program shuttered after lawsuits, civil unrest and one FBI official saying it jeopardized national security.

“From what I heard, in the old days, meaning a while ago, we had great surveillance going on in and around mosques in New York City,” he told MSNBC and here’s that video if you think I’m a liar here. It’s at 6:25.

He told Yahoo News he would consider warrantless searches of members of this woman’s religion.

“We’re going to have to do things that we never did before. And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule,” he said and here’s that interview.

This man of power has pledged and pledged and pledged to use his office to categorize, surveil, list, search and break this woman with the blue purse, the one with button-cuff jeans, tapping a rhinestone-clad sneaker on the Green Line.

If you think otherwise or are mentally hedging your bets, you’re wrong. You could be a liar, or maybe you’re a dupe. I don’t care which. Stupid is just as dangerous as mean.

The point’s not if this program or that program will come to pass. The point is the voice that said all these things is a few hours away from saying “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

He will be in history books and on classroom walls as children recite the pledge. He will have access to our records, our military, our law enforcement, our rights as human beings and he has told us very clearly and repeatedly which humans he thinks get to have rights. His hate earned him the keys to the nation.

All the woman tapping her foot and reading Arabic on the train gets is a nighttime ride toward the Loop.

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You are currently reading #741: Isaac and Ishmael by Paul Dailing at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.

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