You know that feeling when you’re playing a game of Hearts and you’re dealt the perfect Spades hand – I’m talking seven black shovels with four face cards, and a few throw-aways if you need em’. It’s the moment you want to change the rules, but you can’t, unless you’re Donald Trump.
I used to play cards with an elderly gentleman whose charming sense of humor and lack of filter were refreshing, but distracting. If you didn’t watch him close, he’d Spade the Ace of Clubs and throw down a Four Leaf Clover when Spades were led. My old Buddy and Trump have something in common, they play by their own rules, but the Presidential election is no game, and instead of cards, it’s people’s lives at stake.
The Muslim Showdown
On the eleventh day of September 2001, everything changed in America. Our generation hadn’t experienced a homeland attack of this proportion. We took for granted relative peace and prosperity. That all changed the day the planes hit the towers.
I was at Christopher Newport University in a class of Social Work students. Our professor, hearing of the news, turned on the television. The second plane hit the World Trade Center. We said mercy prayers, remembered to breathe, and scrambled for our phones.
For many of us, the news would be our only connection with the victims. We could smell the despair as living people dawned from the buildings, covered in soot, knowing dead people were their ashes.
The days following the attack, Americans would learn that we had an enemy. The radical Muslim sect, al-Qaeda, wanted us dead. Mass hysteria turned into group outrage and soon we were at war in Iraq.
For me, being unknown and hated was a point of confusion, and soon new details would add to my befuddlement. Foreign policy had been a wreck in Afghanistan. Our government joined forces with the Mujahideen, a guerrilla group of Holy warriors on a mission to push back the Soviet Union from taking their land, and outlawing their religion. The U.S. needed to weaken the Soviet government to end the Cold War.
“So bin Laden, along with a small group of Islamic militants from Egypt, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria and Palestinian refugee camps all over the Middle East, became the “reliable” partners of the CIA in its war against Moscow.”Link
The U.S. funded this guerrilla army, provided them with weapons and training, and then when these rebel soldiers managed to push back the Soviet Union, thus weakening their government, the U.S. was done with the Mujahideen. Two decades later, some of the Mujahideen fighters, including Osama Bin Laden, would become known as the Taliban or al Qaeda, and they began planning an attack on U.S. soil.
Trying to Understand the Enemy
Following nine-eleven I had more questions about the Muslim faith than anything else, and so for my cross-cultural history project that semester, I decided to interview a Muslim. The details of how I met my subject and his wife are a little murky, but I think I called the local mosque, asked if they had contact information for someone I could talk to, and several emails later, he and his wife showed up at my school.
To be honest the woman’s Burqa scared me. I don’t know if it was the yards of black fabric, though I hadn’t been scared of nuns, or the fact that I couldn’t see her face well, but I was really uncomfortable. I managed to ask her if she had to wear it, if she felt confined, you know if she as a woman had rights, opinions, and equality in the Muslim religion.
She was gracious and said she chose to wear the full gown and head covering, but it wasn’t required of her, and that she felt freer in her new attire, whereas in her former clothing she was worried about impressing others – conscious of men’s stares. As far as equality, she mentioned not much had changed for her other than her public uniform, but a lot had changed for her family. The couple had two children.
This man and woman had converted to the Muslim religion. The man had grown up in the Christian faith, though he said it wasn’t acted out around him. His mentors would go do drugs, then rob a place, then show up in church and ask for forgiveness, so that’s what he did.
He was sent to prison. One day a fellow inmate asked him to join him for his church service. The message preached was one of living a clean life, and my subject wanted to be straight, so he converted to Islam. When he got out of prison, the mosque helped him get setup, and connected him with the contacts to start a dry cleaning business.
To have this man before us so polished, it was hard to imagine he’d ever done drugs, or robbed anyone. Though a father, and older than us, he had the look of Nick Cannon – eternally young.
During the interview I became conscious of several things.
- Our actions impact people much more so than our words.
- The Muslims are a community of people, like Christians, not only a temple model religion.
- Members of the Taliban were not interpreting the Quran the same way as this man and woman.
History Repeating Itself
Since 2001, there have been no major attacks on U.S. soil, Osama Bin Laden is dead, the Taliban is all but disbanded, but the ideas of a pure Islamic state continue to splinter, hence the term ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).
So when a self-radicalized American citizen and his ISIS committed Pakistani wife killed 14 people last week and injured 21 more, ISIS became ISIS in the USA. Homegrown terrorists are now our greatest threat.
Meanwhile, as the investigation continues into the terrorist’s motivations, and how to move forward as a nation, Trump threw his card in the game saying all Muslims should be put on a list, our borders should be closed to Muslims, and mosques should be watched. One extreme met with another. He remains the top candidate in the GOP race, a party that for many years has been synonymous with the evangelical vote. How can this be?
Sure political incorrectness can be refreshing if it’s a truth unspoken. But for many I’ve talked to, Trump’s charm is in his money. He’s funding his own campaign and not tied to any of the lobbies. Others like that he’s a WINNER, thinking surely he can do what he did for the Trump brand for America. Balance our budget, keep us in the black, and build our surplus. Some are motivated by the BIG HUGE WALL. They think Trump will put everyone to work on this project, since many of those currently in construction will be rounded up and kicked out like soccer balls. This is surely the way to make America great again…and all citizens’ rich!
Problem is Trump’s a winner in large part because of the cards he was dealt. His father handed him loads of real estate and trained him to take over the business – neither he nor his work should be disregarded. He was taught the real estate game and played his cards right, turning a million dollar company into a billion dollar world-renowned brand. He could have thrown it all away.
However, without acknowledging his hand – being born into wealth, into the majority religion, with the majority skin color – without recognizing these things, he can’t even see the hardships of others – the pain of being a minority. Without the ability to empathize, he can’t bring a divided country together, and I’m willing to bet his “Big Talk, Big Walls, and Bomb them All” strategy will create more factions than we have at present with harrowing long term results.
Anyone can cut the bottom line, if the bottom line is all that matters.
What it takes to run a business is only part of what it takes to run a country. If Trump wins the bid, world players will deal him cards he’s never seen before, or that he thinks are more fitting for another game. He’ll want to change the rules midstream. Why not? Bosses can do this. Not in the black, cut pensions, healthcare, fire the guy that’s old, getting paid the most, and adding costs to healthcare, or better yet, get rid of the youngins’ who are too stupid to do the job anyway, and hire some of those day workers at the burrito stand.
He won’t remember he kicked them out and built a huge wall until it’s too late, because Putin will distract him with the Queen of hearts. 13 Points. Losing.