Category Archives: United States

The (Election) Hangover

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I’m sitting here trying to write something because, well, if there’s going to be one time I don’t neglect this blog, it’s today… But it’s like. Shit. What the hell do I say?

All of the people of color around me look resigned. The white folks, however, look shell-shocked. This is what happens when you’re too afraid to engage your racist relatives at Thanksgiving. This is what happens when you don’t do the work on educating your Trump-supporting friends. I’m not saying they can all be convinced. But the silent majority that cost us this election weren’t the people who quietly voted for Trump in the booth. It was their friends and family who never talked to them about why he’s vile.

That’s all I have to say tonight. I’ll be back (I swear) with more stats, more call-outs (because white folks, I am calling you the hell out), more anecdotes, more information on what’s to come.

And whatever does come, just know that I love you. My Muslim friends, I love you and I will protect your right to come to this country and make it your own. My LGBTQ friends, I love you and I will make sure no one touches your right to make a family that is every bit as legitimate as the rest of ours. My undocumented friends, I love you and I will do my best to keep you here at home and on a path to making it permanent. My black friends, I love you and I will remind the world that your lives matter and are worth respecting. Facebook acquaintances, silent blog readers, Twitter followers, childhood friends who broke my heart and left me out to dry, I love you, I love you, I love you.

Rise up.

Obama comes out (no pun intended)

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I’ve always heard people going on and on about finding themselves in college, discovering who they really are and their purpose in life, and exploring their options, and always thought it was complete and utter bull.

Then came freshman year, and that’s exactly what I found happening to me.

I know it’s been only two semesters, but I have a knack of figuring things out quick, and my freshman year saw me figuring out myself further not only academically and career-wise, but also realizing things about my past and who I am and why. It’s been an interesting why and it scares/excites me to see what’s going to happen in the next three years. Stay tuned; I have a strong feeling we’ll be seeing some life-changing events.

But since I’m no celebrity (yet), my life is not of much interest, so let’s move on. Today became one of the biggest news days of the year, and most probably history, with President Obama coming out (no pun intended) with his support for same-sex marriage.

Like President Obama, I guess you could say I’ve been evolving on the issue too.  I’ve had friends who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual, and I’ve always hated when they’ve been met with ridicule or cruelty.  It’s never once turned me away from them or made me think of them any differently… Unless, of course, they did something that I wouldn’t like to see coming from a heterosexual friend either.

But at the same time, I am a practicing Muslim.  To me, no matter how anyone spins it, homosexuality is forbidden in Islam… But as my uncle reminded me the other day, it is the act that is forbidden, not the preference itself. In Islam, we are taught to learn to discipline ourselves and obey God no matter what.  In my own interpretation, homosexuality seems to be a challenge for people and is something for them to figure out, between themselves and God if they believe in Him.

But that brings us back to the fact that the United States of America was founded as a secular nation.  As a practicing Muslim, I cannot condone homosexuality and say that gay marriage is okay.  But (as my uncle again pointed out) as a Muslim in the U.S., I am bound by the laws of my country and its Constitution.  The Constitution clearly states that all people are to be given equal rights and that religion shall not play a factor in our country’s governance.

One thing I have to say, however, is that I feel that on both sides of the argument, there has been quite a bit of disrespect.  My moral and religious upbringing has also taught me tolerance.  Not only am I disgusted at those who call homosexuals names and treat them as subhuman or criminals, but I also cannot help but be disappointed at the lack of respect many people in our society have come to have for religion.  Yes, it is wrong for someone to persecute another just because of their sexual orientation, but if they are not doing so, I think it is equally wrong for someone to disparage someone else for the simple belief that something is wrong due to their religion.  While I see the similarities this has to interracial marriage and rights for women, blacks and immigrants, I still also see the difference.  Many religions, including the most prevalent ones in our society, teach us that homosexuality is a sin.  The fact is undeniable, and far too many times, I see people simplifying the issue.  Just because someone believes in a set of religious teachings, it does not mean they are a bigot.  And just because someone doesn’t, it does not mean they are immoral.

In the end, same-sex marriage is an inevitability for the United States.  But I don’t see why this has to be such a disaster for those who are religious.  As a friend of mine pointed out to me a few weeks back, same-sex marriage has been legal for years in Europe, because state marriage and religious marriage are kept completely separate.  Much of the battle in the U.S. is because here, the priest, rabbi, imam or whomever has to sign the legal document when they marry a couple.  While Americans need to respect the rights of all citizens, the government needs to respect the rights of religious institutions.  If a religious leader or institution does not wish to perform same-sex marriages, they should not be forced to do so.  While we are protected from becoming a religious nation, our religions are also protected from becoming secular institutions.

Ab imo pectore,

Syjil

Side note: Yesterday, author Maurice Sendak passed away at age 83.  I still haven’t seen the movie for Where the Wild Things Are but I bought my little brother the book around the time it came out, and I absolutely love it as well as the novelization of the screenplay by Dave Eggers.  You can find his 2-part interview with Stephen Colbert earlier this year on the Colbert Report here and here.  Worth watching.

“Oh, please don’t go– we’ll eat you up– we love you so!” –Where the Wild Things Are
R.I.P.

–S.

Deoccupying Wall Street?

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News is breaking that Zuccotti Park is getting cleared out by NYPD… Story so far here.

According to Bloomberg’s Twitter, this is just temporary and the protestors may return once tents and such have been dismantled… But does this really mean Occupy Wall Street will be allowed to continue? Sounds a bit weird to me… and I’m wondering how the protestors are reacting right about now.

I guess we’ll be waiting and seeing.

And yes, I’m aware that many of my articles are linked to the BBC, but really… check out any other news source online and they either are just full of useless information and news (Time, Newsweek, etc) or, as much as I love them, have a bit of a confusing template to navigate (Al-Jazeera). Can we get some more good news sources up in here?

Also, I’ve had a horrible day today. Anyone know how to become a full-time professional blogger and whether or not that may be more fulfilling than a career as a physician?

 

Ab imo pectore,

Syjil

As always: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-15732661