"I Am American, Too"

[Content Note: Nativism.]

A few days ago, I read this piece at the BBC about people who are leaving the U.S. because of Trump's policies. This passage in particular hung with me:
For Sarah and her family, it didn't feel like there was any option other than to leave. She says that she would have liked to "stay and fight" but that her family's safety and ability to stay together are taking priority. Her husband is not from the US, does not have status as a resident and works overseas a lot. While their children are dual citizens of both the US and his home country, Sarah is a US citizen with permanent resident status in both. Her husband has relied on temporary visas when he’s in the states with his wife and daughters.

"It's kind of a gamble of whether he's going to rub someone the wrong way and not get in," she says. "With the current administration changing, it's a little bit more frightening."

...For Sarah, the move is not what she had envisioned for herself or her family. She says she is "totally heartbroken" and had always thought she would raise her two daughters in the US.
I thought of Sarah and her family again this morning, as I watched this heartbreaking video of Iranian-American Hossein Khoshbakhty, whose brother was denied entry at a U.S. airport because of Trump's Muslim ban.
Khoshbakhty, a late middle-aged man, stands in an airport, speaking to the camera with tears in his eyes, his voice breaking: "The American and Iran relation is affected already. But we are people; we are not the government. We are not doing nothing. If the government does something wrong with this government, we are not responsible. I am American and Iranian. What I can do? Why I have to be punished for somebody else's problem? I don't know what I have to do. We ran away from Iran to this country; they do something like this, but we didn't know we're gonna have the same situation here. I'm a U.S. citizen for about 15, 20 years. And my brother didn't do nothing wrong in no place in the world. And I didn't do nothing wrong. I'm a contractor. I'm working hard here. I'm working hard here; I'm building houses for the people. The American people. And I am American, too."
There are families who want to stay in the United States, and cannot. There are families who want to come to, or return to, the United States, and cannot.

This is what Donald Trump is doing to our country and its people in his first days in office.

And yet still, still, there are people who argue that we must "give him a chance." As if his presidency and policies are not already having a practical, deleterious effect on actual people's real lives.

It was always appeasing, enabling, capitulating garbage to admonish people to "give him a chance," when he has made clear from Day One what his hideously hateful agenda was going to be.

But now, in this moment, when that agenda is no longer a threat but a reality, when it is meaningfully impacting people's lives in profound ways, to continue to urge resisters to "give him a chance" is to say: "I don't care about the people who he is harming. He still hasn't harmed me, and may actually benefit me, so give him a chance."

I tweeted that two days after the election. It is still pinned at the top of my timeline, and I expect it will stay there for the foreseeable future.

Because, like Sarah and Hossein, I am American, too. And I take up space in solidarity with them. Which requires me to never, ever, give this president a chance.

I know as well as I know my own name that he will use any and every chance he is given to hurt more people. That is not a chance I can afford to take—and it is certainly not one I am willing to give.

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