News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Fri. Nov. 2, 2018: On Friday morning, October 26th, around 11:30 a.m., just as I settled in to write this column, I got a call from a friend in Washington, D.C. who said to turn on the TV because “your Florida neighborhood is in the news.”
Stunned, I hurried to turn on the television to MSNBC, and there it was on the screen – accused bomber arrested in Plantation, Florida. I nearly fell off the chair as the Auto Zone came into view and I realized the location the FBI was getting ready to load a white van with a White House seal in the window and pictures of Donald Trump in another window, was just minutes from my home in South Florida.
Two sets of hot emotions flooded my body – fear and then anger. Fear that this apparent right-wing nut was so close to my home, and then anger that someone so consumed with hate would come to our quiet neighborhood to reign political terror on our nation.
Because it is terror – terror of a kind that we have not experienced in this country since the fight for civil rights.
For a moment, my mind went back to my homeland of Guyana and a time when nativist politics reigned; when political opponents were jailed, threatened and bombed; when votes were suppressed and elections rigged and the media muzzled and silenced.
It was a time when we looked to America and wished for the kind of “Democracy” we only dreamed possible in that dark time in Guyana. But here we are, in 2018, in the United State of America, where I – an immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen – find myself asking: “Were am I really and what Democracy?”
Have we descended into the gutter of Third World politics, where political opponents can be threatened with bombs to shut them up; where the media is constantly attacked; where votes are being suppressed in an attempt to rig elections in favor of the government and where the head of state is inciting violence and hate publicly – in rally speeches and in tweets while declaring himself a “nationalist?”
Have we now turned back the clock on civil rights; are blacks now viewed as runaway slaves and immigrants told to get out and go back where they came from?
Are we as immigrants, Muslims, Jews, Asians, Hispanics, black and LGBTQ people now supposed to live in constant fear of being the object of racial abuse, hate, derision and police harassment because a White person feels racially superior or feel that we do not belong in “their” space or in “their” building, neighborhood, store or even on a seat on a plane next to them?
Is this the America we want to live in and raise our children and grandchildren? After just two years in power, are we content to sit on the sidelines with our vote in hand, and wait to see more of the wink, wink ‘Make America Great Again’ policies?
Our lives are all at risk now in this country, as long as we have a different political view or are of a different race, religion, hue or of a gender identify that does not fit into the so-called ‘norm.’
This November, every immigrant MUST vote like their life depends on it, because it really does. Let’s Vote Blue, Vote Early and Vote to preserve our democracy and the Red, White and Blue.