I am not a U.S. national — I don’t have U.S. citizenship nor have I lived in the U.S. long enough to remember what I had experienced there. But that country is as important as my own, and the presidential election is unavoidable in my country as both countries share common values and the U.S. has had so much influence on ours.
I’m not a Trump supporter, and there are so many reasons behind my decision to be so. But one of the very reasons I must identify is the fact that the President-Elect has marginalised so many ethnic and religious groups only to bring about so much hatred across the country and beyond — let alone the the concept of islamophobia. I’m not a Muslim, but that doesn’t stop me from letting my voice heard to show how much it breaks my heart to see how people could suddenly have the idea that all Muslims are terrorists.
When my friend and I were both new students to a school, I came up to her first and asked if I could hang out with her. All I could see from her was her kindness and a bit of shyness on the first day of school. It wasn’t until much later that I realised that she was a Muslim, but that didn’t weaken our friendship at all. In fact, it strengthened it.
I’ve visited her house many, many times, and although it didn’t necessarily change my own belief, I definitely felt lucky – as I still do – to experience and discover how others celebrate and strengthen their religious beliefs. Even from distance apart (we live in different countries now), there is not a slightest hint or suspicion within me that she, or any member of her family, is a terrorist.
I’ve known for so long that calling all Muslims are terrorists simply crosses the line of our social values and of so many more building blocks of our society, but I think that if it wasn’t for my open-mindedness, I definitely would not have been able to more strongly support the groups that have been unjustly marginalised.
So here I come to the conclusion that no matter what happened to the presidential election, as long as we are open-minded and are willing to accept other people’s differences (as my friend and I have with our respective religions), we will always have each other’s back and the next four years is our chance to show that. All I hope for our future is that we don’t let religions, appearances, or other factors that make YOU a human with rights bring so much hatred that we don’t want. We live to love — not to hate.
-Ken Young Ko