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‘Go back’ to your country

Although I’ve lived in this great country of the United States of America for 40 years as a legal and law-abiding citizen and have no fear of being deported, the latest tweet by President Donald Trump, “Go back” to your country, brought chills down my spine.

This tweet was viciously directed toward four Democratic freshman members of the U.S. Congress, who began upon their arrival in Washington to express their discontent and harsh criticism not only toward the president and the Republican Party, but also toward the leaders of their own party. 

Being an old-timer, I always assumed that when you get a new job, first you observe and learn from the ones who have been there, learn the tools of the trade, and after gaining experience offer your own solutions as to how to make things better.

No. These women who are famously known as the Squad would not abide by any traditional wisdom. Instead, from day one in the Congress they expressed their views, regardless of the consequences. They even triggered possible division within their own party, making Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi dazed and appalled.

It is clear now that the United States is going through a new period of defining its identity. The ideas and perception and vision of the country offered are diametrically opposed to each other. This defining and re-defining of the principles and values have been in the works since the foundation of the country. And shockingly, nothing has been resolved and we are far from a unified country. While I hate to admit that we are still divided much like the days of Civil War, I am happy to report that our battles are not fought on the battlefield with rifles and artillery, but with tweets that are at times intensified with viciousness and disrespect.

The discord and the hostility between two visions of America are so distant from each other that at times it surprising to see that we are still one country. At one corner there are the Republicans and conservatives who see America solely mandated by a traditional white Judeo-Christian doctrine, and in the other corner are the Democrats and progressives who are open to a pluralistic and diverse society. In this debate, conservatives become the representatives of the Glory of America, while liberals remind us that many social issues still need to be addressed.

This plays perfectly into the hands of our president, who instead of being a messenger for unification, has become an agitator who thrives on people’s prejudice and misconceptions. His recent tweet, “Go back” to your country, is an effort to dehumanize and diminish anyone who happens to offer their views and refuses to pay tribute to his narcissistic ego.

Unlike many commentators, in thinking about the recent passage of a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives condemning Trump as a racist, I feel it misses the point. This president could care less about what abhorrent expressions he uses, and how he lowers the dignity of the office, as long as he brutally destroys any individual or group of people just to appear to his base as the superhero who is on a sacred mission to protect America from “un American” and “treasonous” Democrats.

But regardless of how one views the outspokenness and at times seemingly “disrespectful” opinions of the Squad, history and the evolution of the country are on their side. According to new census projections, in 20 or 30 years the United States will become minority white, which is a fear-igniting prospect to most Americans who are trying to hold on to their old and traditional values. White America appears to be scared to death by just sensing what’s coming. 

However, it will be harder and harder for Trump-like leaders of the future and their followers to shield themselves from the natural development in the making. There is no question that it will be a hard pill to swallow for conservatives to envision their country populated by Mexicans, Muslims, Jews and LGBTQ people and women who can exercise their legal rights to make their own decisions without any constraints. But all the signs are there for this coming change and there is no way to turn the clock back.

I am hopeful that for that diverse, multicultural and pluralistic society of the future, a hurtful expression like “Go back” to your country will sound like a total absurdity and a pointless expression.

And that prospect makes me feel at home.

 

Varoujan Froundjian is a graphic designer, Photoshop artist, writer, cartoonist, information technology and wine expert who also drives a limousine for local livery. He can be reached at varoujanfroundjian@gmail.com.