As Nov. 8 dawns on us, Americans are reminded of the many mistakes made on this day, particularly the biggest mistake made on Election Day 2016. For New Yorkers, this day is a constant reminder that in order to maintain the diversity of culture and opinion we’ve bred, we must elect leaders who share these values, not threaten them.
As a New Yorker, and a proud one, a Muslim, and a daughter of two immigrants, who came from Pakistan I know what it feels like to be a target. To be a scapegoat. To be the face of everyone’s fears. Being born and growing up post 9/11, I saw and heard of the many micro-aggressions against Muslims, South Asians, Middle Easterners and people that looked “different.” I knew that people held preconceived notions about me, even though I was born after the tragedy that shook my city and the whole world. I knew that there was very little I could do to change these notions, but I also knew that I would do everything in my power to transcend these labels. Growing up in Queens, the center of the melting pot that is New York City, I never felt isolated, not to the extent many other kids like me felt in different areas of the world or the country. For that, I am eternally grateful. Because I grew up in Queens, I was introduced to people I had never seen before, cultures I had never heard of and most importantly, (delicious) food I had never tasted before. The pitter-patter of different languages on the street, the train, the bus was like music to my ears and the sight of a woman in a Sari, a woman in a hijab and a woman in jeans made my day. New York City seemed like its own sovereign entity, a safe haven for “misfits,” a paradise on Earth, which is why last Nov. 8 hit me and many other fellow New Yorkers so hard.
I still remember Nov. 7 vividly. It was a Monday, the day before the election, and many of my friends and I were excited to finally stop talking about Donald Trump. Don’t get it wrong, we definitely knew the election was a “lesser of two evils” deal and most of us definitely felt the Bern, but we knew that this race wasn’t about finding or electing the best president, it was about electing the right one, the one that would pave a drastically different path for our country than her opponent, it was about electing Hillary Clinton. I went home that day and I binge-watched CNN. I found the atmosphere, the anxiety, the slight melancholy of the biggest topics of the past year finally coming to a conclusion, exciting. I continued to watch until the next day and I threw myself a little watching party for the “Grand Finale,” as the results started pouring in. I thought that night would have been the night I would have rejoiced the fact we had a female president. I was even ready to record a video of my reaction to the first female president, and although she wasn’t my first choice, she wasn’t Bernie Sanders, the feeling of having a female president created this sense of pride. I thought it was going to be the biggest f*ck you to the patriarchy. I really thought that. But it wasn’t. That night, I saw the man who had constantly threatened, violated and assaulted human rights become the soon-to-be the leader of the free world. That night, I saw that no matter how educated and talented a woman can be, a mediocre white man with a big mouth will somehow always win. That night, I saw my city explode in red lights, almost like lava burning us all. And that morning was even worse. It was worse than the walk of shame.
I went on the bus that morning and it was silent. The pitter-patter of words I so longed to hear, was non-existent and everyone was thinking about the same thing. Donald Trump. I saw a woman in a green hijab, it was bright, but it was muted by the look on her face. How badly I wanted to give her a hug and tell her that she was accepted and welcomed and loved, but it was like my mouth was sewn shut.
I went to school and many were distraught. Some were crying, others protesting, others angry. We were all in awe. Needless to say, the people, and especially the children of NYC, did not back down. We cried for a day, we mourned, but we got up, stronger than ever. We rose to the challenge. We protested, we fought, and in some sense, I’d like to think we won. We won because we showed him. We showed Donald Trump that New Yorkers stand up for each other, that Americans stand up for one another, and the more he pushed his divisive regime, we fought back harder, stronger, by ten-fold. We were a force to be reckoned with and I knew that made his skin crawl. His own city had just disowned him.
It was a bad day for the world, really. It was an even worse day for New York City, knowing that our president would stand against everything we had worked so hard to establish. We were New York City. People came here to start over, to chase their dreams, not to live in fear, not to be slammed into a corner. We were New Yorkers, and there’s nothing a group of angry New Yorkers can’t do. It is for this reason that we cannot elect Bo Dietl and Nicole Malliotakis for mayor of New York City. Bo Dietl and Nicole Malliotakis are two Republicans challenging incumbent Democratic Mayor Bill De Blasio and their campaigns are just as divisive as Donald Trump’s. To show you how similar in stature and belief Nicole Malliotakis and Bo Dietl (especially him) are to Donald Trump, here just some of the things they’ve said.
Bo Dietl is a contributor for Fox News. Also, he loves Donald’s favorite catchphrase “Wrooooong,” as he’s belted it out at almost every mayoral debate. Having Bo Dietl for mayor will be like feeling the direct effect of Trump’s presidency. New York is a safe haven. Bo Dietl is like something straight out of a cartoon, he’s certainly the most animated “politician” I’ve seen in a while and has a real knack for “pointing out crimes” since he was a former detective. Bo Dietl must be stopped at all costs.
Now onto Nicole Malliotakis, an assemblywoman from Staten Island. She doesn’t deny her support for Trump, she’s a Republican, but if I were to compare her to a presidential candidate, I’d say that she’s, personality wise, more of a Ted Cruz/Marco Rubio type figure. Mainly because her ideas are just as volatile, but she’s a little more composed than Bo, and the scary thing is she has a lot of support. She appeals to the “not here for diversity” rich white folks that live in wealthy areas, particularly Staten Island, parts of Manhattan and even some parts of Queens. The thing about her is Malliotakis has no substance. It seems like she has dedicated her career to being so anti-Bill de Blasio that she’s not an individual with known intention or plan and every time she speaks, Bill de Blasio and how he’s a failure seems to be the main point. We get it, you don’t like Bill, but what are you going to do? She also resembles Donald Trump in that way, he won’t shut up about Hillary Clinton and she won’t shut up about Bill De Blasio. She supports Donald Trump and that enough shows that she is not supportive of New York City values.
Bill De Blasio, the incumbent, isn’t the perfect mayor. But he’s the right mayor for New York City, right now. Bill De Blasio is far from perfect, but he will preserve the values we as New Yorkers take so much pride in. It seems as if these elections always boil down to a “lesser of evils” situation, last time we chose the wrong evil, but this time we can’t afford to.
I never want to live in a city clouded by anything else except the pitter-patter of different languages, the smell of different foods and the views of different cultures.