Immigrant communities in America favour one or the other party depending upon various factors. In the wake of Trump’s rise as a candidate and as president, immigrant communities especially Muslim communities are against the Republican Party. While such communities do support Republicans’ stances on issues like same-sex marriage, abortion, etc, their very presence in America is disrespected and threatened by the current Republican President. Hillary Clinton on her campaign trail famously put up a Pakistani family speak out against Trump and the man even taunted him by offering him his own copy of the US constitution claiming Trump hasn’t read the constitution.
It is very important to point out that Muslim or Pakistani immigrants support the Democrats for the sake of their own rights and liberties in America. This is not about their values or their beliefs, this is about their own rights. Because otherwise, it is the Republican Party that matches Pakistanis’ mindset. Back home in Pakistan, many of these Pakistani-Americans want a certain way of government, which sticks to religion and is skeptical of foreigners. When they visit Pakistan, many of them have maids at their homes who are Christians or poor people. It would be interesting to see them supporting a candidate in politics that talks about the rights of those Christian maids or even support a Christian political leader who wants to elevate those poor souls. It is not the Mullah whose fatwa will suppress their rights, it is us who are actually against the rights of such people, though we hate to admit it. Because we fear who is going to wash our clothes, cook our meals, clean our homes, etc.
Many American whites are racist, but as far as I have observed, our Pakistani brothers and sisters beat them at that. We have come up with vulgar names for people of different nationalities in America. In our daily conversations, we refer to them by those vulgar nicknames. Yet, we criticise America and the Republican government when they express their hatred for foreigners. Likewise, the Americans love dissidents in countries they hate and never miss an opportunity to elevate such dissidents to fame and glory, claiming for themselves the title of champion of human rights and free speech, saviour of humanity and so forth. That is what they did with Malala, never mind that they unleashed a hellfire missile from their killer drone on 81-year-old Mominah Bibi. Her granddaughter Nabilah Rehman got injured and terrorised in the same double tap drone strike. This was two weeks after Taliban had shot and injured Malala. No Nobel Peace Prize for her, no book published, nothing. She faced a more lethal killing machine than Malala did. Americans hate their own dissidents. Edward Snowden is one example.
The point is that there is no such thing as national values and identity. It is about the selfish pursuit of one’s comfort. Samuel Johnson once said, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” Trump takes refuge in patriotism to further his bigoted thoughts. Pakistanis take refuge in values and the constitution of America to take care of their own rights. Both sides do not apply the same standard to themselves that they like for others. Just like the ‘wrong number’ concept that Aamir Khan coined in his movie PK, this should be called fake patriotism. Basically it goes like this: I love America to be a country with rights for all and I want Pakistan to be a country with rights for a few because guess what, it works for me that way.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2018.