Shariq Siddiqui: Give Trump supporters time to get past election

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DEBATE Q
How do we achieve unity after such a divisive election?

Shariq SiddiquiFour years ago, the days after were among the worst in my life. I felt horrible!

Donald Trump had won, and I felt his racism, bigoted and hateful rhetoric had been endorsed by my fellow Americans. I asked myself whether my family and I—Muslims and people of color—had a place in this country.

This year, many Americans also feel horrible. More people voted in this election than ever before. President Trump received the second highest number of votes in history! And to the surprise of many, he made gains among minorities.

According to the American Muslim Poll fielded by the Institute of Social Policy and Understanding in the weeks after the COVID-19 pandemic started, nearly 1 in 5 Muslim Americans supported President Trump. These were largely white Muslim Americans and those who skewed wealthier. This was up from 6% support in 2016!

And in this year’s election, Trump support among Muslim Americans grew to 35%, according to NPR.

Many in my circles ask: How could people vote for Trump, despite his horrible rhetoric against minorities? But all I could think about is how bad those Trump supporters must feel right now. I am sadder that they are in pain, than I am that they voted for Trump.

As a Muslim, I am taught that only God knows the intent behind our actions. I cannot assume that fellow Americans who voted for President Trump are all racists. More likely, they prioritize a social conservative agenda.

It’s problematic. But in the midst of deep polarization, you don’t find common ground by being right—you seek a place to have conversations, which can lead to areas of mutual agreement and agreement to disagree.

There are limits to this search for common ground. Racism, prejudice and misogyny can never be an area of compromise. We can’t find common ground with people who believe in racial supremacy, gender inequality or violence. They are wrong.

But my faith teaches that God has created diversity among humans so we can know and love each other.

The voting phase of this election is over. I am delighted that we elected Biden/Harris nationally and Holcomb in Indiana. Both results (one Democrat and one Republican) bode well for our nation and state. Common sense, inclusive rhetoric and compassion will be at the core of state and federal government again.

But I know that there are others that are sad today. Let’s give them time. Let the votes be counted, let the states certify the elections, let the legal challenges run their course and come together on inauguration day to usher in a new day.

Those who oppose Biden’s policies should organize for the midterms and the next presidential election. Those who support Biden’s policies should find ways to support the work ofhis administration.

All of us should find common ground to further policies that we can all support. Consensus and common ground result better sustainable policies. Dr Fady Qaddoura is an example for us all.

We should be proud that we elected the first Muslim American, Fady Qaddoura, to the Indiana Senate. A fellow alumnus of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, he has served in both GOP and Democratic administrations—not focused on politics but how he can make the world a better place.

This is a time to remind ourselves that we are all Americans. Only God knows what is in our heart. Let’s treat each other with kindness and respect.•

__________

Siddiqui is assistant professor and director of the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, senior fellow at the Center for Global Politics and founder of the Center on Muslim Philanthropy. Send comments to ibjedit@ibj.com.


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10 thoughts on “Shariq Siddiqui: Give Trump supporters time to get past election

  1. How about The Liberals recognize what has happened to our election process. The plain as day cheating and fraud that is being reported everywhere makes The Great United States of America no better than a third world country.

  2. THANK YOU JEFFREY R.
    Spot freakin’ on!!
    EVERYONE should be beyond deeply troubled by this election & scandal. We have been manipulated as a society by OUR OWN government agencies!
    Get “woke” to the corruption because it will infect ALL of us worse than the virus, it IS the virus.

  3. Totally agree with Jeffrey R and John B! It will be easier to “get past” the election when we can determine a winner who was elected FAIRLY. It’s unconscionable how much obvious cheating was going on! I can accept Joe Biden IF he was elected fair and square, but for now this looks like a fraud and an empty victory. Sorry libs!

  4. I agree with your opinions and we should always strive for compromise. I am also sorry that you felt like the last four years were horrible for you. We are not racists or unwelcoming even though the media has portrayed us that way. We believe in a country of laws where the Constitution and Bill of Rights are the foundation and not just ideas that have no place in America today. Donald Trump was a very polarizing figure and I had to learn to love his actions over his words. Yes words matter and I understand your frustration with him, but we elected a non Washington politician on purpose. I still think most national politicians are corrupt and I was happy to have an outsider. Your right at this point my side can prepare for the midterms. By then President elect Biden, who by in large didn’t have to talk about what he would do after he was elected, will now have to show his hand. I think it’s going to be much farther left than what people thought and the average American who doesn’t live on the east or west coasts isn’t going to like it. The other problem with your plea Mr. Siddiqui is that almost half of America feels like we no longer have a voice or say in our lives. Between big tech that now controls the narrative and the majority of the mainstream media that has decided they will simply work for the Democratic party we have very little trust in this new system. Add to that the endless harassments of the current President and his policies does not put us in a conciliatory mood. Joe Biden has possibly committed criminal acts with his son and brother, but that’s never going to see the light of day or receive any media attention, Could you imagine if you had substituted the Trump family into that situation. Congratulations on your victories and hopefully our worst fears of a far left wave and all of their plans for the rest of us will not come to pass, but at this point I fear the worst.

  5. The writer has ignored a big factor in Trump’s rise, and the rise of divisiveness. Most American’s aren’t on the same page when it come to what to believe and where to get trustworthy information. Read Scott Adman’s 2017 book, “Win Bigly, Persuasion in a world where facts don’t Matter” and you start to get a clue that the basic facts that American’s rely on to form public and political opinions are not even the same. The rise of the right wing media machines combined with the amplification effects of social media, along with the constantly repeated message that all main stream media is “Fake News”, as well as Republican politicians that are willing to exploit all of these flawed and unscrupulous platforms, leaves about half of America with a distorted and fictional view of America.

    The divide is really between the reality base community and everyone else that is trying to manipulate and propagandize voters for power, money, and personal gain.

    1. If you don’t believe the divide is between the reality based community and the fictional propaganda, take a look at the previous comments and try to rationalize the anger and disenfranchisement expressed in the comments in light of the current situation.

    2. So if we would just embrace your truth and sources of information then we could all think as your half does and that’s the only way to think and feel. We appear to be a left and right country with no more center. I used to be a center right person, but would certainly be labeled right wing now. The current climate and divide between the two sides is staggering and understand everything you say is wrong with my information sources I say ditto for yours. This is only going to get worse and not better. I really hope for America’s sake their are always opposing views. Long live divided government and people or were doomed as a democracy!

    3. +1 Dan.

      I mean, if you think there was fraud in the election that changed the outcome, you’re wrong. There’s no “both sides” or “common ground” about it. A reminder, Trump wouldn’t accept the results of an election *he won* in 2016 … and convened a committee to look into the fraud. They quietly disbanded … without finding any.

    4. Jeff, the problem is, the majority of the news that “the right” gets is either lies or something taken out of context. When I look at what’s on the front page of Fox News, it’s pretty obvious that much of it’s not news, it’s just the usual tropes to make people angry and keep watching.

      That people are angry at Fox News for reporting the simple truth that Biden won the election and have in response, sworn off Fox for only news sources that tell them what they want to hear (more lies), tells you what you need to know. If it’s not already, the GOP isn’t a political party, it’s a cult.

    5. Jeff A,
      The right wing media and politicians has spent years cultivating a very clever trap, and I am sure it is hard to see how much manipulation is happening especially if you are caught in the trap.

      I am sure there are sources out there on the right that try to stay factual, but they don’t get many clicks, or views, because most media companies are counting on an emotional response to get people coming back for more. Even FOX was suddenly shunned when they shifted to a more reality based position on the election.

      Try reading the book I suggested. You can get it free from most libraries. Scott Adams starts out saying he never votes (I don’t agree with that), but I believe he is coming from an apolitical point of view.
      Also, I am not saying everything that comes out of the right wing media machine is un-true, but there is enough distortion to make people angry, upset and angry and upset people are motivated to go out and vote even it is against their own best interests or the interests of the country.

      Think about why every media company that you used to be able to trust is now part of the “main stream media” and can’t be trusted. If you were a kid, and your big brother told you a big lie that could be easily fact checked with mom and dad, he would most likely also tell you that mom and dad can’t be trusted (they are “Fake News”).

      Fast forward to 2020, and now you have the head Big Brother (Trump) telling you a lie (“The election is Fraudulent”, “The virus is a Hoax”, etc…) and at the same time anybody that contradicts him is “Fake News”. At the same time, right wing elements in social media back this up, so do right wing media, and other Republican politicians stand quietly by. It is very easy to believe everything that you used to trust is now fake news, and the lie is the truth.

      People are not so much divided on ideology as much as who we choose to believe.

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