It has been three days since Srinivas Kuchibhotla, Alok Madasani, and Ian Grillot were shot in a terrorist attack by a man who shouted, “Get out of my country,” before opening fire. Three days. Three days that the Indian-American community has been in mourning. Three days that a young woman has been widowed. Three days that the two survivors have been healing. Three days that minorities everywhere have been living in fear.
And not one word from Donald Trump. Not one visit to Kuchibhotla’s widow. Not one phone call to the survivors. Not one tweet. Nothing.
This from a man who has time to whine about a sketch comedy show, gloat about the ratings of a reality show, complain about his daughter’s shoes not being sold in a store, and cast doubt on the free press.
This from a man who jumped at the opportunity to tweet when there was an attempted attack at the Louvre in France that thankfully killed no one.
But this attack did kill someone. In your own country. Someone who worked hard to come to America, and who contributed every day to making it a better place, only he didn’t wear a red hat that touted what he was doing. He was someone who was shot just for existing.
And yet, not one word of condolence for the victims or condemnation for this hate?
I guess Trump and people who voted for him have never felt what I and millions are feeling today. I bet they didn’t grow up being told they were “less-than” by their peers and teachers. I bet they don’t know what it is like to be asked daily where their dot is, or if they shower, or if their dad owns a slurpee shop, all in an Apu accent, because they are brown.
I assume they have never had to clean glass shards embedded in their living room carpet because someone threw a brick through their window because they are brown. I’m sure they’ve never had someone shout at them, “Go back to your country, Osama!” because they are brown. I guarantee they’ve never had to cancel a trip to Canada, despite living a few minutes away from the border, despite being American citizens, because they’re brown. Because they’re scared their young children will be detained at the border and hassled, or worse, they will be separated from their breastfeeding baby who depends on them for food.
And I’m positive they have never been physically attacked for no reason at all. For existing. For wearing a turban, or a bindi, or a hijab, or just their skin, like Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani were.
Lucky you. You will never know the fear and pain millions of your fellow Americans are going through because of your hate-filled rhetoric. But I have lots of friends who have this privilege. Unlike you, though, their hearts are broken for what is happening in a country built by immigrants. Unlike you, they speak out when they see hate. They know that no one should feel less-than. They know that the death of a brown man is more important than a store not carrying your daughter’s shoes. They know that a president’s silence in the face of hatred just further fuels the hatred he built his campaign on, and just confirms the feelings of not belonging, and not mattering.
You are not making America great again. You are destroying its moral fabric. You are attacking democracy. You are deciding who matters and who doesn’t. You are spreading hate and fear daily. You may have tricked some people into believing you will be everyone’s president but you haven’t fooled me. Your silence says it all, and it’s disgusting.
Supriya Kelkar is a screenwriter and author whose middle grade novel AHIMSA (Tu Books) comes out this fall. Follow her on twitter @soups25.