On the inauguration stage, the clergy on the stage included a Catholic, a Jew, and four evangelicals (a female evangelical, a Hispanic evangelical, a black evangelical, and a white evangelical). Unsurprisingly, Muslims were excluded from the inauguration stage. But crumbs were thrown: an imam was invited to the National Day of Prayer on Saturday. He accepted.
Despite the exclusion of Muslims, and despite the fact that venomous hatred of Muslims has been a central issue in Trump’s campaign, some people believe that, when invited to the table (or to the crumbs under the table), they should accept. I for one am deeply embarrassed by such acceptance, which follows total and humiliating rejection from Trump & his followers.
I want to forcefully say that this acceptance does NOT represent me, and I am not alone in this. I stand with the vulnerable communities and populations that Donald J. Trump has vilified, ridiculed, and targeted. No crumbs thrown to individuals or groups can mean that we abandon our work of social justice. How can I take a seat at the table where women, blacks, the undocumented, refugees, immigrants, Muslims,people with disabilities, and LGBTQ communities are hated and/or targeted? What do I expect to happen at such a table?
This act of complicity on the part of an imam – a well-known imam – is especially shameful when progressives and civil rights activists nationwide have been standing up beside Muslims publicly, strong in resistance. — And then a well-known imam goes and says, yessir, I’ll be there, thank you!
When you normalize authoritarianism & xenophobia, you’re reduced to working within the box that haters have created. You cannot serve or benefit your communities from the reductive spaces of hate provided by authoritarian, xenophobic forces.
As Henry Giroux says: “We live at a time in which totalitarian forms are with us again. American society is no longer at the tipping point of authoritarianism; we are in the midst of what Hannah Arendt called “dark times” and individual and collective resistance is the only hope we have to move beyond this ominous moment in our history.”