“This is Osama, he’s not a terrorist.” That was how he was introduced to me. It was at a pool party a couple of years ago, a small affair where everybody either knew each other or was a close friend-of-a-friend. We were standing next to the pool at the time, and everyone smiled and laughed, understanding immediately why the introduction was performed that way. When your name is Osama, and you live in Dallas Texas, you pretty much have to lean into that joke from the get-go.
At that party I got to know the basics, the types of things you get from casual small-talk at a pool party. He works in construction. His family is in Jordan. No, they don’t know that he is gay. Neither do they know he is an atheist. He’s not sure which one would bother them more, if they found out. He came to the United States to study, and has his Masters in Engineering.
Since we met, I’ve gotten to know him as a friend. He’s always smiling and very down-to-earth: one of those people who is always ready to have goofy fun or a heartfelt conversation, whichever the moment demands. He doesn’t talk about politics much, and until recently that was because he was unsure of the status of his path to citizenship. Now that he knows he will be staying, he feels more comfortable expressing his opinions about the country that he has proudly chosen to be his own: the United States.
So with that context, and without further commentary, I’d like to present two of his reactions (taken from Facebook and distributed here with his permission) to the 2016 Election and the victory of Donald Trump:
Post Scriptum: I’m not posting this to tell anyone how they should be reacting. I’m not posting this to make any kind of generalization about immigrants, or Muslims, or atheists, or anyone else. I think the reactions of both Osama and his sister are very classy, but I am in no way suggesting that people with different reactions to the election of Donald Trump are “wrong” in any way. Osama has been an inspiration to guide me in my own reaction to Trump’s victory, as I’ve written in another article. I’m sharing this because I hope you can feel inspired as well.