Thank you, America
By Fathia Absie
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait
for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
We are the change that we see.” Barack Obama
I am a person of undoubted optimism and I choose to see the cup as half full. My ideals of a world were humanity overcomes our differences and unites us for our commonalities have never left me. But the past couple years have been tough for me because of the bombardment of negative campaigns and hateful rhetoric against President Barack Obama. I don’t know why I took these attacks so personal, but I did. I left my country as a young girl because, in my heart, I felt that there was a place in the world where everyone saw themselves as a member of the human tribe and where principles and character prevailed. I truly believed that I belonged to a bigger community and I had to find it no matter how far.
I’ve later learned that it was America that I was searching for. It has now been twenty five years since that dream came true for me, and even though a lot has changed in my life, the one thing that has never been altered is my strong belief in America’s exceptionality. I am known to be a sentimental being, but America to me, was and still is, the place of yearning. It is properly difficult for Americans to grasp this, but for those of us who were not born here but dreamed about a better life, America is that place in our fantasy that we go whenever we despair. Some of my friends would sometimes laugh at my enthusiasm and idealism. They would even remind me how naive I seem at times but that’s how I feel about this country.
Four years ago, America showed the world and all the skeptics that it was indeed that unique place when it elected President Barack Hussein Obama as its leader. Americans flaunted the audacity that their differences are what make them far superior to others in the world. It was an astonishing move that only America was capable of accomplishing such a bold feat. For the first time in history, America produced a president who mirrors what this country is all about. We got a president who is as internationalist as he is an American, and knows firsthand, how special and unbiased this country really is. With President Obama as the leader of the free world, we were back on being in that respectable and irrefutable place we used to be.
past two years have been tough for people like me. I was reminded that America is a place on earth and human beings will almost always fall short. The president was being attacked left and right as he was working so hard for the American people. He was being called awful things. So many lies were being spread about him. Congress ceased to work with him. He was painted as a foreigner, an outsider, and a Muslim as if it was the worst thing to be in the world. Some people even refused to acknowledge him as the president of the United States and denied giving any credit to him. It was bizarre and very saddening.
I felt that all of these things were happening because he was a black man with the middle name of Hussein and it didn’t matter that he represents everything that was good and decent about America while reflecting the salad bowl that America has become over the years. It was as though people have forgotten how this country was founded. Still, I refused to let go of the America that was in my heart. The place everyone whoever felt excluded for any reason could come and feel right at home.
No matter how I was laughed at, or what the cynics have said, I just knew that at the end most Americans will choose forward-attitude over backward-attitude and will do the unexpected and the right thing. A week ago, Americans did just that and once again re-elected President Barack Hussein Obama. We raised our voices together loud and clear and we rejected hate and schism, and instead chose hope. As Americans, we’ve decided to be the change we want to see in our future. Thank you America for restoring my faith in you and assuring idealists, like me, that I am not naïve and that humanity is good most of the time.
Fathia Absie is a Somali – American filmmaker, essayist, Poet and an activist based in Eden Prairie, MN