If you thought the election was a hoot, just wait until mandatory religious-based national registrations start happening. The fun is just beginning.
"But wait, Ali. I'm not Middle Eastern and, therefore, not more likely to commit acts of terror which is the whole reason we need to have Muslim registrations. I didn't care before the election. Why should I care now?"
I understand that sentiment. The ability to deny even the smallest degree of sympathy while simultaneously ignoring signs of blatant fascism is what will make America great again. I get that. Entertain me, though, for a moment and pretend the promises that Donald Trump made are something you care about and are something with which you expect him to follow through on. One of those Trump promises is fewer Muslims coming into this country and reducing the number that are already here. That got a lot of applause during the campaign. How do we make that happen?
To start, we'll ignore the impracticality of making the greatest democracy in the world treat people differently based on their religion or race. We'll ignore the irony of the argument many Christians made stating protection of religious freedom as one of the main reasons they considered Trump the lesser of two evils. We'll also ignore the ridiculous financial burden and strain on many other resources to implement mandatory religious-based national registrations. America voted for a bizarro world, so let's live in it for a moment.
How do we keep Muslims out while also getting rid of the "dangerous" Muslims within? First things first. You have to identify the Muslims. Superficially, that's easy. If you've got a name like mine, Ali Akhyari, you're automatically on the list to be interrogated. Everyone with Muslim sounding names will have to be identified and will have to register themselves as Muslim or not. What good does it do to simply identify people of Middle Eastern descent, though? That's just data. For a Muslim or Middle Eastern person to stay in this country, they will have to sign a loyalty oath. This will give authorities the right to arrest any Middle Eastern person or supposed Muslim who has gone through the system if they are suspected of taking any anti-government action or any action that is remotely suspicious.
Of course, this only gets you control of the Muslims willing to sacrifice their liberties and be treated differently based on their faith, which is now, apparently, a new cornerstone for freedom in America.
Interestingly enough, you run into the same problem that conservatives point out when talking about gun control. You'll only keep guns out of the hands of honest citizens with legislation. Criminals make a habit of ignoring the law. By that logic, any Muslim who is actually interested in violence isn't going to willingly put themselves under the thumb of the government unless it won't affect their plans anyway. Consequently, Muslims and Middle Easterners who refuse to take part are automatically considered terror threats. At the least they are suspect because they value the freedom that their non-Muslim counterparts still get to enjoy ... for the time being.
Even after this step, how would you be sure that you've got even close to the majority of potential Muslims and potential terror threats? What about those who don't willingly go to the local police building to have their rights stripped? The only logical way to do this is to have an old fashioned round-up. Hopefully, they'll bring back the old Paddy Wagons for nostalgia's sake. To do what Trump has promised, we'll have to arrest and hold all Middle Easterners, like myself, until you can put us through a process that ensures the safety of the rest of the country. We all know how efficient the government process can be, so be prepared for internment camps. Then everyone can get registered and agree to some sort of tracking process in order to stay in this country. Otherwise, they get the boot. Of course, if they have a criminal record, they may get the boot anyway.
"But, Ali," you may be thinking. "I'm not Middle Eastern. I still don't see how this will personally affect me and I, therefore, don't care."
Hang on, buddy. This is where it gets interesting. As you may have noticed, the one thing getting in the way of Trump's America is the human factor. It's the idea that someone will be dishonest or unwilling. If you're going to go through all this trouble to find all the Muslims and make America great, you should at least be thorough. Otherwise, you're just wasting a bunch of time and money. The only way to do that is to make everyone in America register themselves. Hopefully, those of you who were so gung-ho about this are still feeling patriotic because now you're going to have to register yourself, your religion, and take a new loyalty oath. Atheists, Christians, Wiccans, or whatever affiliation you have will not matter. Hopefully you can still believe this is protection of religious freedom and not fascism. Otherwise, you may start questioning your leader and find yourself among the "whiners" of this country.
I don't expect anyone who didn't care before to bat an eyelash when I'm being interrogated and held against my will for simply being Middle Eastern. I won't be surprised when my phone gets tapped ... again. But maybe you'll care if it happens to you. Maybe you'll consider it your patriotic duty. I hope I'm wrong about all this. I really do. But the only way I see myself being wrong is if Trump lets down the silent majority who came out and cheered his hate speech. Either way, this is the bed you made and we all have to sleep in it. Get cozy.
Ali is a first generation American (half Iranian and half Costa Rican). He was born in Greenville, S.C. but grew up in High Point, N.C. where he studied English/Writing at High Point University. He has called Charleston home since 2006 and wants to believe Bigfoot is real.