It was an unsettling weekend! I have been grappling with the recent turn of events and its impact on the world we live in. It certainly raised my anxiety level to a point where I continuously woke up in the middle of the night, sat up and paced, and then fell back asleep.
It is confusing and befuddling to see the land which is all about hope and possibility, become an angry nation, fearful and at odds with its past. It is hard to think of it as a place where policies and governance are losing humanity. This weekend is in such sharp contrast to the women’s march last weekend — an event that gave me hope and reaffirmed what is uniquely American.
Today, it is a different set of emotions. Diktats and party politics over country reminds me of places we leave behind to come to America. It is befuddling even more because of the screams on social media, where no one is listening.
America and its place in the world is a lot different than what it used to be, and perhaps that is why our leaders, authorities, and most importantly its citizens can’t be dogmatic and romanticize the past. Instead, we need to worry about the future what it means, and how best America can find a way to lead.
The reason America wins is because it gives hope to those who have none. I am a beneficiary of the generosity of this great nation – where a nobody can dream of being a somebody. It is a place where dreamers with wild eyes come and build the future. Let’s hope this is not the end of that dream.
I spent much of my time reading reactions from both ends of the political spectrum to just better understand how different groups interpret the same information. The gulf between two extremes is the real cause of anguish, as much as the events of recent days.
What saddened me the most was those green card holders who were stranded, unable to come home. I was a green card holder for a few years before I became a citizen. The green card came after a lot of trials and tribulations, and it felt special. The day I got my permanent resident permit — that’s what it really is — I felt a little bit at ease, more at home, almost on my way to being American. Every time I came from my travels — I was fingerprinted, and went through what seemed to be a facial recognition process. And when that was done, a border security official always smiled and said welcome home.
So I can’t imagine how heartbreaking it is for someone who has a green card to not be able to come home. Between the ideological debates and bluster, no one can understand the feeling of helplessness that comes with not knowing where you belong. The impermanence of permanent residency is a shock to one’s psyche which those who were born here will never understand.
Perhaps that is what made me anxious, uneasy, and sleepless. And it wasn’t till this morning when I was able to calm down, thanks to a soothing email from a friend, who ended it with a great quote from Rumi, “Raise your words not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”
It is a perfect way to describe how one has to think, react, and act in order to find ways to counteract any action that will undermine this democracy and the American way of life. I am really glad to see folks like Brad Feld, Chris Sacca, Fred Wilson, Stewart Butterfield and Tony Fadell support ACLU, following the lead of my dear friend Bijan Sabet, who has been working hard to help organizations that are all about protecting the rights of US citizens. We might disagree with each other’s politics, but we can’t do that at the expense of the country.
All this talk of tech and politics is a reminder that tech is the big story and will only get bigger. I was asked today if I expect “all this Trump newsmaking will distract tech journos from other topics, i.e. suck all the air out of the room? Or will this pass?.”
My response was what it would have been, had I been in-charge of an active newsroom. “It would be unfortunate to see all energy being devoted to one topic — no matter how important — to the detriment of coverage and attention that the sector needs, especially at such a dynamic time,” I told Sam Whitmore, and pointed out that “Most news organizations now have big tech staffs and can focus on multiple stories. Take Buzzfeed and the New York Times as an example!” Whether it is BuzzFeed, TechCrunch or any other publication — they need to find new and different lenses to cover the nexus of tech and people.
Anyway, Monday is almost over. Tomorrow is another day.
January 30, 2017. San Francisco