June 16, 2015
Somewhere on an escalator
Announcing his candidacy for President
The bus leaving Phoenix for Tucson was at capacity. I was the last person in line, concerned that I might not get a seat. It was apparent that I was one of, if not the only English-speaking person on the bus. But, thanks to Mr. Trump’s dire warning, I was extra vigilant as I boarded the bus, wary of the potential criminals, drug dealers, and rapists in my midst.
There was only one seat remaining, and it was next to a doe-eyed, young woman I guessed to be in her 20s. She smiled, nodding to the empty seat next to her, an invitation to sit. Of course, because of Mr. Trump's leadership, I was on a high state of alert. I knew better, knew that what appeared to be a warm, inviting smile was actually a sophisticated signal, telling her “criminal associates” on the bus that I was an easy mark for their nefarious intentions.
I sat, tightening the grip on my backpack, hyper-aware of the criminal plot being hatched against me by those who would likely NOT be passengers on this bus if Mr. Trump was our President. The young woman asked my name. I told her about the Journey and showed her the home page to my blog, so she could see the flag and know that, like Mr. Trump, I am first, and foremost, an American patriot.
I asked her name. “Iris,” she said. Finally, I was getting somewhere. Because of Mr. Trump’s assessment of the Mexican people, I did my research and discovered that “Iris” is a common alias used by Mexicans drug dealers, rapists, murderers and, worse yet, jaywalkers. It is also, occasionally used as an alias by young Mexican women who come to America, looking to build a better life. But I could tell, by the menacing look on her face, that this “Iris” was clearly from the former category (although she really didn't strike me as a jaywalker).
I asked Iris (or whatever her name is) if she was a citizen. She smiled (again, a signal), proudly telling me that she is a "legal resident" as a result of having married a U.S. marine. Like Mr. Trump, I know nothing about immigration law. But I suspect that “legal resident” is just a fancy way to say “illegal immigrant” and that this Iris thinks I’m too stupid to know the difference.
There was a lull in the conversation. I suspected Iris was planning her next move. I broke the silence, asking if she would ever want to return to Mexico. Iris looked away and then turned to me to reveal eyes welled with tears. “I miss my family very much,” she said. “But I love America too much to ever go back.” Was she really crying? Did she really love America? Did Donald Trump really announce his candidacy from a moving escalator?
As we pulled into the Tucson station, I decided on one more test and asked Iris what she thought of that great American and future President Donald Trump. “I think deep down he is a good man,” she said. “The problem is, he wants everybody to respect him, but he doesn’t respect anybody.” I pondered her answer. Is it possible, I thought, that a legal resident, someone who has only been in this country only six years, has a more accurate perception of Donald Trump than the 28% of real, life-long American citizens who say they would vote for him?
Iris wished me good luck on my journey. Again, she smiled, but for the first time on our journey together, I didn't think it was a signal, as the other Mexicans on the bus, who I first assumed could be her criminal associates, quietly filed out of the bus, oblivious to my presence. And I realized, maybe I had it wrong. Maybe The Donald had it wrong. Maybe this Iris was not one of the miscreants about whom he warned us on the escalator that day in June. Maybe, it’s possible, that this Iris is one of the “good people.”