Two Dreamers...
Discuss the Way the World Should Be

I have several idiosyncrasies in life and am delighted with them. One of my quirks had to do with plantar fasciitis. Ginger, my Irish Setter, and I circumnavigate the lake on which we live every morning for several years. However, several months ago, our walk around the lake resulted in significant pain in my left foot. While Ginger and I enjoyed our exercise regime, I stopped our early morning trek. I googled pain in foot and discovered that I had plantar fasciitis.

Therefore, I then googled podiatrists near me to find a doctor who could confirm my diagnosis and develop a treatment plan. There are more than a dozen doctors close to where I live. All that I had to do was to pick a doctor. That is where one of my idiosyncrasies enters the picture, my thumbing my nose at racism and discrimination of people from Asia and the Middle East. When I looked at the list, Dr. Ahmad El-Samad was the first name I found and made an appointment..

I told Dr. El-Samad that I was there for two reasons at my first appointment. The first was to affirm my diagnosis that I had plantar fasciitis. The second was because he was a Muslim from the Middle East.

A month ago, Dr. El-Samad operated on my foot, resolving plantar fasciitis and tarsal tunnel syndrome. This week, I returned to have my braced, bandages, and stitches removed. His medical assistant took care of medical issues. He watched her for a few seconds, and then we chatted for a half-hour.

Dr. El-Samad came here from Lebanon and mentioned feeling racism by other Muslims when he traveled outside of Lebanon. He decided to come to America as an immigrant and went through the nationalization process. At the end of his class, he was asked to give the commencement speech to the new American citizens.

The speech was about Dr. El-Samad’s view of America. His American dream was about diversity and equality in the States compared to what he saw overseas. However, over a couple of decades, his American dream has changed. As his medical assistant removed stitches, cleaned up my ankle, and rewrapped it. He and I discussed the changes in America that we both saw. Neither of us could fully grasp why so many Americans are so into racism and sexism.

I told him that back in the 60s, when I was in college and graduate school, blacks and white liberals knew that we would win the civil rights movement. We Shall Overcome is more than a song. We felt it in our very being. Today, I don’t feel or see that zeal, which we all felt back in the 60s during the civil rights movement.

I didn’t miss the significance of two people born halfway around the world from each other with different religious backgrounds having the same dream of equality.

America needs to wake up. We are rapidly sliding back to a more problematic time. I recall what Martin Niemöller, a Protestant theologian during the time of Hitler, said about his time.

First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

We are living together on this pale blue dot. There is no other place for us to live other than this world. We need to love and care for others rather than hate and kill them. Help others because someday, no one will be around to help us.