So many of the comforting certainties of his life had fallen away since the presidential election, when the people who had welcomed his family to Dawson had voted for Donald Trump, who had proposed banning Muslims from entering the United States, toyed with the idea of a Muslim registry and said among other things, “Islam hates us.” Trump had won Lac qui Parle County, where Dawson was the second-largest town, with nearly 60 percent of the vote.
He was one of only three doctors practicing in Dawson, and one of a few in the county, and was soon busy with patients and helping to plan a $7 million expansion of the facilities.
By the time he got to the hospital, he was pacing up and down the hallways, saying he hoped people realized that they just voted to put his family on a Muslim registry, and how would he be treated around here if he didn’t have “M.D.” after his name?
He’d given a talk on obesity at the hospital there once but otherwise he was a stranger, and when he arrived at the library, about 75 people were waiting, including several men with Bibles.
He knew some of it was because Trump at times reminded him of people who had bullied him growing up, including high school classmates who called him the n-word and a “taco-eating bastard” and made those years “hellish” and “like a prison,” all of which he had tried to escape by telling himself that one day he was going to be respected.