Saturday, January 28, 2017

America First In Hypocrisy And Hate

Of all the egregious acts that Trump committed this past week -- and there are too many to recount here -- nothing was more egregious, more despicable, more shameful than signing a racist-inspired (and probably authored) executive order banning Muslims from entering the country.

The order bans immigrants and nonimmigrants from at least seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States for at least 90 days.  Those countries -- Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen -- are countries from which there have been absolutely ZERO fatal terror attacks in the United States. The order also bans all refugees from entering the U.S. for four months and those fleeing the brutal war in Syria indefinitely.  It also gives preference to Christians who claim they are being persecuted.

This perfectly encapsulates everything that Trump stands for.  It is xenophobic and anti-Islam, favoring Christianity over other religions and unashamedly promoting white nationalism.  It is inhumane and unnecessarily cruel, tearing apart families, blithely ignoring the suffering of tens of thousands of innocent people, and discarding those, such as Iraqi interpreters, who played an invaluable in supporting our military.  It exploits fear and ignorance without any basis in fact, discounting the "extreme vetting" process for refugees that is already in place and falsely citing a terrorist threat from a class of immigrants that is virtually non-existent.  It has a strong whiff of corruption and conflict of interest by not including Muslim-majority countries from which Trump has a business interest.  It is incompetently drafted and legally dubious, reportedly not having been reviewed by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, the State Department or the Department of Homeland Security. 

Legal challenges have already been filed and temporary emergency stays have been imposed by at least four federal judges.  Indeed, while the president has broad discretion when it comes to national security matters, whether there is a legitimate national security basis for such restrictions is highly questionable at best. In addition, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, enacted to end quota systems that gave preferential treatment to immigrants from European nations, was designed to prevent immigrants from being discriminated against based upon national origin -- which is precisely what this order does.  And then there's a little thing called the establishment clause of the Constitution which prohibits favoring one religion over others.

This is the latest and most appalling action Trump has taken in his first week.  And, as with the others, we must contact our representatives in Congress -- we need to flood them with calls and emails to support those who are standing up to this unconscionable action and shame those who have remained silent -- a handful of Democrats and virtually all  the Republicans -- as moral cowards who will forever be tainted by not standing up to ignorance and mean-spirited bigotry.  We need to continue protesting.  And we need to donate generously to the heroic agencies that are and will continue to be on the front lines, including the National Immigration Law Center,  Muslim Advocates, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the Arab American Institute, and, of course, the ACLU.

A lot of folks have been saying that this is not what our country is about.  But, frankly, a country that wiped out an indigenous population, was built on slavery with a long, troubled history of institutional racism, that put an entire population of people in internment camps, can hardly claim the moral high ground.  That's why we have to rigorously insist on maintaining the rule of law.  That's why we need to remain vigilant and use our collective outrage to demand that our representatives in Congress stand up to demagogues.  That's why we have to resist. 

And that's why we also need to hear from those Trump supporters who claim not to be ignorant, xenophobic, white supremacists.  The fact of the matter is they supported a man who is.  Trump is not my president, but he is theirs, and now they too have a responsibility to oppose his most shameful actions. 


Post a Comment