One headline reads: Trump’s Travel Ban Off to a Disturbing Start. Another: Refugees Detained, Legal Residents Blocked, as Trump’s Order is Implemented. As the reports come in of chaos around the world as legitimate visitors to the US, including students, scientists, green card holders, and vetted and approved immigrants, are barred from entry, — I just feel sick. When the “ban all Muslims” idea came up during the primaries, I spoke up. Now I have to speak up again. Because this us just the Muslim ban with window dressing to make is arguably (and probably not really) constitutional.
When this country was founded, those who decided to risk their lives did so not for a plot of land, not out of spite, they did it for certain ideals that became the moral foundation of what would become the United States of America. Ever since then, imperfect as the country often is, the United States of America (I am saying the long name for a reason) has stood for certain values. One of those values is tolerance of all religions. Another is that we are welcoming to immigrants and visitors. We proudly display the Statue of Liberty as if that is a value we believe in — not just the word “liberty” but the values on the inscription, you know, the whole “huddled masses yearning to be free” thing. America, warts and all, is a beacon.
Well, it’s one thing to have warts. It’s another to be consumed by cancer. This is cancer. It is eating away at the fabric of our nation, at our soul, at our conscience, at our core self. There is no indication whatsoever that this Executive Order is needed. Immigrants from these and other countries are not attacking us. America has not suffered an attack from visitors since 9/11, sixteen years ago. Our existing procedures are protecting us, so why this? If you’re an American living on American soil, you are more likely to be attacked by, as someone said, a “shark who won the lottery,” than by a terrorist from abroad.
And even if you can somehow twist the argument and say that this is somehow making us safer — at what damned price? Is being completely, totally, 1000% safe the only value that matters? What about being honorable? What about being just? What about sticking to the principles that have guided this nation for 200 years? Will you abandon all that … why…because you’re scared? The idea that nothing matters except being safe, and abandoning our principles in order to advance an agenda of eliminating even a demonstrably tiny (as in next to zero) risk, is utterly shameful.
For us to have elected someone this cowardly, this xenophobic — and for this sickening policy to actually have support, I feel nothing but shame and anger. Is this who we are, America? Really? Do we not realize that this is not defending us against terrorism, it’s attacking ourselves by attacking our values. Do we not realize that this policy is endangering our diplomats, endangering our military, endangering Americans abroad, far more than any imagined sense of security it is achieving at home.
Grow a pair, America.
UPDATE: There are demonstrations at many airports around the US; there are lawsuits being filed; there is what appears to be a powerful and growing surge of protest against this. That, at least, give me heart. That is America, not this cowardly policy.