This morning I heard on the news that there’d be a protest vigil, at the Albany Airport, against Trump’s Muslim travel ban. I told my wife; we quickly found the details; it was starting at 10 AM. We decided to go.
I’m not normally an activist demonstrator. But in all my 53 years of political involvement and observation, never before have I experienced such a depth of feeling as my horror at Trump’s un-American actions. We both felt a responsibility to stand up against this.
I whipped up a sign saying, “Trump Disgraces America.” My wife’s said, “I see something, so I’m saying something.” She attached to it an actual copy of the constitution.
As we drove up to the Airport, there was a checkpoint, with a sheriff’s car, and deputy. Wow; never saw that before! I imagined hearing something like, “Only ticketed passengers allowed,” so I got ready to say, “This is still America, you can’t stop us from free speech in a public place!”
The officer pleasantly bade us good morning and asked why we’d come.
My wife pleasantly said, “We’re here for the vigil.”
And the officer pleasantly said, “Excellent. Go right this way to park.”
Well, they were getting a lot of extra parking revenue out of this.
I was surprised at the size of the crowd – which soon grew to several hundred, despite the short notice and ad hoc situation. Many of the signs were better than mine. One, for example, said, “U.S. Visa denied,” with a picture of Anne Frank. Some resembled the lawn sign I’d put up on November 10.
Some participants were mounting a bench to address the gathering. I decided to take a turn. Before I started, a woman shouted something about how even Republicans should oppose what Trump did. I said, in toto:
“I am a Republican – an enrolled Republican. My daughter, Elizabeth Robinson, is working, in Iraq, for a refugee relief agency. Yesterday she wrote this on her blog: Trump’s ‘America First’ actually ‘puts America last – last in humanity, last in compassion, last in lifting up the tired, the poor, the huddled masses – which is what made America first, in so many ways, to begin with.’”
Trump’s order bars not only all Muslim refugees, but even people with valid green cards; even people who’ve resided legally in the U.S. for years, who were travelling from designated countries. It’s insane and criminal. Courts have already ordered this stopped, but Trump, and much of our immigration gestapo, so far refuse to obey.
This is a nation of laws, with its independent judiciary a crucial bulwark against tyranny. If the regime can defy courts with impunity, then we are in really deep trouble.