President Trump’s Muslim travel restrictions are a sickening betrayal of what America stands for. Or used to stand for.
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
My mother came through that golden door in 1938 as a refugee from persecution and violence. But most German Jews were not so lucky. America’s WWII refusal to do more for them remains a stain on our national honor. Today we add a new stain by slamming the golden door against victims of the monstrous horror in Syria, and other Muslim victims.
Another thing this nation used to stand for was religious openness. George Washington wrote that Jews are not merely tolerated in America, they are Americans. Non-discrimination among religions was a bedrock principle on which this nation was built. Yet Trump’s order exempts Christians from the travel ban.
His action caters to the basest, dumbest prejudices of his followers. Make us safe from terrorism? While these people have an insane love affair with guns, that kill hundreds of times more Americans than terrorism? Where is the common sense? The San Bernardino and Orlando shooters killed far fewer people than die every week through gun accidents. But anyhow they were U.S. citizens who would not have been affected by Trump’s stupid action.
Meantime, he has singled out seven Muslim nations for his travel ban. None of the 9/11 terrorists came from those seven. They all came from four nations not on Trump’s list. But those four (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and UAE) are all countries for which a ban would be politically problematic. So instead Trump picks other ones.
But even if the countries were the right ones, this would still be an exceptionally silly action. As if would-be terrorists would go through the vetting process. As if people willing to massacre others, even to blow themselves up, could not find ways to sneak in. Trump’s despicable action will hurt tens of thousands of desperate, suffering people, while inconveniencing bad guys not at all. (How hard is it to masquerade as “Christian?”)
George W. Bush, in launching the war on terror, took great pains to make clear that it was not a war on Muslims. He understood how catastrophic it would be to antagonize all of Islam. Trump does not; he is doing exactly what Bush took pains to avoid. This will only increase conflict and terrorism.
The action is ostensibly temporary, a “pause.” But when, pray tell, do you suppose Trump will feel able to lift the travel ban without enraging the assholes who love it?
The raw truth is that some people just don’t like people who are different from themselves. That’s what this is really all about, at rock bottom.
Well, some Americans at least are still working to uphold true American values. My daughter is employed in Iraq, with the Danish Refugee Council. After I drafted this, I saw that she had written something on her own blog more eloquent. Please read it here.
But let me quote her: 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.”
UPDATE: Today two Syrian families arrived in Philadelphia, with valid visas and green cards, having worked for years to get them. They were sent back.
Tags: Vile Trump