The hope that Trump might preside more moderately than his campaign rhetoric indicated has been shattered by his polarizing inaugural address and the hastily mandated executive order to ban Muslims and refugees from America . . . and while I was trying to ignore much of the day-to-day furor over his policies, I think he has drawn the proverbial line in the sand; if you're confused on this issue, I humbly present a few things you should digest and think about:
1) the new episode of The Weeds (The Don't-Call-It-A-Muslim-Ban) does a great job of parsing out the policy and the contradictions and problems with it-- you'll understand why there have been stays by federal judges enacted in regards to the ban;
2) a flat out "Muslim" ban is unconstitutional, so Trump had to make do by banning people from seven mainly Muslim countries-- but putting Syria on the list means that Trump can't help prioritize Syrian Christians-- or any other Christian refugees seeking asylum-- though Trump claims he would like to do this;
3) Trump suspended the US Refugee Program for 120 days and capped refugee admissions to 50,000 (instead of Obama's 110,00, which is still rather paltry considering scope of the crisis . . . global displacement is at an all time high);
4) in 2016, the United States accepted 12,000 Syrian refugees (Germany took in a million in 2015 and 300,000 in 2016) and Trump's executive order bans all Syrian refugees . . . this brings up the point that we weren't doing a terribly good job of addressing this refugee crisis under the Obama administration, and we certainly had a hand in creating this crisis because of our various military actions and inactions in the Middle East, and we are now presenting ourselves as an ugly selfish "America first" nation that is willing to turn its back on a heinous and horrible humanitarian tragedy;
5) if you need something more vivid to illustrate the toll of being a refugee, listen to This American Life: Are We There Yet?
6) if you want to feel especially shitty about your country-- and this is before Trump enacted the total ban on refugees from Iraq, then listen to This American Life: Didn't We Solve This One? and you'll hear the stories of Iraqi translators and defectors who helped us in the war in Iraq, were promised visas, and then were abandoned and left out in the cold . . . Trump expressed his solidarity for the "forgotten man" in America, but these people have been forgotten by America in an exponential and existential sense, and now they have no chance of receiving their due . . . this bureaucratic betrayal sounds like the perfect template to create terrorists;
5) you don't have to tow the party line on this, because tone and attitude towards immigration isn't a Democrat/Republican thing, it's a moral stance . . . for a startling example, check out the video of Bush and Reagan one-upping each other on how welcoming they would like to be and how many services they would like to provide for illegal immigrants . . . and Bill Clinton-- welfare reformer-- slammed illegal immigrants and their drain on social services;
6) Trump signed his executive order over the Holocaust Memorial weekend . . . I don't have to explain the irony;
7) America is a country with great wealth and resources and we are often big-hearted and welcoming to refugees and immigrants . . . but some of our most regretful and humiliating moments are when we treated foreigners poorly-- the Japanese internment and sending a boatload of Jews back to Europe to be slaughtered by Nazis are incidents that come to mind;
8) we are also a country where freedom of speech trumps all other rights-- this is no place for cowards-- and while it is extraordinarily rare that an immigrant commits an act of terrorism, this is a possibility-- but it is a possibility that we must endure if we are going to be a free country;
9) while I find it absurd, it's not illegal in America to literally believe in the words of the Koran or the Bible or any other outdated religious text . . . and it's not illegal in the United States to have radical religious opinions or radical political opinions or any other kind of belief, even if it be ridiculous unfounded and stupid, and because of this ur-policy, we are going to occasionally suffer some collateral damage-- but again, this is not a country for cowards . . .
10) the 2nd Amendment allows for the proliferation of guns and conservatives are fine with the collateral damage associated with this;
11) Trump and the Republicans want to deregulate environmental rules and regulations-- they're willing to let people drive around as much as they want, and pollute as much as they want, though this leads to the warming of the globe, the loss of biodiversity, and the death of lots of folks in automobile accidents . . . but conservatives show no fear of these dire consequences of their policy;
12) conservatives are also not afraid of obesity, going without health insurance, and pandemics-- Trump don't need no stinking vaccines . . . so if Great Americans, Trumplike Americans are not afraid of any of this, if they are willing to embrace death in so many ways, then I'd like to implore them-- Trump, his followers and the rest of the conservatives-- to stop being so cowardly about immigration; we love danger here in the US, whether it's getting run over by a drunk driver or shot by some lunatic in a movie theater or daring the oceans to rise and swallow our coastal cities, so let's embrace the danger and embark on a great adventure and let in all kinds of asylum seekers and immigrants-- let's expedite the system instead of drawing it to an ugly halt-- and let's do it for the forgotten men and women of the world, the people that have truly lost everything, who have nowhere to go and no one to look out for them . . . the huddled masses, the wretched refuse, the homeless . . . this is a concern that is beyond political polarization . . . where you stand on this issue determines not only what kind of American you are, but ultimately, what kind of person you are.