Going Political

Image of airport protests over the weekend from Reuters

Image of airport protests over the weekend from Reuters

Yep, going political on the blog today. So if you think that might bug you, move along…

An open letter to my pro-Trump friends (and yes, I do have several) who have said, “This isn’t a ban on all Muslims. It’s only a ban on the seven countries that pose the greatest threat.”

You are partially correct. It’s not a ban on all Muslims.

However, it also does not ban immigrants from those countries which history shows us pose the greatest threat to the United States with regard to domestic terror attacks. The nations included in the ban are as follows:

Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Iran.

Where is Saudia Arabia, home of most of the 9-11 hijackers? What about Pakistan, birthplace of at least one of the San Bernardino shooters? How about Kyrgyzstan & Russia. birthplace and previous home of the Boston Marathon bombers?

Nope. None of them are on the list.

So you are indeed correct, it is NOT a ban on all Muslims.

However, this ill-thought-out, sloppily executed order has banned many already thoroughly vetted refugees from coming into this country. Many of them are coming from places like Syria, countries we have frankly helped to destabilize with our many years of half-hearted war in that region, our short-sighted diplomatic policies there, and our apparent complete lack of understanding regarding the various sects of Islam in that part of the world and how they do (or more often, don’t) fit together. 

Basically, we helped break a number of these countries. Surely the least we can do is to help clean up the mess by allowing those desperate to escape to come here and live with us.

You may say, “Well, my president isn’t the one that created their mess.” But yes, he was. The previous president was your president, whether you like it or not. Just as, although the majority of voters in this country did not actually vote for Donald Trump, Mr. Trump is in fact their president now. Either every U.S. President is the president for all of us, the spokesman for all of us, the man we employ to implement our will; or he has no authority at all and this great experiment in democracy is at its end.

If, as I believe, each president is the president for all of us, then each president carries the burden of all his predecessors. That’s essentially the definition of the job: volunteering to come in and clean up the mess you think the previous guy made in the office.

Banning refugees who have already spent years having their credentials checked will not clean up that mess. Handcuffing Iraqi interpreters who worked with our soldiers won’t help clean up the mess. Separating a five-year-old child from his parents while checking his paperwork won’t clean up that mess. Sending a Cleveland Clinic doctor back to her homeland, where she had the nerve to go and visit family for a vacation – that will not clean up our mess in the Middle East. Detaining those who have Green Cards and other thorough documentation of their right to be here – that does nothing to clean up our mess in the Middle East.

In fact, nothing about this policy will clean up the mess made by the Obama, Bush or any other previous administration in the Middle East. It will merely add to the series of mistakes we’ve made in that region, mistakes which scream how little we understand the groups active there, the issues at play, and why the hell we are there in the first place. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world and gives a new recruiting tool to groups like ISIS.

Worst of all, this ban will do nothing to make any of us here in the United States safer.



  1. I admire you . You seem able to have conversations with friends who voted for Trump. I am not there yet. I cannot get past the fact that people supported a mysoginist, ignorant and way out of his depth billionaire, all the while hiding behind the disclaimer that “they are not racist or mysoginist”. Too easy.

    • It’s definitely disappointing to me that anyone at all supported him.

      However, I’m used to encountering conservatives on a daily basis. I’m in a very Republican, very conservative area. If I didn’t talk to Republicans, I would have almost no one to talk to in this entire county. But also, one of my dearest friends voted Trump. She is a genuinely good and kind person, but she’s also a very devout evangelical Christian who thinks abortion is quite literally the worst thing in the world. So she held her nose and voted for Trump, even though she wasn’t a big fan. To be honest, I was not a huge Hillary fan, but voted for her anyway, because I was more concerned about issues like gay rights.

      I think as long as we keep insisting that every single person who voted for Trump did so because they were racists or anti-woman, we’ll be fighting a losing battle because Trump voters will stop listening before we even finish our sentences. Over time, I believe his bad policies and inept administration of them will make it clear to many supporters that he was not in fact “the lesser of two evils” at all.

      Our real problem isn’t Trump voters. It’s all the people who DIDN’T EVEN SHOW UP because they were so turned off by the campaign rhetoric on both sides. I know two Millennials who confided in me they’re really worried because their health insurance was covered through Obamacare and now that will probably go away. But neither of them showed up to vote. Hillary seemed dishonest and out of touch, and Donald seemed like a buffoon. So they, and millions of others, stayed home.

      The real problem is a process that leads half of our citizens to feel, as Mark Twain said, that “if voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.”

  2. Very well-written. Thank you

  3. Here, here. You are so right. Let’s hope the current administration listens to voices of reason like yours and fixes this mess.

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