Saturday, January 28, 2017

What Has Happened to America?

The news today is very bad. Lady Liberty is weeping because we have banned refugees who need to be here from entering the country. People are being "detained" and their passports and visas taken away. People who have been vetted, who have spent years waiting to be allowed in, stopped at the airport and banned. The director of an Oscar-nominated film has been barred from attending the ceremony. Families have been split up, elderly parents forbidden from seeing their children, young girls not allowed to join their parents, people fleeing war and oppression, turned away. Permanent US residents with green cards were also detained and were refused lawyers, in spite of a federal judge ordering that they be allowed to have them. 

Even Dick Cheney thinks this is unAmerican. Dick Cheney! 

It has been said that even people who are permanent green card residents, who are here legally and have lived here peacefully for years, will be banned from reentering if they leave for any reason. Their crime? Being middle eastern from a country Trump doesn't like. He's "keeping the terrorists out." Oddly enough, people from Saudi Arabia, the country who provided the 9/11 bombers, are welcome to enter. People from Saudi Arabia, home of Bin Laden, home of some of the worst misogyny and homophobia on earth, the most radical Islam going, we welcome to come and go as freely as they please. The Iraqis, who have been our allies? Not so much. 

In fact, all of the countries who have ever been identified with a terrorist attack on this country are excluded from the ban. Why is that? All of them are countries who do  business with Donald Trump. So, the idea that this ban is designed to keep terrorists out is ludicrous. 

It's irrational, it's arbitrary, it's the worst possible foreign policy, ill-thought out, devastating to our very ethos, but it is decreed by the white house and so it goes. 

We are in the midst of a bad national nightmare that is not going away and gets worse by the minute. The media are rallying, but is it too little too late? 

The only good thing to come of this mess is that people are standing together, all parties and all people, to resist. People are showing backbone.  People are waking up. Millions of people are marching in the streets all over the world. 

Maybe there is hope. 

The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "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!"

Emma Lazarus (November 2, 1883)