With so many political posts lately I had thought to make this one about religion. After all, a blog titled Bad Atheist should be discussing religion every now and again. However, instead, I wrote another political post. Why? Because, as the saying goes, shit happens. And that shit is Trump.
This week Trump started confirming my worst fears about him. While it is hard to pick and choose which of his executive actions was the worse, since he has provided us with a full, rich smorgasbord of terrible decisions and actions to choose from, I am going to talk about his latest one. The one where he stopped and banned all migrants and refugees from seven countries from entering the United States, even those who hold permanent resident status. These countries were supposedly picked due to their failed nature, terrorist activity, and violence.
This sudden and drastic action reeks of so many things – fear, hatred, ignorance. This action, and Trump’s and his supporters justification for it make it seem as if there is no vetting of these travelers, as if we just say “yep, come on in” without doing any sort of check. Trump and crew seem to believe that we have avoided a terrorist attack from the citizens of these countries due solely to the grace of God.
The reality is that we do check them, each and every one. Some more than others. But none are given a free pass to just come and go without any scrutiny. And you know what? It seems to work.
Consider this fact – a true fact and not an alternate one that Trump and his followers are so fond of – none of the attacks carried out in the United States were done by a citizen of these seven countries. Not one.
Consider this fact too, none of the attacks carried out in the United States were done by Syrian refugees.
Finally, consider this fact, and it is one that Trump’s defenders are making a big to do about; all of these seven countries were identified by the Obama administration as posing special risks for visa status. In other words, the situation within those countries are dire and rife with terrorism and violence.
And yet, with just the procedures we have now, none of its citizens who have traveled here, go to school here, work here, and live here have committed any attacks against the United States here. Despite being from high risk countries.
Seems like pretty good evidence that we are doing something right. And that sudden, drastic measures such as those Trump engaged in, are not necessary or needed. Examining those procedures and tweaking them, possibly so. Full out stop – no.
An analogy from my own background might be useful here. If I have a productive piece of equipment that, although not giving me zero defects, does do well and whose defects are well below our goals, I am not going to shut it down to examine it in order to find ways to improve it. Instead I will let it run while I look at improvements, or even replacement.
Now, if the same machine were to malfunction and we had more defects than good product, or, even worse, someone were injured or killed, then yes, shut it down and fix it.
Our immigration system from these seven countries was working well, as evidenced by the fact that we had no terrorist attacks from anyone from these countries on our soil. Agreed, some from those countries have engaged in terrorist acts in Europe, but Europe is not the United States and the dynamics and situations are different. The situation in Europe is a cause to examine our system by using what is happening in Europe to see how it could be improved. However, it is not cause to shut it all down to do so. As I said, our immigration system for these seven countries so far has had zero defects.
Moving on, let me point out one other fact of interest. Refugees are going to come from high risk countries with high levels of violence and terrorists. If it were all nice and peaceful they would not have uprooted themselves from home and family and fled their country. What this means it that in using the criteria of not allowing people in from high risk countries Trump effectively blocks entry to this country to those who need its safety the most.
So, what does this tell us about Trump and his administration?
That they are, tactfully speaking, not deep thinkers. In fact, they are not thinkers at all – they do not analyze and try to understand the situation and system before making changes. Instead, they are reactors. They react and then try to justify, often with alternative facts and denial of actual facts. Think of them as being the proverbial bull in a china shop, only with the ability to speak.
Next, they don’t care. They do not care about the hardship that this imposes on people and families – on their livelihood, on their jobs, on their goals and plans. They don’t care that many of these people are in productive jobs in the United Sates and that their absence impacts American businesses. They don’t care that some of these people are engaging in important research that could have a potential impact on our medicines and healthcare. They don’t care that their actions may even cost people their lives. They don’t care. They reacted and damn , that felt good. The rest – they don’t care.
Moving down the list of things we learned from Trump and his administration. They don’t like to communicate. Nor do they like to coordinate. A small group wrote this up without input from anyone. The normal vetting of this executive order to ensure it does not violate laws and the Constitution, that it does what they want it to without unwanted complications and consequences, was not done. But of course, Trump knows it all anyway and so doesn’t need to worry about that. Which, come to think of it, is why he so often seems to live in a fantasy world.
This last trait, not vetting it (and isn’t that rather ironic), along with not communicating it in advance and planning on how to best implement it with those who are charged with actually implementing it contributed greatly to the chaos and uncertainty that followed. That with, of course, the fact that this was a bad, very bad, hugely and bigly bad executive order.
A bad executive order done badly . Trump and friends managed to get nothing right about this.
All for what? National security? To make out country safer?
This does not do that. Not even a little bit. In fact, it does the opposite. It provides evidence for the radicals claim that the US is waging war on Islam and Muslims. That our words about freedom of religion are nothing more than hollow hypocrisy. Trump and company’s actions have the potential to increase the effectiveness of the terrorist’s recruitments efforts.
I know, I know. Many of those supporters of Trump would pooh pooh my claims that Trump’s actions here actually help the terrorists and radicals rather than hurt them. This despite the fact that the reasoning is sound and is supported by actual events.
There are currently several Jihadist groups who are hailing Trump’s piece of ant-terrorist action. One even said that Trump was “the best caller to Islam”. Why? Because it shows that what the terrorists and radicals have been saying about the United States, that it is at war with Islam and has no true freedom of religion, are true. It turns what had been their lies into truth.
Or consider the citizens in Iraq. We, the United States, are working with them to defeat ISIS. But we won’t let them in? What message does that send – hello, we think you make fine cannon fodder but don’t really want to have anything else to do with you. Other than help you become good cannon fodder.
Even worse, the message this executive order sends to the American Muslim community is that the United States does not care about the ideals of religious freedom. That Muslims are second class at best. Especially when they consider that now Christians will get preferential treatment over all other refugees.
Which brings us to another question being asked – is this a ban on Muslims? Trump did call for such a ban during his campaign. Add to that former New York City mayor Giuliani stating during a Fox interview on Saturday that Trump had tasked him with finding some legal way to make a ban on Muslims happen. Then add to the pot Trump’s order giving Christians priority.
While this is not conclusive, there is enough here to cause extremely justified suspicion that it is indeed a ban based on religious belief. A ban on Muslims disguised… rather like how laws to discourage black voting back in the good old days were disguised as literacy tests. And if somehow it is not, then it gives every appearance of being such with all the accompanying issues and problems that such a ban would create. Including providing aid and comfort to the terrorists.
Moving to another one of the interesting questions being asked – why these seven countries? Yes, President Obama had them on a list. But, it was not for the sort of actions Trump is engaging in. Since Trump is busily doing everything he can to undo what President Obama has done, then why not add countries who have actually had some of their citizens attack us on our own soil? Why not add Egypt and Saudi Arabia to the list? Or Turkey?
Hmmm, let’s see. Trump has significant business interests in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey. He has none in Syria, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.
While not conclusive, it is suspicious. Add to that the fact that he continues to refuse to release his tax returns and divest himself of his business holdings, or even put them in a blind trust, and I think we have a grand cause to investigate. Is Trump trying to benefit, or at the very least, trying to protect, his business interests through the office of the Presidency without consideration on whether that is good for the United States or not.
Finally, despite all of this, the facts and the reasons, the protests and the pain it is causing to good people, I see many of his supporters still trying to justify this order and support these actions. In reading some of the articles and in my discussions with them, some do it out of hatred of Muslims and Islam. To those people I can only say go to hell cause we are not going to let you create one here in the United States.
Others though are doing so out of fear and ignorance. To them I say, heal yourselves. While your intentions may be good, ignorance and fear turn even the best of intentions into terrible actions. They are the bricks used to line that road to hell.