Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration impacting Muslims is an affront to American values. It does not reflect who we are as a nation.
And no amount of double-talk coming out of the capital changes that, which is why so many Americans took the order as a kick to the gut. It didn’t feel right, because it isn’t right.
That’s not to say that the thousands of people protesting at the nation’s airports don’t want secure borders, or disagree with the necessity of keeping the nation safe.
But there’s more than safety involved with the execution of the president’s executive order. No matter how you slice it, it reeks of selective intolerance.
That’s why Democrats and some Republicans and even members of some third parties — along with businesses and religious leaders — are calling the administration out. And why contributions to the American Civil Liberties Union, which pushed to have a portion of the order temporarily halted, skyrocketed over the weekend.
It’s been a little over a week, and one of the Trump administration’s overarching accomplishments has been to energize its enemies, even as the administration engages its supporters.
No surprise there. From Inauguration Day, Trump made it clear that he would look out for his supporters. Since then, he’s done virtually nothing to reach beyond that base.
So, yes, the nation is divided — at this point, bitterly and frighteningly, so. A newly elected leader of the free world usually, at minimum, would make some show of cultivating friend and foe alike. But Trump deliberately, as he began during the campaign, set along a more divisive path. As a result, with every day, and each executive order, chaos seems to follow.
But that, I believe, is an illusion. The Trump administration seems to have a plan, and a purpose, to everything emanating coming from the White House. There are plentiful predictions, some optimistic — but many of them dire — on the endgame.
Which is why opposition likely — oh heck, make that certainly — will rise at every step along the way. Maybe not from Congress — where so many members gauge wind direction before jumping into, or away, from the fray — but from Americans themselves, banding together in protest.
Some who weren’t around during the massive, almost daily protests of the 1960s and 1970s have openly questioned why.
The short answer: Because protesters in America can.
When in doubt about, or in disagreement with government policies, protesters have every right — just as generations of Americans did before them.
Take civil rights. The movement against the war in Vietnam. And AIDS activists who made their case by spreading squares of quilt out along the national mall.
They’re just a few examples of sustained civic engagement that changed the course of history.