It seems that the 10+ years of mandatory history classes have taught U.S. society virtually nothing about the true danger of repeating America’s darkest historical moments. Exclusion and discrimination in this nation is recurring, dividing the country and alienating groups of people from society.
This time, however, we say no in the face of injustice. The Muslim ban and wall on the Mexican border are ultimately fueled by hatred and cowardly defended through talk of national security, and we should not stand for their values nor be silent about their potential consequences.
Only ten day into his presidency, President Donald Trump signed an executive order limiting the flow of immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries and banned the entry of Syrian refugees indefinitely. He also reaffirmed his previous implications of building a wall on the Mexican border.
The constitutionality of these laws is questionable but their humanity is not. While President Trump started his campaign on the basis of hate speech, he consummated it through his actions in his early presidency.
People, no doubt initially skeptical of his willingness to pursue his plans during his campaign, must now face the fact that his identity was not misinterpreted by people merely hoping to tarnish his image. His early actions in the presidency have proved him as xenophobic, prejudice, and Islamophobic as rumor has set.
The same rhetoric being used against Muslims—foreigners and Americans alike—has been used for hate and fear-mongering in context of many Americans before our time. The Italians, the Jews, the Japanese, and the Latinos have been vilified in their own times, but it seems to teach us nothing.
The “enemies of the decade,” as I like to describe it, are depicted as dangerous and threats to society. They are seemingly incapable of assimilating with American customs, and they hold a deep hatred for Americans.
But how incompatible is this depiction with the reality of the average immigrant? Well, extremely so.
Incidentally, the victims of corrupt governments and radicalist groups, the ones seeking to escape tyranny and war, are the very ones criminalized by our democracy. The people who dream of this country and all its opportunities are denied the American Dream for the actions of bad seeds.
Similarly, the country hopes to utilize a wall on the Mexican border to secure our safety and wealth while our world history clearly points to the fact that, beyond securing borders, walls stand in the way of human coexistence.
The words engraved on the Statue of Liberty must be reminded of in a time like this. So, to Mexico and Iraq, to Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, “give us your tired and poor, your huddled masses. “
Ultimately, I thought the country would never come to this. But it seems we are not done moving in the direction of prejudice. This ban seems to be just a first step towards many more discriminatory practices. In only 10 days, Trump did the unthinkable, and no doubt about it: he will not cease in his efforts without our discontent vocalized. Expect our resistance.
There are those who supported Trump for his prejudice, but for those of you who supported him despite his bigotry, you need realize that he upheld his campaign promises. With that being said, we cannot normalize outrageous policies that marginalize entire groups of people, who quite frankly make America stronger together.