Op/Ed: A Select Few - Trump & Immigration

(Short Version: 198 Word Count)

JD Lock, Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Retired), 12 January 2018

 

Each night when I go to sleep, I do so believing that the plummeting depth of ignorance, intolerance, hubris and entitlement conveyed by Mr. Trump has reached its nadir.  Then, I wake to learn that he has invariably set a new low.

 

Mr. Trump’s latest all-time low occurred January 11, when he was reported to have stated, “Why do we want these people from all these shithole countries here [places like Haiti, El Salvador, Africa]?

 

Bully!  Thank God the President of the United States does not represent any American citizens with Haitian, El Salvadorian or African lineage.  Just how embarrassing would that be?

 

Ironically, President Ronald Reagan offered, from the very same office on the same day in 1989, a farewell address to the nation a strikingly diametric immigration message.  A message that conveyed what President Reagan saw, looking out from his favorite window in the residence, a “shining city upon a hill” that is “still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.”  Not quite the same view or message of the current White House occupant, is it?

Op/Ed: A Select Few - Trump & Immigration

(Long Version: 597 Word Count)

JD Lock, Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Retired), 12 January 2018

 

Here’s to a president born American, born white, born male, born privileged, born defended by the sacrifices of others.  In other words, born lucky.  Each night when I go to sleep, I do so believing that the plummeting depth of ignorance, intolerance, hubris and sense of entitlement conveyed by Mr. Trump has reached its nadir.  Then, I wake to learn that he has set a new low.

Mr. Trump’s latest all-time low occurred on January 11. While discussing a bipartisan proposal in the Oval Office regarding the Diversity Immigrant Visa program, he was reported to have stated, “Why do we want these people from all these shithole countries here [places like Haiti, El Salvador, Africa]? We should have more people from places like Norway."  A White House spokesman, when questioned, not only didn’t deny the quote but noted that the remark ‘will resonate with [Mr. Trump’s] base.’

Bully!  Thank God the President of the United States does not represent any American citizens with Haitian, El Salvadorian or African lineage.  Just how embarrassing would that be? And, to ensure there’s no doubt as to where America stands on immigration, we should propose that Emma Lazarus’ “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” be updated with an exception clause to reflect today’s American reality, a reality that cannot have too many Norwegians but can have too many AIDS infected Haitians, Mexican rapists and African hut dwellers.  In the future, Lady Liberty should only “lift my lamp beside ‘a selectively open’ golden door.”

Poignantly, it should be noted that the day following Mr. Trump’s divisive, racist?, comments was the anniversary of the 2010 Haiti earthquake that left a minimum of 220,000 Haitians dead, and the country still struggling to recover.

However, as traumatic as that earthquake was, there is an even more ironic anniversary of note, that of President Ronald Reagan’s farewell address to the nation on 11 January 1989, an address from the very same Oval Office but with a strikingly diametric immigration message.  A message that recalled a boat person in a leaky little vessel calling out to an American sailor, “Hello, American sailor. Hello, freedom man."  A message that conveyed what President Reagan saw, looking out from his favorite window in the residence, a “shining city upon a hill.”  A message that reminded us that this shining city is “still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.”  Not quite the same view or message of the current White House occupant, is it?

For a self-proclaimed “very stable genius,” Mr. Trump overwhelmingly lacks the vision of The Great Communicator, much less that of the Founding Fathers who envisioned a country built on a melting pot of immigrants, a melting pot that inculcates the American espoused universal truth that “all men are created equal.

In the end, while Mr. Trump’s racial and ethnic denigration regarding immigration policy seems to resonate and appeal to a core base, a true conservative standard bearer such as President Reagan said it best in his farewell: “An informed patriotism is what we want. And are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world?”  America is better than what Mr. Trump has to say.  And, if we are unwilling to face that issue based on what we represent to the world, it is imperative that, at least, we face it for our children.