With his executive order to build that southern-border barrier, President Donald Trump simply was keeping his campaign promise, placating his millions of anti-Latino bigot followers and not really causing any sudden problems — except maybe forever antagonizing Mexico.
But his other hateful order — which kept another campaign pledge to his anti-Muslim bigot followers, many of them the same as the anti-Hispanic ones — caused total chaos. Not only was the order based on hate, it was carried out in haste. Rarely have such incompetents misused such power in such an uncoordinated way. From the moment Trump and his fellow White House Keystone Kops released their directive to stop entry to the United States for anyone but bona-fide U.S. citizens, the spit hit the fan.
The grotesque nightmare continued for Syrian refugees who had waited years to go through vetting after surviving the violence that wracks their country. Just as suddenly, those coming from or having any connection to the other six majority-Muslim nations on the list also were stopped before they could board planes or detained after they landed. Border Patrol officers, at times, seemed drunk with power. Their superiors, who had been told about this disorderly order only as it was taking effect, had an extremely harsh view of their authority and held their new arrivals prisoner or sent them packing on another plane.
Those kept captive were held incommunicado, away from the heroic lawyers who had rushed to airports to help. They persisted, even after judges ordered them to at least allow their detainees access to attorneys, raising the possibility that their defiance might result in contempt of court. Even after several days, the situation was chaotic.
But other than Trump pandering to his base, what was the purpose? Why, for instance, would the seven countries on this arbitrary list not include Pakistan, a hotbed of militancy, or Afghanistan? Why not Saudi Arabia, home to most of the 9/11 attackers? Why did he exclude so many other majority-Muslim countries? Could it be, as some suggest, because Donald Trump or his family has financial interests in those places?
Does Trump’s order do anything to stop the homegrown terrorists who live here but have been radicalized or are angry outcasts? How does any nation effectively interfere with social media, which can be used for such dangerous incitement?
What about the terrorist violence inspired by other warped outlooks like the racism of Dylan Root, for instance, or even the consuming anti-Muslim obsession that drove a pathetic madman to kill during a shooting spree in a Quebec City mosque. This is chilling but true: Potential mass killers already are here waiting to be pushed over the edge.
What our dear leader Donald Trump has done with his reckless action just reinforces the argument that this great nation’s welcoming reputation is really undeserved. Ask generations past about the Germans or the Italians or the Irish. Blacks were allowed in, but they were in chains. Japanese-Americans were sent to internment camps.
Now it’s the Muslims who have every reason to believe this is hostile territory. President Trump, as inept as his administration may be, is succeeding in recruiting new people to the side of our enemies.
© 2017 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Synd.