Jeff, John, Lindsey, Marco, Olympia, et al… Where Are You? Speak Up!

The only way I know to act out and pretend that I am doing something meaningful is petition and write. I just signed the ‘Academics Against Immigration Executive Order’ and the ‘Statement by scholars on the January 2017 executive orders’ petitions. Now, I am writing this blog piece. I don’t know what else to do.

It was June 26, 1975. I was 12, I was aware, I was a citizen, and I did not know what to do. Just before the day was born, the President of India, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, on the advice of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, signed a proclamation imposing a national Emergency which essentially suspended the constitution. Something did not feel right then. Yesterday, President Trump signed an executive order titled, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” The text of the executive order is still not up on the White House website. However, The New York Times and other new agencies have a White House staff supplied version of the executive order. I read it in great detail, and something did not feel right again!

Yes, I feel a bit like I am 12 again! Again, I am a citizen in a country where the President has used the power of his office to act in a manner that violates the basic norms of decency, and deeply held values of the republic. Only this time I over 50, can join my fellow academics and sign petitions, and write a blog piece.

It is worth noting that both in the case of the emergency in India and in the present immigrant executive order tragedy in the U.S. the raison d’être is the security of the country. Poppycock! Both cases are really examples of deeply flawed illiberal (and I use liberal in the classic 18th century British sense of the term, and not its present American variant – for some sense of the differences this Quora discussion may be helpful) individuals abusing the instruments of the state to act out their personal, parochial proclivities. The executive order is essentially the first step in President Trump getting his ‘extreme vetting’ immigration policy into place. Except, even on its own terms, this policy is silly. I don’t think it is difficult to demonstrate the silliness of the purpose of the executive order and the actions it imposes on the immigration authorities. But to discuss those discrepancies would give the logic of the order more respect than it deserves. Put simply, the order is immoral and unethical. It will also be counterproductive.

I said I don’t know what to do! So I am calling on people who I think can do a lot more to speak up.  LOUDLY AND CLEARLY! A number of Democrats have already spoken and no one need tell Democrats to speak up. However it seems many Republicans have been silent on the latest executive order. And it doesn’t seem like they have a problem sending out messages opposing Trump. Lindsey Graham sent out a tweet after it was suggested that President Trump will pay for the Wall with a 20% tariff on imports from Mexico – he tweeted, “Simply put, any policy proposal which drives up costs of Corona, tequila, or margaritas is a big-time bad idea. Mucho Sad.” McCain is on record of letting the President know that he won’t take removing Russian sanctions lying down. And Flake, Romney, and many other Republicans have not been afraid to oppose Trump. So, the silence is deafening.

So, I am LOUDLY AND CLEARLY calling on:

  • Susan Collins, R-Maine, of “It flies in the face of foundation of freedoms in this country so I disagree” fame.
  • Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, of “Just when you think@realDonaldTrump can stoop no lower, he does. These views do not reflect serious thought” fame.
  • John McCain, R-Arizona, of “Oh, I think it has an interesting effect of turning Muslims all over the world against the United States of America” fame.
  • Lindsey Graham. R-South Carolina, of “…To all of our Muslim friends throughout the world, like the King of Jordan and the President of Egypt, I am sorry. He does not represent us”
  • Marco Rubio, R-Florida, of “Temporary ban on Muslim immigration. That’s not going to happen” fame.

…and many others, to speak up and condemn the executive order.

Why the five highlighted by bullets especially? Because they have over the last year and a half opposed Trump and do not constitute one of the Republicans who have ‘fallen in line’. Each of them did say the ‘of… xxx fame’ statements next to their names in the context of Trump’s Muslim ban statement.  And each of them wields some power. They are in the Senate and the President should deal with them. He needs to get his Cabinet nominees through. They can stop him.

I said at the beginning of this piece I don’t know what else to do. I am happy to follow through if any of you have constructive suggestions.


P.S. All the statements attributed to individuals here are statements that they made in the context of  Trump’s call for a Muslim ban. I need to point that out before someone accuses me of concocting alternative facts. However, they are undocumented. Seemed the right thing to do given the present context. J


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