SPRING EDITORIAL BOARD 2017
Last Friday, alt-righters rejoiced across online havens in their common tongue: cowardly, xenophobic speech sprinkled with broken German.
They owed their victory to President Donald Trump, who issued an executive order barring all refugees from entering the United States for four months and prohibiting nationals from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering for 90 days.
Additionally, and most damningly, it bars Syrian refugees from entering indefinitely.
The order is not only unnecessary, but it also harms America in a practical sense and is a moral disgrace.
Trump’s order was precipitated on the ridiculous claim that the U.S. doesn’t have a strong vetting process.
Before the order, Syrian refugees underwent a vetting process that could last up to two or more years. Not a single Syrian refugee has committed a terrorist attack. Also, among all of the nationals from the seven banned countries who have immigrated here, none have killed any Americans in terrorist attacks.
Living up to its name as the Mother of Exiles, as immortalized in Emma Lazarus’ “The New Colossus,” America has become home to millions of refugees seeking a free and safe life.
The order, ostensibly designed as a practical and necessary effort to prevent terrorists from reaching American shores, will exacerbate the issue of terrorism.
On balance, it will increase the threat of terrorism because of its potential to be leveraged as propaganda for organizations like ISIS.
ISIS is unable to defeat America militarily, but it has shown surprising deftness with respect to waging a war of ideas; its propaganda machine is powerful, and so it’s able to brainwash some of the impressionable young Muslims who live their lives against a backdrop of cultural isolation.
The Obama administration took great care in crafting a strategy with this fact in mind, and so it helped ensure the situation isn’t framed as America versus Islam by opting for strategic language and posturing to prevent the ISIS brand from having extra tools in this ideological war.
Upset and unthinking, many complained about Obama’s refusal to throw around phrases like Islamic terror or Muslim terrorists. Many charged that his utterance of those words would signify a stronger strategy.
However, stronger language doesn’t necessarily entail better strategy.
As Obama’s strategy of military domination with an eye toward containing the ISIS brand carried on, ISIS recruitment fell precipitously.
Trump’s order creates room for the ISIS propaganda machine to reframe the situation as a conflict between the current world order and Islam, thus enticing more alienated Muslims to join the terrorist organization.
Additionally, the order alienates some of our allies in the fight against ISIS.
It targets Iraqis, who compose the bulk of ground forces combating ISIS. Also, Yemen, a country helping us fight al-Qaeda, released a statement expressing dismay over Trump’s decision to bar its citizens from traveling to the U.S.
Without clear diplomatic support from the U.S., our current and future partnerships with the listed countries are at risk.
Decried as a ban on Muslims, the order received severe backlash as swarms of protestors took to airports to show solidarity with those affected.
Lawyers worked pro-bono in airports, offering legal support to travelers and their families.
Some of the less overtly racist defenders of the order maintain it isn’t a ban directed toward Muslims, but rather, it’s a ban made with the single-minded purpose of protecting Americans from terrorists.
The day following the order, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani all but dispelled this notion by admitting that Trump asked him how to establish a ban on Muslim immigration “legally.”
This should come as no surprise to those who remembered, and believed, Trump’s campaign rhetoric.
Moreover, the order’s religious discrimination becomes evident through the language of the order, which grants preference to the minority religions in all of the seven Muslim-majority countries.
Seemingly in an attempt to defend this preference, Trump went to twitter Sunday morning to tweet “Christians in the Middle-East have been executed in large numbers. We cannot allow this horror to continue!”
His justification misses that Muslims, by and large, make up the majority of victims of terrorist organizations like ISIS and al-Qaeda.
This tweet serves to give the order’s supporters an imaginary parcel of moral confidence in their detestable position.
Also, it showcases a basic human fault: the human tendency to value one life over another because of arbitrary differences in things like religion, race, skin color or the numerous other ways people are compartmentalized.
It’s a testament to the general good nature of our country that such a quick and passionate backlash occurred.
But the general good nature of people doesn’t necessarily translate into who holds power in this nation.
Consistent, deliberate and concerted action is much more likely to create the change we need.
The vast majority of Republicans have remained silent on this issue, and some like our very own Rep. Mike Rogers have expressed support for it.
Pressure must be placed on this administration so Trump knows he won’t have as many bargaining chips with Congress if he commits himself to dangerous and immoral ideas such as this.
We implore all of our readers to call their representatives and demand open opposition to the order.