The following post, written by The Rev. Robert A. Franek, is a part of Politicus Policy Discussion, in which writers draw connections between real lives and public policy.
Donald Trump in his inauguration speech promised to put America first, but his rhetoric and policies are doing just the opposite.
When the week began with Kellyanne Conway introducing “alternative facts” into the political lexicon in defense of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s lies, it was clear that nothing should be taken at face value from the new administration. The ridiculous debate over crowd size at Donald Trump’s inauguration compared to that of Barack Obama’s in 2009 only served to exemplify this point.
Donald Trump is so unhinged over losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton that without any evidence except the voices in his head, whom he has told the American people are his primary advisors, because he is a “smart person” and would primarily “consult himself” because he has “good instincts,” has ordered an investigation into imaginary voter fraud.
This has caused much of the news media to waste precious time and energy calling for Donald Trump to produce evidence to support his claim which he can’t do because it doesn’t exist. What does exist, however, is a plan to place further restrictions on voting rights making it harder for anyone who is not rich and white to vote. This is the true sham the Trump administration with the help of Congressional Republicans is trying to pull on the American people.
In a flurry of other executive orders in the past week we have seen Donald Trump take decisive action further weakening the Affordable Care Act, moving forward with building a wall along the southern border, continuing construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines, and placing a gag on government agencies from sharing scientific fact with the American public. None of these are in the interest of the American people and further show how the Trump administration is not only discriminating against large groups of people but again fact-based reality itself.
Among the most egregious of Donald Trump’s executive orders is the temporary ban on all refugees and Muslims entering this country from seven different countries in the Middle East. This is not only unconstitutional but rips apart the moral fabric of our country. The United States was built on the foundation of being a welcome place for immigrants and refugees of all faiths and from all over the world.
It does not go without notice that no terrorist has come from any of the countries on the list which are also consequently places where Donald Trump is not doing business. It is no coincidence that countries where terrorists have come from are not on this new list because Trump is making money off people in those countries.
If there was any doubt that this ban on refugees and Muslims from select countries was about protecting the people of this country, it is gone now. This is an attempt to codify prejudice and hate that goes against the values of our democracy which are protected by the constitution.
The enforcement of this order is already causing problems, as people who were otherwise approved to enter this country are being detained or prevented from coming altogether. The people affected include Syrian refugees who have already undergone a two year screening process to escape a war zone and Iraqi translators who have served side-by-side our military personnel in the most dangerous of circumstances helping to keep our people safe.
Donald Trump and his administration along with the Republicans in Congress have done nothing in this first week of the new administration to show that they care about the American people or the values that that make this country great. Meanwhile Congressional Democrats continue to fight for the principles of equality, justice, and dignity for all that are enshrined in the constitution and which are the bedrock of our democracy.
It is the American people who are putting America first or better the deepest moral values that make America great through non-violent protests, phone calls to elected leaders, and organizing for the ongoing fight for human rights and the moral center of our democracy.