The most patriotic thing an American can do is reject Donald Trump’s sh*t hole “vision” for America. It’s not because Donald Trump proposed it. It’s because his “vision” consistently brought war and political instability every time it was tried by ordinary countries in history who were trying to achieve the exceptionalism that America already has. Exceptionalism doesn’t mean perfection.
The founding fathers realized that. It’s why the Constitution includes the right to seek redress of grievances from the government.
Anyone who is an immigrant and has engaged in the political process of their chosen country has heard someone tell them to “go back to wherever it is you came from.” Typically, the people who say this envision a country that is racially uniform, practices the same religion and has a monolithic voice. It even eats meatloaf every Monday, and does its laundry on Tuesdays. Of course, that country never did exist, but that doesn’t stop cons like Donald Trump from promising a “return” to that country.
In the end, people of this mentality will tell any immigrant, regardless of their skin color, to go back to where they came from if they propose actually making the American dream possible. I know it, because I’m a Jewish, white immigrant and people have said it to me. Between you and me, they are such snowflakes!
I understand the privilege aspect of my identity. My skin color gives me privileges that are denied to American citizens who have more pigment in their skin than I do. This troubles me. We saw how ugly privilege makes us when Donald Trump said of four American citizens that they should “go back to where they came from.”
I also live in the world of the immigrant. Anyone who knows I wasn’t born here and reads my articles or discusses politics with me will often say, if you don’t like it why don’t you go back to where you came from,
I don’t owe them answers just as the Squad doesn’t owe Donald Trump an explanation. They do owe it to their district to represent their wishes and fight for their rights.
And no, I’m not going anywhere. I have a right to call out corruption. I have a right to call Trump a stupid, racist and misogynistic gas bag. The Constitution says so. I listen to the Constitution, not Donald Trump.
As someone wise pointed out, when I walk down the street, I can “pass” as a “real” American. I’m also someone with a platform. That means I have to use my voice responsibly in defense of people who are often targeted and blamed for the world’s problems. I also have an obligation to call out the personal failings of Donald Trump and his supporters.
I’m not here to detract from the fact that immigrants who are people of color get treated especially badly by those for whom assimilation really means accept being treated worse than we would treat animals and shut up.
I am here to unequivocally condemn Donald Trump and the sh*t hole vision he has for this country. But I’m also here to say that we don’t solve anything by asking why white people aren’t put in cages when the objective is to condemn putting any human being in a cage.
The America we want, the one that is multicultural, multi-racial and democratic is still an aspiration. But we won’t get there by discouraging participation in the work of solving our problems and of improving life for everyone who lives here.
Unlike most people who adopted America as their home, I have a platform to defend the America that really is great. It’s the America in which everyone has the right to free speech and redress of grievances under the Constitution.
There are no qualifiers restricting those rights to Mayflower Americans, Americans who were born here or even recently naturalized American citizens. Those rights belong to every person who lives in America.
So when Mr. Trump resorts to the ancient trope of telling critics to “go back where they came from,” if that really is his logic, he (and his Slovenian born third wife) should go with it.
If Melania is so unhappy with an America that elected Barack Obama, no one is stopping her from going back to Slovenia where the majority decide what, if any, civil rights the minorities in their population are allowed to have. Back in 2015, Slovenians rejected marriage equality by referendum. They’d probably like Trump’s way of seeing things on other minorities. In America, though, marriage equality is a right because the Constitution says so. It’s not a privilege to be bestowed on same sex couples only if the majority population votes for it.
Both appear to be unhappy with the America most of us embrace. They are rich, (thanks to the America they think isn’t that great) and could live very well in Russia, Saudi Arabia or anywhere else they may wish to live.
Most of America rejected Trump’s sh*t hole “vision” for America that literally takes the worse moments of world history and the worse political models and wraps them up into one Trumpy horror picture show.
But now, I ask myself and everyone who shares my sentiments regarding the Trumps, have we solved anything? Has telling people who point to things we could improve on to “go back to where they came from” given a single mother a better paying job or, if needed, the skills to make doing that job possible? Is college more affordable? Is healthcare more accessible? Have we stopped climate change, the epidemic of gun violence or the corruption that the Trumps exploit every day?
Are we any closer to seeing Donald Trump’s tax returns? Are we any closer to stopping the war Russia wages on our democracy every day? Are we any closer to getting Republicans to either grow spines or get out so that someone with a spine can replace them?
Americans want answers to these and many more questions. Americans want government to solve these problems and many more. Whether those Americans were born here or somewhere else, citizens or residents, every one of us has a Constitutional right to demand the government that works for us, do its job. Mr. Trump still doesn’t understand that as president of the United States, he is employed by every one of us. We’re the ones who get to make demands and judge his performance. He doesn’t have a right to say that
Americans who oppose his policies have to leave. That may be how it works in the countries he admires; that’s not how it works in America.
We don’t have to agree with the Squad on anything else, but we owe it to them and to America to defend their right to speak out and work to represent the hopes and aspirations of the people in their districts. We also owe it to the America that is based on ideas – not bloodlines.
By Trump’s belief system, when Europe sent us Donald and Melania Trump, it’s very clear it didn’t send us its best people. It sent us people with the problems of narcissism, racism, misogyny, greed, laziness and corruption.
It sent us people who hate America because it is a country of ideas. They want a country of bloodlines. The Trumps think they have a right to reduce us to the very thing that makes other countries ordinary. By Trump’s logic, Germany is his country. Trump’s country caused two world wars and Melania’s country was on the sidelines of the worst genocide in Europe since World War II. She knew what ideas made that genocide possible and she brought them with her when she immigrated to America.
Loving America means wanting it to do better than Germany did under Hitler and Slovenia did when it was part of the former Yugoslavia.
It doesn’t mean telling Americans to “go back to where they came from” no matter where they came from or how recently.
Those of us who look like we can “pass” as “real Americans” owe our country better than silence when Donald Trump reaches into his bag of racist tropes to attack any member of Congress, indeed any citizen or resident.
In fact, we owe what so many demand of all Muslims when one Muslim commits a terrorist act.
We must condemn white supremacy and those who advocate it. We must stand up with the people they target. We must condemn misogyny and those who defend it. We owe it to ourselves, to the America that is great, to stand with those who they target.
We must condemn those who hate the fact that our diversity is our strength. And we must stand together in opposition to their sh*t hole “vision” for America that replaces exceptionalism with an ordinary failing state.
Ms. Woodbury has a graduate degree in political science, with a minor in law. She is a qualified expert on political theory with a specific interest in the nexus between political theories and models and human rights.
Based on her interest in human rights and the threats that authoritarian regimes are to them, Ms. Woodbury’s masters thesis examined the influence of politics on the enforcement of international criminal law was cited in several academic studies.
Published work includes case summaries for the War Crimes Research Office.
She has an extensive background doing legal research in international and domestic law.
Ms. Woodbury’s work for politicusUSA includes articles on voting rights, the right to asylum and other civil/human rights.