Can He Even Do That?

Almost every day I find myself turning to my husband or my coworker or a stranger on the street and saying, “Can he even do that?”.   The response is always “Apparently” with a side of “I can’t believe this is happening” face. Donald Trump’s latest executive order on immigration makes me ashamed and angry.  Ashamed to live in a country that elected this person and also a little ashamed at how much I have taken our democracy for granted and how little I know about how it works.  I can’t be alone on that.  I’m a college educated person.  I had four years of History and Western Civ in college. I studied democracy from it’s roots. I took US History classes.  Why did I not know how much the President can actually do all on his own?  “Checks and balances” was the phrase that kept popping into my head to comfort myself.  When do the checks and balances start??  Why did I wait until now, when it’s possibly too late, to speak my mind about this and re-educate myself?

I feel compelled to do something, but I don’t even know what to do.  Luckily, I have at my fingertips all the knowledge in all of the world.  Literally.  I’ve been researching ways to resist (other than marching) the policies that are being put in place and I wanted to share some of them with you.  Here’s what I have found:

  • Indivisible – This is a website and practical guide with steps you can take to show your resistance to Trump’s policies.  This is based on the grass roots efforts of the successful, if unpalatable, Tea Party.  I don’t like what they stand for, but they sure can organize.  Happy to steal their ideas.  Thanks Tea Party!
  • Five Ways to Be a Silent Protestor – These are five simple ways to protest without marching.  My favorite, #4, Stay Informed.  I like to google “fact check Trump” and see what fun stuff I come up with.  I actually laughed out loud at this one that I found on NPR:

I had a standing ovation like you wouldn’t believe….They actually — they were standing from the beginning. They didn’t even sit down. It was one standing ovation, the whole thing.” Trump in interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Jan. 26

THE FACTS: Trump never told the CIA officers to sit at the beginning of his speech, and it’s standard protocol without a directive from the president, they wouldn’t have sat down, as Huffington Post’s S.V. Date explains.

  • If you can’t stomach all of the political stuff but want to feel like you’ve done something to help someone, donate to a refugee fund.  International Rescue Committee has a 4 star rating.
  • 10 Actions/100 Days – The Women’s March organizers will send you one thing you can do every ten days to protest.  The first is to write a postcard to your representatives.  They even made a postcard for you to print.  Doesn’t get much easier than that.
  • Read this statement by Madeleine Albright and sign the petition by clicking on the link.  And I dare you not to cry as she describes arriving in New York Harbor.

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the executive order on immigration and refugees that the President signed on Friday. It bans Syrian refugees from entering our country, suspends the entire refugee program for 120 days, cuts in half the number of refugees we can admit, and halts all travel from certain Muslim-majority countries.

I felt I had no choice but to speak out against it in the strongest possible terms.

This is a cruel measure that represents a stark departure from America’s core values. We have a proud tradition of sheltering those fleeing violence and persecution, and have always been the world leader in refugee resettlement. As a refugee myself who fled the communist takeover of Czechoslovakia, I personally benefited from this country’s generosity and its tradition of openness. This order would end that tradition, and discriminate against those fleeing a brutal civil war in Syria.

There is no data to support the idea that refugees pose a threat. This policy is based on fear, not facts. The refugee vetting process is robust and thorough. It already consists of over 20 steps, ensuring that refugees are vetted more intensively than any other category of traveler.

The process typically takes 18-24 months, and is conducted while they are still overseas. I am concerned that this order’s attempts at “extreme vetting” will effectively halt our ability to accept anyone at all. When the administration makes wild claims about Syrian refugees pouring over our borders, they are relying on alternative facts — or as I like to call it, fiction.

The truth is that America can simultaneously protect the security of our borders and our citizens and maintain our country’s long tradition of welcoming those who have nowhere else to turn. These goals are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, they are the obligation of a country built by immigrants.

Refugees should not be viewed as a burden or as potential terrorists. They have already made great contributions to our national life. Syrian refugees are learning English, getting good jobs, buying homes, and starting businesses. In other words, they are doing what other generations of refugees — including my own — did. And I have no doubt that, if given the opportunity, they will become an essential part of our American fabric.

By targeting Muslim-majority countries for immigration bans and by expressing a clear preference for refugees who are religious minorities, there’s no question this order is biased against Muslims. And when one faith is targeted, it puts us all at risk.

I will never forget sailing into New York Harbor for the first time and seeing the Statue of Liberty when I came here as a child. It proclaims “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” There is no fine print on the Statue of Liberty, and today she is weeping.

This executive order does not reflect American values. If you agree, make your voice heard now.


Madeleine Albright
Former Secretary of State

There are a million reasons I’m not on board with Trump, but the Executive Order on immigration is possibly the scariest.  I’m not a particularly religious person, but I know if we ask the question, “What would Jesus do when faced with women and children who are fleeing from places RAVAGED by war?” the answer would not be, “Let’s make them wait 90 (more) days to come to the United States”.  If you find a way to justify to yourself that Jesus would be on board with this executive order, you are reading the wrong bible.

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