Column by Hallie Beard, Opinion Editor
During the election season, there was a Maya Angelou quote that circulated around Facebook walls and opinion sections, primarily focused on Trump:
“If someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
Last week, Trump signed an executive order banning travel from seven Muslim -majority countries – Syria, Iraq, Iran, Lybia, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. It’s quickly been coined as a “Muslim ban,” though President Trump and his sidekicks vehemently deny it.
The man now sitting in the Oval Office certainly showed the American people his true colors on several occasions. But now, the show time is over. He’s taking action, and there’s no more room for giving him the benefit of the doubt.
When he used hateful and generalized anti-Muslim and anti-refugee rhetoric during his campaign, we didn’t want to believe him. I, for one, certainly opted for looking at his entire existence as a joke – I never dreamed he’d make it as far as he did or actually get elected. And yet, here we are, facing a leader who is actively trying to wiggle his way around the parameters of our Constitution.
Besides keeping travelers from those countries out of the U.S. for a 90-day period and keeping refugees out indefinitely, he has also made it possible to investigate the social media and phone records of visa applicants from those countries.
The president has claimed again and again that the ban is not religion-centered and therefore not a violation of the Constitution – but his favoritism toward Christian-identifying travelers and shady, invasive search proposals have made it clear that what he implied during his campaign season is true: in his eyes, all Muslims and/or refugees are radical, violent extremists who are probably pledging their lives to ISIS and want to destroy the “real” Americans who speak English and wear MAGA hats.
It’s ugly, it’s fallacious and it’s anti-American.
This history has been beaten into our heads since elementary school, but it never hurts to remind ourselves: when colonists came to settle in America, they were escaping governmental and religious oppression and seeking freedom. We all know this in our heads, but do we accept this in our hearts? If Trump is truly a patriot who understands and values the history of our country, shouldn’t he be advertising America to outsiders as the promised land? Shouldn’t he be using his supposed business skills to let more citizens of the world become citizens of our great country?
I had thoughts of this when he first started running, but more and more, Trump’s political ideology and actions are leaning toward that of a young Adolf Hitler who wanted to wipe out groups of people altogether. He said in his inauguration address that he would “eradicate radical Islamic terrorism from the face of the Earth,” but what does that mean if he believes all Muslims are radical terrorists? Surely you can make that connection.
For those of you who laugh at this column and think my view of Trump is skewed or too infused with millennial snowflake-isms, just replace his name with some politician you don’t like. If a politician you opposed made these statements and took these actions against a group you’re a part of (revisit the Hitler reference!), you’d be horrified and disgusted.
Don’t let your party affiliation blind you from the extremely unconstitutional efforts of our new commander in chief. Listen to what he’s telling you. Believe others, and believe him. The first step in making a change is admitting there is a problem, and this is a big one.