News of Trump’s imminent executive orders on immigration was broken by The Hill and Reuters last night. What is clear so far is that one executive action will end refugee migration from several Muslim nations. Another executive order will ban visas for travel to the United States from an unspecified number of Muslim majority nations. Apart from these, executive orders ordering the construction of a wall at the Mexican border and targeting sanctuary cities are also planned.
There is a sense of finality about what is transpiring today. This is the point where tyranny is no longer a threat but an abhorrent reality. The fantasy of American immunity to draconian undertakings many have desperately held onto thus far has slipped away. Let it be heard though, that there is nothing surprising here: for these are the very things Donald Trump promised in his campaign. These are the slogans that were cheered by thousands at his rallies. This is what his supporters voted for. This is what many including myself feared and sounded a warning about. “Give him a chance” they said. “He’s not even a true conservative, he’s just saying those things to get elected” they said.
So here it is then; a leader has arrived who has elevated security concerns above the national ethic, populism above constitutionality. At his inauguration he proclaimed: “When you open your heart to patriotism there is no more room for prejudice”. Bullshit. Dangerous bullshit. Patriotism and nationalism have long been the sharpest fangs of prejudice everywhere. Tyranny has always arrived with its banner waving in the wind behind it. Unfortunately this time it is the American flag that both prejudice and tyranny are draped in. Even more tragically, every possible warning sign was flashing since Donald Trump began his campaign; yet so thoroughly has conservative media confounded the national intellect that fear and hatred had a clear path to victory on November 8, 2016.
The time to speak the truth and repudiate the lie is now. For soon the rationalization will commence and these actions will be deemed common sense, necessary and in the spirit of “putting America first”. The truth of what has happened, if not protected, will be buried in the tomb of falsehoods conservative media will inevitably construct. The time has come for those who claim to believe in freedom, constitutionality and pluralism to stand united.
I am tired of finding middle ground with those who support Donald Trump. I am also weary of those self-professed liberals who enabled and abetted the anti-Muslim and anti-Islam enterprise. The anti-PC, anti-SJW folk who believe “the right to free speech is the right to offend”. Who call those speaking out for Muslims “regressive”. Who claim to “criticize ideas, not people”. Who would have us believe they are the true upholders of freethinking. Let me take the liberty of informing these people, including self appointed Muslim “reformers” that they are just as responsible for enabling the actions of this administration as those who voted it in.
We can no longer entertain the endless debates about what constitutes liberalism, free speech or tolerance. This fool’s errand has gone on long enough and has served only to weaken progressives and strengthen the far-right that the GOP has become. For most of those who have perpetuated these debates in public forums the clear motive has been to create more space for bigotry and to promote themselves through generating controversy. It is time for large Muslim organizations like CAIR and ISNA to find a common voice. It is time for sectarian schisms to be bridged; Sunni, Shia, Ismaili or Ahmadi, all Muslims must stand as one. It is time to stop seeking allies amongst those who have nothing to offer but hate and deception. It is time to consolidate political and interfaith alliances like the Muslim Jewish Conference and build new ones with all faiths and secular organizations that offer sincere, unconditional support.
To cut to the chase, psychopathy-whether individual or group-acts quickly. When it does not meet resistance it seeks the next target. This must be stopped now. Today it is a wall and a ban on travel and immigration; tomorrow it may be a registry or a mass deportation. We must oppose these executive orders at every possible level and in every possible peaceful means.
It is time to be a Muslim.
It is time to be an American.