“We want people in our country based on merit. Not based on a draw, where other countries put their absolute worst in a bin and they start drawing people. Do you think they’re going to put their good ones? They don’t put their good ones. They put their bad ones.” – Donald Trump
Donald Trump’s quote demonstrates an astonishing lack of self-awareness and an abundance of self loathing.
He is the son of an immigrant and four of his children are children of immigrants.
What does it say to first generation Americans, when the president says they are the children of the ‘absolute worst,’ the ‘bad ones?’
What does it say to his own children?
“These foreigners aren’t any good, but your mothers and grandmother, with limited education and no marketable skills, are okay?”
Trump doesn’t send coded dog whistles to the racists; his words are actual messages to other racists. Like other racists, he sees all foreigners and emigrants as attacks against a country’s culture. He and racists like him see no difference between gang members, children, terrorists, and refugees seeking asylum.
Racism makes it easy to ban Muslim emigrants fleeing countries plunged into chaos by U.S. foreign policy or occupied by the U.S. military.
The current political climate dismisses suffering with racist generalities and anti-Muslim bigotry, while children die. Syrian and other refugees risk everything for a better life and the U.S. continues to ignore the suffering of children. Racist policies along the nation’s borders separate families and treat innocent babies as criminals.
The President of the United States bans Muslims, oppresses Spanish speaking refugees, praises Nazis, excuses white nationalist racists, and pardons other racist criminals.
Trump’s wealth was accumulated in part by discriminating against minorities. His entire public life is filled with examples of racism.
Only racists or foolish, treacherous wretches can justify or excuse Trump’s behavior.
And yet this is were we find ourselves. The Republican Party has hooked its wagon to the political fortunes of a pathological liar with a clearly questionable relationship with Russian Oligarchs.
Are Americans better than this?
American history has bigotry as the foundation— from Jamestown, when the first African slaves were introduced in 1619, to this moment— brutally oppressing and marginalizing minorities has been public policy or public pronouncements by leaders across all parties.It’s easy to forget that women in the United States have had the right to vote for fewer than 100 years, less than one quarter of the nation’s history.
From violence against indigenous people to slavery and segregation, from the Alien and Sedition Acts and Chinese Exclusion Acts to to internment of Japanese Americans, the United States is a racist, discriminatory society and the odds have always been, and remain, stacked against everyone who isn’t white and male.
When Trump tweets attacks against Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, he’s addressing his base of other white, male racists. Racists will continue to support him, no matter what he says or does, no matter how many lies he tells, no matter how he contradicts himself or radically changes positions.
American xenophobia and racism has always been driven by fear of others.
The anti-immigration sentiment has always existed and it has always been wrong. There has always been room on the economic ladder for more.
The grandson of a German emigrant became president.
The great-grandchild of an Irishman became president.
A first generation Spanish-speaking American became a U.S. Senator, with hopes to become the presidential nominee of the anti-immigration party.
Racism is American and nationalist but it’s not the best we can be and it’s certainly not Christian.
The Bible is filled with stories that can be taken out of context to justify bigotry and avoiding others, but there are many, many more examples of God’s plan that we be closer together, not further apart.
All of us, Jew, Gentile, Samaritan, Ethiopian, Greek, and Roman, are made in the image of God.
Made in the image of God, each of us has the opportunity each day to be better than bigotry, better than living a life of fear.
Jesus calls us closer to God, not deeper into nationalism.
Jesus calls us to be better than we were, to be more than our past.
Each of us is capable of rising to the occasion, to grow into the fullness of God. We can be the best person we can be. As God intended.
Thanks be to God.