Donald Trump’s Uncivil War on American Values and Human Decency

January 30, 2017

There’s been so much to write about in this new year, but last Friday’s immigration ban from Donald Trump was a call to arms to everyone in this country (and across the globe) who cares about the core values of American freedom and decency. Fortunately, thousands of Americans quickly flooded airports across the country to protest the ban and defend those trying to legally enter the country. Within twelve hours of Trump’s executive order, five federal judges (four who were female) struck down the provisions that detained individuals and families (including children) in several American airports. Many people are still stuck in limbo, but the pressure is on the goon squads.

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When he was on the campaign trail, I wrote more than one piece about how Trump represents a slippery slope toward fascism. A lot of mainstream folks poo pooed the seemingly alarmist concern. After he won the electoral college, his cabinet appointments, a motley crew of seemingly incompetent millionaires and Wall Street billionaires, began to worry voters. What does it mean when Rick Perry is the most shovel-ready guy in the room? And a waiver to have a non-civilian run the Department of Defense was certainly cause for concern. Then his dark inauguration address, where he painted a bleak picture of a ruined nation (actually in a bright economic recovery) brought a chill to all but the most gung-ho Trumpists. His “America first” refrain brought to mind for many another nationalist in Europe about 84 years ago. The silver lining was that Trump was coming in to record low approval ratings. The tide was already turning against him.

Friday’s executive order stopped cold immigration to the US from seven Muslim nations where no terrorists have actually come from. It excluded all the nations the 9/11 attackers came from (like Saudi Arabia and Egypt) and where Trump has significant business dealings. This meant that Syrian families escaping the hell in Aleppo are to be turned back, much like how we turned away Jews fleeing Hitler in the 1930s. Is this who we are as a nation?

That question is important.

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One of the people detained at JFK Airport (in handcuffs) was an Iraqi named Hameed Khalid Darweesh. He worked for the US government in Iraq for ten years as a translator at great risk to himself and his family. He was promised that for this sacrifice he would be granted a visa to emigrate to the United States. That was before Donald Trump arrived and killed all those agreements with our allies in the Muslim world. He reneged on America’s deal with Darweesh like he’s reneged on so many deals he’s made in the business world. But this betrayal has global impacts. Who in the Middle East will want to work with us now? (Is Trump for Russia and ISIS?) I think of the great shame America carries for all its broken treaties with Native Americans. How will history rank the shame we will inherit from the Trump Administration? Is this who we are as a nation?

It’s clear that the grown-ups have been kicked out of the White House. This executive order was probably the work of alt-right guru Steve Bannon and not any sane people in the State Department. Trump’s dismantling of the National Security Council was labeled as “stone cold crazy” by former National Security Advisor Susan Rice. His promotion of torture as an effective way to fight terrorism (when all evidence shows the contrary) rattled even his hand-picked generals. Besides the fact that all of this makes us less safe, is this who we are as a nation? This chaos?

The seeds of Civil War II

Just like Brits who regretted Brexit immediately after voting for it, there are scores of Americans who have had second thoughts about their vote for this madman. They were there with the millions who participated in the Women’s March and they were also some in the airports Saturday night demanding the release of immigrants who had followed all the rules. The civil rights movement was greatly energized by whites marching arm in arm with blacks in the 1960s. The anti-Trump movement to restore America is going to require conservatives joining progressives to try to make America great again. We will need our Republican brothers and sisters in this struggle.

The danger is in the fact-free environment that Trump and his alt-right cronies have fostered. There’s a certain chunk of the population that is easily manipulated by pressing a few racist buttons. They were the chumps that thought President Obama wasn’t legitimately American because Trump said so and they are the chumps that think crime by “illegal aliens” is a significant threat, despite the actual facts. Trump has said that he will publish a weekly list of crimes by “aliens” (which would include legal resident aliens, like my wife), stoking the fear mongering, negating the legitimate fact that most offenses in this country are committed by white male citizens. Facts don’t matter when fear of “the other” rules the day. This how fascism works.

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As more Americans come out to defy the unconstitutional and unAmerican actions of Donald Trump, how will his loyal cult respond to the assault on their Dear Leader’s campaign to remake America in his image? The great hope is that we can convince them that he is bat-shit crazy and a danger to the core values all of us share, even the guy who only listens to Lee Greenwood records. But there are a bunch of Trumpies that are even more bat-shit crazy than our celebrity president and they have a lot of guns. They live in Trump’s land of wacky conspiracy theories and think “real America” is closer to the empty wilderness of Wyoming than the world millions of citizens on the east and west coasts live in. And they are ready to fight with God and his orange son on their side.

Trump has divided this country in a way that makes national unity now seem like a far off dream. All he needs is one terrorist attack (real or contrived) or one heinous crime by an immigrant (real or contrived) to take the next step in his clampdown. He’s already floated the idea of immigrants turning over their social media accounts to the Feds, as well as just “closing up” the internet. No wonder Amazon has sold out of George Orwell’s 1984. We are living in a dystopia.

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The demagoguery has proven Trump cares more about his ego than the survival of the nation. From his obsession with the crowd size at his coronation to his inability to get off of unsecured communication platforms like Twitter (Does anybody remember Hillary’s emails?) and now to this gift-wrapped present he just handed ISIS, it’s clear he could give a rat’s ass about national security. Let’s just hope the NSA was smart enough to give him fake launch codes for our nuclear arsenal. Trump is rapist Alex in A Clockwork Orange who will lead his moronic droogs into a war against the rest of us just to prove his hands aren’t that small.

It gets personal

This is just beginning. Out of this weekend’s chaos came the message that people from these seven Muslim nations with green cards shouldn’t expect to be admitted back into the country if they leave. That means, if your mother in Somalia is sick, you can’t visit her because the Trump kakistocracy thinks you might be a terrorist instead of a concerned child. And if you are student from Iran studying at an American university, you better hide in your dorm room for the next four years. (Again, no terrorist attacks in the United States have been committed by anybody from these countries.) Trump has stated his list of seven countries could be widened and what nation does he hold the most disdain for? Mexico.

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There are over one million lawful permanent residents in the US, known as green card holders, and 13% are from Mexico. That includes my wife who got her green card in 2010. We enjoy our trips to Mexico to see her family and immerse our daughter in her Latin heritage. I also teach a summer college course on a beautiful Mexican island each summer. If Trump widens his enemy nation list, that could all change. It’s already changing.

Reports are coming in of plainclothes ICE agents lurking in court houses looking for any potential “illegal” they can detain. Across America, immigrant communities from Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Somalia, Sudan and Libya are in lockdown, off the streets, for fear that Trump’s gestapo will come knocking; afraid to leave the house, let alone the country. Many of these people went through the absolute extreme of human suffering to find sanctuary here in the land of the free. Additionally, Latino immigrants are now being told by bosses not to complain about working conditions or pay or be reported to ICE. Middle-eastern immigrant kids are being told by bullies (and some teachers) that their parents are terrorists and are going to be kicked out of the country. Trump’s crackdown on “sanctuary cities” has already violated the 10th Amendment (see Printz v. United States, 1997), but the wave of fear will have countless casualties before the issue is re-argued before his stacked Supreme Court. This is not America.

The good news is the freedom-loving world has condemned Trump’s fascistic chaos. The images of refugee children dying to escape actual carnage (not Congressman John Lewis’s wonderful 5th district in Atlanta) are forever burned in our memories. Real American Christians are strong in the opposition along with every other demographic who wants to stand up to this insanity, this anti-American obscenity. Unfortunately, this call to the defense of basic human decency is happening as his cult rips the country into bits. Is this who we are as a nation?

Americans cannot wait until this lunatic destroys our great nation. He must be condemned and removed now. For the sake of all that is sacred to us.

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9 thoughts on “Donald Trump’s Uncivil War on American Values and Human Decency

  1. i hope all the idiots that voted for this mad man are happy now. some are really stupid and racist enough that they are probably still happy. i predicted that he would have us in a war in two years . if not sooner. Trump should be see by a shrink for extensive tests. he is as my grandmother used to say (not right in the head). he already has and i believe will do more to warrant an impeachment and they can take his v.p. out with him. no this not what American is about.
    Kudos to the judges that over ruled him. i long for the Obama when a cool, logical man was at the helm. all of the marches are wonderful but he will say it is fake news when reported. i wish i had a machine that would just vaporize this whole group. i hate to but must watch the news to see his most recent outrage. i am appalled each time i do. does anyone know what we can do(short of killing him) to get rid of him post haste? i have read much about Hitler’s rise. i think Trump is on the same path. if we can’t think it can happen here, we are just ignoring history. i would like to do something but am a home bound 78 year old , i can make phone calls and write letters . i don’t think they listen or just get a recording.. personally i don’t think anyone reads the letters either. i mourn for our America.

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  2. Let me ask, how exhausting is it for you to keep talking about Trump? When I finally stopped talking about Obama and started to focus on the more important things in life (family, kids, friends), I began to feel a sigh of relief.

    I’ll be honest, I’m glad Trump signed this. You have the luxury not seeing the things I’ve seen and encountering the things I’ve encountered. As a retired Army Delta Force (Army’s Seal Team 6), I’ve seen terrorism at it’s best. I’ve seen them recruit men, women, and children. If they want to come here, there needs to be better screening. Today, I live in El Paso and work for Border Patrol. Watching these people come across our borders illegally and bringing thousands of dollars worth of drugs and even trying to sneak the money back into Mexico is something liberals want to deny. I don’t do it for the money or recognition. I do this because I love this country so much I’m willing to do whatever I can to protect Her, defend Her, and secure Her.

    I know you have a little girl. I challenge you to focus more of your time on her and your wife rather Trump news. Imagine how or what your life would be like. I hope it’s filed with as much joy as mine is. I go to work, come home, be with my family, and repeat it. Even though we have a TV and Internet, we don’t spend a lot of time on it.

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    1. I appreciate your comments but every single major terrorist attack in the US, aside from 9/11, has been committed by U.S. citizens. I am focused on my family. My wife crossed the border illegally from Mexico. Maybe you saw her. The first time she was arrested. Maybe by you. She now has a green card but many of our family and friends are hard working people who pay taxes and put their kids trough school but are undocumented and now live in fear.

      The children trying to escape the hell of Syria and the Iranians who helped the United States during the war and were promised US visas are not a threat to you and I. I will not give in to Trump’s fear-mongering and I, Albert, I beg you not to as well.

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    2. Your “concern” is so touching. I see you got to decide when you want to stop focusing on something, so you feel entitled to tell everyone else how to live their lives and what to do and what to think and when to think it.

      I remember when the terrorists were going to infect themselves with Ebola and walk across the border. Are they terrorists or are they drug smugglers or are they rapists. It’s so funny though, when it ‘s a home grown rapist, suddenly rape is something that’s all a woman’s fault and doesn’t really exist anyway, so who needs laws to protect women, they asked for it. Especially now that Emperor Feltersnatch has assumed power. So very sorry us libtards aren’t living up to your extraordinary standards and just hanging breathless and ga-ga on every brilliant statement that dribbles from your brains.

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    1. I don’t know about social analysis, but it’s not just gays, it’s women, it’s liberals, it’s anyone who has an opinion, doesn’t “know their place”, who won’t kowtow to Trump because we have to “respect and submit the Office of the Presidency” a fetish of the right these days, even after all that birtherism Trump promoted for all those years. Even after they claimed they voted him in to “shake things up”. But even with all the shaking up and “draining the swamp” and “doing things differently”, “libtards” are still required to obey by whatever other rules they lay down, rules that don’t apply to the righteous apparently. It’s easy to do, with strawman tactics, smearing liberals as Satanic, demonic, evil, uninformed, mentally deficient, not quite human and in desperate need of their rules and correction. You can see it in every single arrogant “why don’t you just go play with your children and stop talking about Trump already, for your own good” comment.

      That’s the driving principle behind Traditionalists. Russia has just reversed domestic violence laws, under the noble banner of traditionalism. http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21715726-it-fits-traditional-values-lawmakers-say-why-russia-about-decriminalise-wife-beating

      Because when a woman or a child has to endure a beating, it’s just “tradition”, the old paths. It’s for their own good, for their own protection. Please, someone has to get hurt, for the good of society, we must obey, submit, grovel to those who consider themselves morally superior.

      https://4thgenwar.wordpress.com/2016/07/03/trump-meets-man-who-inspired-2011-terror-attack-deadlier-than-orlando-shooting/ The real war they’re bent on instigating is not with terrorists.

      And, if the Central Park 5 case is any indicator, Trump doesn’t care about evidence or innocence, no matter how young you are, no matter what you are doing, you must be guilty of something, if he just “feels” it, it must be so. You must be punished.

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      1. “They’ve found that right-wing populists have largely fed off the alienation of older white voters, who are angry about the erosion of traditional values. These voters feel stigmatized as intolerant and bigoted for even entertaining such anger—and their rage grows. “These are the groups most likely to feel that they have become strangers from the predominant values in their own country, left behind by progressive tides of cultural change,” Norris and Inglehart write. Their alienation and fear of civilizational collapse have eroded their faith in democracy, and created a yearning for a strongman who can stave off catastrophe.”

        I think in the U.S. we’ve had more open immigration since 1965. Women’s issues seem to have been more of a hot button issue in the 1970s. Racial issues continue (along with the others), but there haven’t been any recent contentious court rulings or legislation to jeopardize the perceived position of older white voters, except perhaps because of the election of a black president and the court allowing same sex marriages. Immigration, refugees, undocumented people were never even an issue or “problem” until Trump made them one. That’s why I’m wondering if the cultural backlash in this country is largely based around equality for LGBTQ people. And the article also mentioned that as a hot button issue in Europe and Russia as well.

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      2. Gay marriage has been used as the boogie man against “traditional” marriage. For years the go-to excuse was “your gay marriage invalidates my holy, Godly marriage” but no one could explain how, exactly, without pointing to the sky and invoking the supernatural. Same with Hobby Lobby, they made corporations people so they could bestow religious beliefs upon them and use it to control women’s sexy times outside of church, and Rush Limbaugh went on the radio to call Sandra Fluke a slut for 3 days and demanded she make sex tapes for everyone to watch. This was after they denied her the opportunity to testify only about her friend’s medical condition, to a roomful of men.

        Gay marriage may be one issue of many. Trump is pushing terrorism hard, while rolling back studying and neutralizing Christian white supremacist extremists. Stand Your ground is sanctioned murder, if you just “feel” threatened, it’s more than good enough. As the writer you quite points out, it’s “feelings”. Some people’s feelings get coddled and nurtured and pandered to while certain other people’s feelings are scorned, mocked and demeaned, looks like.

        We’ve had Birchers and fears of “commies” (aka liberals and Jews) for decades and decades. Jan Brewer telling tales of beheadings in the Arizona desert back in 2010. None of this is new. This has not cropped up all of a sudden. They’ve been pouring lighter fluid and standing there flicking their bics for a long time. Trump put his name on it and finally lit the fuse. All he had to do was put on a spectacle by descending the escalator and declaring that Mexicans are rapists.

        And as far as Europe and Russia, well, of course. We just joined the party already in progress. They’ve been drooling over Putin over on Fox News for a while now.

        http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/11/18/1601406/-Everything-You-Need-to-Know-About-Steve-Bannon-Breitbart-Russia

        http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/02/08/1631454/-An-Explanation-of-Why-Trump-Republicans-The-Alt-Right-Have-Embraced-Putin

        Trump is indeed their strongman, their “law and order” candidate. But how many people need have their lives turned upside down and ruined, how much of the constitution has to get shredded before the right feels a smidge less angry and feels a pinch more comfortable.

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    2. PS Why is it that when Trump wants to investigate his imaginary 3 million illegal voters his only concern is in the states he lost. This is the Central Park 5 writ large. He’s already decided that there is guilt, he knows who the guilty are, and where they are and he will see to it that they are punished. No evidence or lack thereof is going to matter, when Trump “just knows”. It’s not an investigation, it’s a witch hunt.

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