Do you agree with Trump’s travel ban on seven Muslim countries?

Demonstrators gather in solidarity against President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. and suspending the nation’s refugee program Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, outside City Hall in Cincinnati. In addition, earlier in the day Mayor John Cranley declared Cincinnati a "sanctuary city," meaning city will not enforce federal immigration laws against people who are here illegally, in keeping with current policy. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Demonstrators in Cincinnati gather on January 30 in solidarity against President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. and suspending the nation’s refugee program (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Unsurprisingly, criticism of President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States has been swift and harsh.

There’s enough in the ban to criticize: From the void of American values of defending the marginalized “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” to the legally questionable practice of targeting and discrimination of a single religious group. It may be billed as a tool against terrorism, but the danger in its text serves more as a fan to inflame radical-Islamic enemies.

Critics – as well as thousands of protestors across the country, including here in Austin – aren’t standing idly by.

The New York Times, just one of many editorial boards across the nation quick to call out Trump on the order, calls the ban a “bigoted, cowardly, self-defeating policy.”

And then points out that the “breathtaking in scope and inflammatory in tone” order issued on Holocaust Remembrance Day, no less, lacks any logic. “It invokes the attacks of Sept. 11 as a rationale, while exempting the countries of origin of all the hijackers who carried out that plot and also, perhaps not coincidentally, several countries where the Trump family does business.”

Civil rights activist and Baptist preacher Jesse Jackson makes similar comments and adds that Trump’s policy will make it more dangerous for American Muslims here in the U.S. while it also makes for excellent ISIS recruitment material.

“The real problem is that the unintended consequences are likely to be far more dangerous than doing nothing. For ISIS and al-Qaida, the order is a gift. It feeds their argument that the Muslim world is facing a war on Islam led by the Great Satan (the U.S.) intent on persecuting Muslims.

“The anger and hatred generated will make it more difficult for moderate Muslim leaders to cooperate with the U.S. At home, a Muslim community under siege — and faced with rising hate crimes — is likely to become more closed, not less, and less cooperative, not more. If we will not respect their rights and security, they will be less likely to be concerned for ours,” Jackson wrote.

Not everyone, however, is a critic.

Jack Hunter, of the conservative-libertarian Rare.us, points out the hypocrisy in some of Trump’s critics regarding the ban.

“Why is this kind of outrage seemingly now just limited to Donald Trump?”

He says, for example, “The Los Angeles Times featured a story on Sunday about Alexander Gutierrez Garcia, who fled an oppressive dictatorship to seek refugee status in the United States, but unfortunately for him America’s president issued an executive order that denied him entry.

“That order came from President Barack Obama.”

Hunter continues: “So many of those outraged right now — and rightly — generally liked Obama. They trusted him. Now, similarly, Trump supporters will defend this president’s actions, no matter how much harm he causes, because they like and trust him too.

“But shouldn’t other people’s pain come before partisanship? …Shouldn’t lending our moral support or outrage be based on something more than merely what presidents we like?”

Plenty of others have and will weigh in on the issue. And no doubt, some of those opinions will make it onto our Viewpoint pages. But right now, we want to know what YOU think of all of this by taking our single-question poll (above and below).

President Trump: Don’t let people of color down

Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts as Melania Trump looks on during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts as Melania Trump looks on during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Today is a somber, anxious day for people of color in America.

On this day, as we witness the swearing in of Donald J. Trump as POTUS No. 45, we are conflicted.

As Americans, we respect the Oval Office, its traditions and a democratic process that determines our Commander-in-Chief. But as brown people with a not so distant history of subjugation and discrimination, we are worried that our country is moonwalking into a less friendly era.

Yes, I know that many whites, and especially white Democrats, are crazy with anger and sad to the point of tears. But they have an advantage in their skin color that never will make them vulnerable to the bigotry – and dangerous practices, such as racial profiling – to which people of color are susceptible. They luckily never will feel the sting of the N-word or humiliation from having a hijab snatched from their heads in public.

As we look ahead to a Trump administration, many African Americans and Latinos are fearing that the clock will be turned back on civil rights, deportations of undocumented hard-working families will swell and public schools, the great leveler for all people no matter their race, sexual preference or place of birth, will be kicked to the curb.

We’re woke, knowing any one of those things could return us to a condition in which prejudice is practiced with impunity. But collectively, such measures could do greater damage, hindering progress of our children for generations.

I hope not. And thankfully, Trump’s speech provided some glimmers of hope for those of us looking for something – anything – to hold on to in this new president. Here are Trump’s words I found hopeful:

“At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction — that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves. . .”

“When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.”

“It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget — that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.”

I have to tell you that those last words truly touched me as the daughter of a World War II veteran, Grover C. Phillips, now deceased, who was wounded by shrapnel in France during the war. The scar was over Dad’s heart.

I know I don’t speak for every person of color; Polling shows that 18 percent to 29 percent of Latinos voted for Trump, so the vast majority of Latinos voted for Hillary Clinton.

Can you blame them when he kicked off his campaign last year with a speech in which he said, “When Mexico sends it people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Among African American voters, 8 percent voted for Trump. And I don’t have to tell you how Malcolm X would refer to that small group of voters, so I won’t go there.

But I will share some personal experiences of family members and friends:

My mom, Esther Phillips, who turned 87 in August, cried as she watched the inauguration, asking “Are we going backwards? What will Trump do to help young African Americans get their education and jobs?”

My niece, who is attending graduate school at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., did not attend the inauguration but is going to the Women’s March on Saturday because she is concerned that sexism and male privilege are on the rise.

My colleague, Gissela SantaCruz, told me of her nine-year-old son who woke up shaking, crying and nose running, at the thought of President Obama leaving office and Trump taking over. SantaCruz told me her son fears being treated differently in a world he believes now will focus on his ethnicity over all else.

Her 22-year-old son called her at the office, seeking comfort on Obama’s last full day as president, asking if they might meet for dinner and drinks as he was feeling anxious and down about the future.

Few, aside from U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, are openly questioning Trump’s legitimacy. To be clear, Trump won the election. Period. But his victory had as much to do with Clinton’s liabilities and sense of entitlement — as well as the tone deafness of the Democratic National Committee — as with Trump’s appeal to a nation hungry for a new face. That much is evident in the fact that Trump lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million.

I’ve spent time with Lewis, a man of deep moral conviction. And I don’t blame the civil rights lion for boycotting the election. Lewis still carries the physical scars of having his scull cracked by Alabama state troopers for standing up for voting rights. Clearly Trump’s support of voter ID laws and other restrictive voting practices are hard to swallow given the country’s history of denying African Americans the vote.

And it doesn’t help that Trump seems to define outreach to African Americans in terms of photo ops or meetings with black entertainers and athletes, such as Steve Harvey, Kanye West, Jim Brown and Ray Lewis. If that is his comfort level for African Americans, we’re in trouble.

If Trump is interested in improving inner cities and helping African American youth succeed, as he said in his inaugural address, then he should start meeting with the mayors, council members, congress men and women and others elected by black communities.

Mr. President, you said today that “I will never, ever let you down.”

I hope that promise extends to all Americans.

 

 

 

Thank you for your ‘Dear President Trump’ letters

typewriter-president

On Jan. 20, Donald Trump will be sworn in as our country’s 45th president. Along with the title, Trump inherits the fears and hopes – be they reasonable or not – of an entire nation. And hearing from approving and disapproving Texans is almost a given.

We’d like to give readers a platform to start those correspondences that will likely fill the next commander in chief’s inbox.

As part of the American-Statesman’s coverage of Trump’s inauguration, we will include some of the expectations you and other readers have for the incoming commander in chief. Share your thoughts in a letter addressed to President Trump. Letters must be 150 words or less and can be submitted online or email at letters@statesman.com by Jan. 13.  Don’t forget to include your full name, address and daytime and evening phone numbers.

Check back for a link to those submissions we’ve received and will be published.