Monday, January 30, 2017

My Isolated Opinion

I have been dumbfounded over the turn of events in the last few days. This weekend saw the unfolding of a dramatic political catastrophe as President Trump issued an executive order halting refugees and immigrants from certain nations. There are various stipulations and exceptions included, as is the case with most actions of government officials. But the issuance of the executive order has led to the most chaotic of weekends.

The primary means of entrance to the United States for refugees and immigrants is by air. The international ports of entry have been doing the job of following the order the President has executed. That has turned the major entry port airports of the nation into hubs of chaos, protest, and confusion. Those persons and families that were leaving their country of origin when the ban went into effect were not allowed to fly to the U.S. Those who were on planes and landed were denied entrance and detained or were forced to return to their country of origin. Some who were detained were allowed to enter, finally. Others are still being held.

Added to this chaos was the arrival of protesters who filled the arrival areas of airports. There were chants and signage decrying the injustice that was being carried out. Attorneys were mixed in with the protesters offering services to families of detained individuals. This all was added to the mix of regular travelers deplaning. The images from media and social networks were clusters of people crowded into the arrival areas.

As I have sat and absorbed all that has been happening, I realized a few things.

First, this is wrong. This is injustice. This is turning our back on people in the name of fear. This is rejecting people because of their nationality. This is pointing at someone and saying they are not worthy of our help or the opportunities available to all. They are being shunned because they are from a place in the world where bad people have done bad things and we don't want those kind of people here. The sad reality is that many (or more likely most) of those who are being turned away had those bad things by bad people done to them. They are leaving their homeland. They are leaving the life they have built for themselves. They are abandoning everything that was important to them 2, 5, 10 years ago.

Ask yourself this question: what would it take to make you give up your home, your social circles, your possessions and move to another nation? Not only that, but imagine that you are leaving your homeland to move to a place where the popular opinion of that new land is less than welcoming of your race or nationality or religion? What would it take to force you out of your home and into the arms of a land that didn't want you? That is what these people are facing when they decide to come here. They wanted to find an opportunity at a better life. They wanted to find a place where they could live in freedom and peace.

And this is what they are greeted by:
  • Guards in uniforms barred access to the land of the free.
  • Crowds of people shouting and yelling in a language that may not be easily understood. 
  • People offering to "help them" with their situation.
  • A President who has labelled them as "detrimental to the interests of the United States".
In the 1800's the family of my father chose to leave Germany. There were economic problems. There had been wars and political unrest. There were droughts and people lost their only way to produce enough food for their families. The new frontiers of the United States were an opportunity to make a new start. They sold all they had and bought passage to the United States. Little did they know that they would be rejected because of their religious affiliation. They would be associated, along with Irish immigrants, of being to blame for any imagined hardship that their neighbors experienced.

My heart is broken at the way that our President, his staff, and many of his supporters are talking about these people who want a new start in their lives.

Second, after a conversation through Facebook posts, I realize that I am not informed enough or intelligent enough or wise enough to speak into the debates that are raging. My worldview and opinion are too narrow to be of any use in contributing to the noise. I don't have the means to sway others to see my point of view. I am not articulate enough to express how I see this playing out. So I am left with the option to isolate myself on this position.That is why this little corner of the internet exists: for me to play out my opinions and ideas, isolated from the mainstream of thought.

I don't think this was a smart play by the administration. Issuing an executive order that is Constitutionally questionable that led into chaos at one of our weakest infrastructure points while sullying the nations reputation seems to be bad administering of the office of President. There is the possibility that due process has been violated. There is the real threat that this has led to airports becoming even more vulnerable as a soft target and opened them to some type of attack. The nation that has prided itself on being welcoming and offering a life of freedom and opportunity has stubbed its proverbial toe.

We are being represented as isolationist, xenophobes, racist, and bigoted. And that is only from our friendly nations. I am not a nationalist. I am afforded luxury and freedom to do things that would not be available in other places. But I am not sold to the idea that the United States is the perfect representation of all that is dear in life. I reserve that level of devotion and allegiance to a greater Kingdom. And the rules of that Kingdom dictate that this is a horrible injustice before God and the rule of love.

The Kingdom of God is portrayed as a mountain in the Old Testament. It is represented as standing so that the nations can look to it, move toward it, climb to the heights that it offers, and experience the fruit of its existence. Zionists have taken this to mean that Israel is that mountain. But for Christians, we should understand that when Jesus Christ came to proclaim the Kingdom was at hand, this was the mountain that was prophesied. The Kingdom is open to any who would seek it. Jesus offered the fruit of the Kingdom to Judeans as well as Samaritans and Gentiles and Romans. He offered the fruit of the Kingdom to any who would seek it out. He offered it without condemnation for their sins or justification for his superiority. He offered it without expecting thanks or receiving payment.

For everyone who believes that the United States is "one nation under God", then it is time to get yourself in line with the Kingdom. It is time to put your xenophobic, racist, bigoted ways behind you and recognize that skin tone or nationality or even religion is a barrier to God's nation.

But do you really want to know what chaps my hide? It is this:
The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including "honor" killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.
That is so hypocritical. First, we cannot admit those who do not support the Constitution? Due process is the interference of the pursuit of life, liberty, and property. Where, Mr. President is your support of the Constitution by denying people the right to due process under the Constitution?

Second, the United States cannot support those who would place violent ideologies over American Law? It must be okay for people to be violent in their ideologies as long as it supports your agendas or your popularity, then. If they are violent and citizens of these peaceful United States, then we can allow them to plan and perpetrate acts based on violent ideologies? And the next line, as long as they are engaging in acts of bigotry and hatred, they get an excused?

My guess is that you are clearing the way for your Muslim registration act. This would give the precedence to ignore due process, and allow for the creation of a registry of individuals based solely on their religion, without regard to their citizenship status.

I'm not angry. I'm not ranting. I am tired of being accused of being complicit in these acts of injustice just because evangelical Christians supported the election of President Trump by a large majority. I have become so turned off to the evangelical movement that I do not want to be associated with them in any way. If that means that I must be labeled, then label me. But I am fed up with being accused of being some sycophant just because I hold a more traditional view of my religion. I am sick and tired of being blamed for the chaos that has been wrought in just one week of the Trump presidency. And I do not want to be associated with this act of injustice.

But you know what? I have to be. I have to be associated with it because he IS the President of my nation of origin and citizenship. I have to be associated with everything that is happening because I have a vested interest in this nation. But that does not mean I need to bow my head to his seat of power or raise empty platitudes of what a good job he may do. The man is proving his incompetence for the position which he has been granted.

But I'm not learned enough to speak with authority in this regard. And I am not intelligent enough to properly critique what is happening. So I have chosen to let my ignorance show in this inarticulate place of the internet.