Folks! It’s not about Trump! It’s about us! We, the people hold primary blame for the challenges facing our country! After reading an article by Skip Bacevish (one of my husband’s classmates), I considered Skip’s words, “The individual inhabiting the White House has become the preeminent symbol of who we are and what we represent as a nation and a people.” Rather than attributing the state of the union to Donald, we must look within for our own causes and cures.
Fans of Trump as well as those of us who worry about him share an important common flaw in our thinking. We all tend to allot more power to Trump than we rightfully should. Those who adore Trump firmly believe he is the savior who will fix America — “Make America great again.” Those of us who distrust Trump wag our fingers dismally as we blame him and his cronies for the problems we face.
Bacevish believes we must own responsibility. What a thought! Much easier to yell OR cheer at the television rendition of Trump’s latest behaviors. Much easier to blame someone else than to ask, “What part do I play in this?” Before we can identify our roles in seeking solutions, we must attempt to understand our differences. Please join me in considering one of the many issues we face today: immigration.
- What do folks fear? Those who fear immigrants rightfully feel terrorized by atrocious events happening around the world as well as in our own country. Due to the fact that some of the terrorists have origins or ties to Middle Eastern countries, they get assigned blame. By preventing Muslims from entering, and by restricting their presence in the United States, those who live in fear hope to experience the peace of greater safety.
- Why do some Americans accept immigrants? All of us want to live safely. Yet those who welcome immigrants tend to experience limited caution without gnawing fear. For example, I want stringent vetting for all who enter our country. I trust that almost everyone who comes to America arrives for the same reason our own ancestors landed here: to find a better way to live. In addition, I believe that when we extend kindness, we usually get compassionate treatment in return. Naive? Yes. However, I would rather live in trust than in terror. I first want to extend a hand of friendship.
- Are mutually acceptable solutions possible? Can we find a common ground? Even as we share a collective desire for physical safety, I believe most of us also want to uphold human dignity. What might help fearful citizens feel a little more relaxed? Can those of us who welcome immigrants demonstrate common sense about the issue? What would the situation look like if we integrated both ends of the spectrum?
- Would detailed explanations of the vetting process help relieve some fears?
- Instead of forcing immigrants to live in isolation, would community meetings with police, neighboring citizens, and new immigrants build understanding and a measure of trust?
- Could community be established if we deported immigrants with criminal behaviors while accepting those with minimal or no offences?
- What realistic behaviors might we expect of immigrants in order for them to live without constant fear of deportation? Education? Actions toward citizenship? Beginning attempts at learning English?
While realizing that many fears remain unrecognized and most solutions unaddressed, I end with my personal views.
- First of all I believe that immigrants formed this nation. Where would each of us live today without our own immigrant ancestors?
- Our founding fathers wrote freedom of religion into our constitution. Freedom means the right to follow any religion or to accept none at all. This means much more than simply freedom to claim Christianity.
- I also believe that we do not need to fear a take-over by any ethnic group. This land has always been filled with bold adventurous individuals who would not be swayed easily into self-destruction.
- Our nation faces a shortage of workers. Before we can consider building our national economy, we must accept that in many cases we actually need immigrants to fill empty positions.
- As a citizen, I want to follow the law. However, some of the local interpretations fall short of the original intent of our constitution. When faced with whether or not to assist individual refugees or immigrants, I agree with Jim Rigby who believes we must weigh a “crisis of conscious”.
- I choose to believe in the inherit goodness of most individuals.
Skip Bacevich’s analysis might be correct. Maybe the solutions lie within us, the American citizens rather than the Trump presidency. Instead of promoting hatred and division among our own citizens, we can insist on communication toward solutions. God bless America. We, the citizens must now be the instruments through which healing can happen. I hope we rise to the need.
Bacevich, Andrew J. “Trump Is Not the Problem.” The Nation. August 8, 2017.