I try and make a habit of keeping my personal political beliefs to myself. Not out of distaste for genuine discussion, but rather in the attempt cut down on the “noise” that fills social media feeds and water cooler conversations. The more I think about it however, I fear that reservation shown by myself and other like minded voices has helped to create the political mire America finds itself in.
It has been an emotional few days for me, an upper middle class white male. I cannot begin to imagine what it has been like for those directly affected by Trump’s executive order banning foreign nationals from seven predominantly muslim countries and indefinitely suspending they Syrian refugee program. All weekend I have been reading stories of those caught in the limbo created by a haphazard announcement of this national embarrassment.
The administration is quick to point out that only 109 individuals out of 325,000 were detained for “additional screening.” What they fail to mention is that some of those were children. One of them was an Iraqi refugee who had worked hand-in-hand with US military forces in Iraq. One was the husband of another former Iraqi contractor waiting to be reunited They also fail to mention the hundreds of individuals with valid visas who were prevented from boarding planes at their points of departure.
I will refrain from continuing a point by point explanation of exactly how ill informed, irresponsible, and unconstitutional this decision was. The facts are out there and easy to find for yourself. What I will say is this:
For the first time in my life I felt compelled to reach out to my national representatives. The letter I sent to Representative Jayapal and Senators Murray and Cantwell will do little alone to right this injustice. I also realize it is the equivalent of preaching to the choir. Since elementary school I have been taught that every American voice matters. As I have aged I have realized how misleading that sentiment is for many under represented groups in this country. But I sent my letter anyways.
I sent it in the hopes that my one voice will be added to the hundreds of thousands of voices protesting this un-American administration across the country. It is my hope that someone will print these emails and letters and drop them on the congressional floors in reams to show that there are still people in this country who believe America is made better when we are more inclusive, when we do more to help our fellow human beings, and when we open our borders to those in need. My hope is that collectively, this letter and others like it will show that there are still those of us capable of thinking logically enough to realize we can help humans in need without sacrificing our national security.
Below is the letter I sent today. Read it if you want. If you feel so compelled, switch out my name for yours and send it to your own congressional representatives. In the words of Edmund Burke, “the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good [people] to do nothing.” Do not let this un-American action triumph. Please, do something. For me this letter is just a start.
Dear Senator or Representative,
My name is Connor Griffin. I am a resident of the 7th Congressional District of Washington and it is with a heavy heart and great concern that I write you today begging action. This weekend, President Trump’s executive order “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” caused me to feel embarrassed, ashamed, and angered that we have a President who shows such little regard for the principles of inclusion and protection that this country was founded upon and the Constitution in which the framework for the assurance of those principles was built.
I implore you to support legislation that Senate Democrats have promised to introduce in order to block our President’s irresponsible and illegal executive order. Even to a normal citizen such as myself, it is obvious to see that this executive order was both ill informed and short sighted.
This country has too often placed entire groups of people – whether by nationality, religion, or ethnicity – through undue hardship under the guise of “national security.” Little has been accomplished by these acts save to stoke an atmosphere of fear and distrust in which they were implemented. The idea that those who are different are a threat to this nation is a childish one. It is a belief nurtured in willful ignorance and a closed mind. That is not to say there is not real threat in the world. That too, would be a childish belief. But the action taken by President Trump this weekend will do little to thwart that threat. Instead, innocent people in the pursuit of such basic ideals such as safety, security, education, and opportunity will be denied under the tearful gaze of Lady Liberty.
I thought it prudent to include the inscription that resides on Lady Liberty’s pedestal:
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
It would appear President Trump as lost sight of this mandate. I hope that you have not, and will act in a matter that will remind the President and those in his circle that evil in the world is thwarted only by good. It is my desire that you would help create the framework for that good to continue, and through that work we may offer assistance and refuge to those in need, for the ability and the willingness is what can truly make America great again.
With respect and hope,
In order to find your own congressional representatives in Washington, D.C. visit the websites below. There you will be able to find contact information and mediums through which to add your voice to those protesting across the country.
I never thought I would have to say this in my life, but until next time: