I have very few conservative Facebook friends. But I do have four of them that are often vocal on my posts. One is an author I had on my radio show. One is a spirited mother who developed a family music festival I helped promote. One was a former write in opponent from when I ran as county commissioner. And one is pretty much a nut job who speaks through non-factual memes. Although they can all be a pain in my ass from time to time, I really do like them.
However, they each challenge me to think outside the box and try to find a way toward the inclusive type of culture I’d like to live in. It’s challenging because they’re immediately dismissive of anything I say because they label me as a “liberal” or “Democrat” or both, even though I’ve been registered as a Democrat for a much shorter time than I was as a Republican, and I think the 2 party system dynamic is completely ridiculous. Yet, because I voice my opinion on the damage I think their golden boy is doing, they are very quick to dismiss me as a “liberal” or “Democrat,” and don’t tend to see me as a human being capable of critical thinking and deductive reasoning.
Nevertheless, while I completely understand that I will never be able to change their viewpoints, and they will probably dismiss whatever say as “liberal BS opinion” for as long as I use the English language, they do inspire me to look beyond the prevailing rhetoric and get down to actual facts.
Now, I should go on record as saying that I do have a certain affinity for Barack Obama. We share the same birthday, and it could very well be that my infatuation with my own ego could be causing me to see him as the coolest president America has ever had. However, beyond his style, grace, and class, I also have to acknowledge that he was the first president in US history to be at war for every single day of his administration, and that he is the only Nobel Peace Prize winner to authorize drone strikes. As much as I want to like him, I’m still pretty disappointed.
So my conservative friends asked me about the difference between the way Obama ordered a ban or Iraqi refugees in 2011 and Trump’s ban on refugees from 7 other countries now. Obviously, bans on people being able to move freely around the globe are never good, and considering what a small percentage of travelers are actually terrorists, we should have as few of them as possible. But basically, the big difference is that when Obama banned Iraqi refugees for 6 months, it was in response to 2 Iraqi terrorists being found in Kentucky, but when Trump did it, the only inciting incident was that he said he was going to do it during his campaign.
According to The Hill, “The U.S. already has the most stringent vetting system for refugees in the world, with the screening process taking 18-24 months on average. But Trump and others viewed the program as a security risk.”
Trump’s choice for the 7 countries to be singled out were based on Obama’s research. Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Iraq were all “countries of concern” for Obama, and even though he left out the 4 countries that were home to the 9/11 attackers, Trump’s team didn’t bother adding them to the list either. Yet all of these countries do claim Islam as the religion of the majority. Although many Americans have been led to fear the Muslim religion due the radical nature of its terrorists, fortunately, whatever calls to violence are written into the pages of the Koran are as likely to be followed through by everyday Muslims as the despicable tortures mandated in Leviticus are to be carried out by the Presbyterian Church, so as long as everyone remains lukewarm in their faith and doesn’t take their dogma too seriously, we’re all pretty safe.
Unfortunately, as Trump ceremoniously signed his executive order to ban people from these countries from entering the US, according to The Hill, he also “signed another order to significantly expand the military, modernize the nuclear arsenal and add new special operations forces.” Because there was no inciting incident for his ban on foreign travelers, it appears as though Trump is following the age old method of inciting war as a means to make money and bolster the economy. After all, it worked for both Reagan, both Bushes, Clinton, and Obama.
It could be that Trump’s ban on Muslim-majority countries is merely a distraction as they put other strategies into place. Nevertheless, it is quite a bit different than Obama’s ban. Yet I know my conservative friends are beholden to support him in whatever he does, I hope they’re able to love America more and see Mr. Trump for what he really is.