Today as I drove from court to home, I found myself overwhelmed with grief. The radio blared the ugly news of Donald Trump actually taking initial steps to build a wall between the US and Mexico. In a dull and emotionless voice, Trump stated, “We will build this wall. We are done with catch and release.” My dismay at the gross use of a fishing term to describe actions taken against human beings fought with my chagrin over the cold cruel tone used by the president of my homeland.
Then the commentator began to describe the Executive orders which Trump signed today. At first I laughed, remembering the Republican castigation of President Obama for signing executive orders. Then a sobering shadow fell across my grave as the contents and portent of the orders became more clear.
I cannot comprehend this news. I do not understand how Trump can implement policies which seem so clearly antithetical to the American spirit.
What makes a man look at human beings and see something to be tossed over a wall with careless disregard? Why do I think of immigrants as a golden potential to enhance the richness of this country, whereas Donald Trump sees them as something to be rejected, ostracized, and pushed away? What fundamental difference in our character prompts Trump to turn away in disgust from the huddled masses yearning to be free, whereas I rush to stand on the dock with outstretched welcoming arms?
Have we come so far from where we started, from the roots of this grand experiment, that we have no more room for additions to the great melting pot? More critically, what accounts for Trump’s close-mindedness? Why can I see that America has room enough for expansion, room to welcome those who would bring their diverse characters to the complex fabric of our people; but Donald Trump sees only a threat that has no genuine statistical basis?
My mood slightly lifts when I see the video of the Boston mayor, but he is one man, in one city. While others share his view, how long can they withstand federal censure for their bold determination to serve as sanctuary cities?
More voices rise to protest Trump than to praise him, but what power have those voices? Is the power of the people truly greater than that of those in power? Trump has no mandate, but does he need one? He can issue an order with the stroke of a pen which changes our destiny. Are we helpless to protect this land and those who come here to share the American dream?
In New York, Mayor de Blasio proclaimed, “We will not deport law-abiding New Yorkers, we will not tear families apart, we will not leave children without their parents, we will not take breadwinners away from families who have no one else. And we’re not going to undermine the hard-won trust that has developed between our police and their communities.”
He argued that Trump’s executive order runs contrary to the spirit of New York and of the United States Constitution. I agree. But I fear that the Republican-controlled Congress will side with Trump, and America will haul out a giant NO VACANCY sign to obscure the welcoming beacon once held aloft to guide the weary traveler to our shores.
Lady Liberty weeps.