We are just a day away from the new and improved version of the trump travel ban going into effect. Are you ready to hate again America?
Of course, this travel ban exists because a large portion of America has already embraced their dark side. Thanks to a rather vocal minority and an electoral college that refused to do their job, we are being governed by a pair of fat, rich, sith lords. Their goal being to divide and conquer, so far, they seem to be winning.
And yet there is the Resistance. A very real occurrence happening around the country being driven by citizens picking themselves up not by bootstraps, but by grassroots. This past weekend I joined MDPAN at yet another emergency protest to oppose the ban. We met in front of the Islamic Center of Detroit in a show of support as well as opposition. And for the first time, counter protesters greeted us. Clothed in head to toe red, white, and blue, except for the guy dressed in all black paratrooper garb, they carried giant trump flags and yelled across the street at us from their bullhorn.
They had fake nationalism, we had real American diversity.
Our little travel ban protest outnumbered their counter protest by 10 to 1. Still it wasn’t enough. Our dark overlords, Bannon, and Trump, are counting on these grassroots groups to get tired and give in to protest fatigue. With a mere 50 days in office, it would seem the left is becoming tired and complacent once again.
I felt it that cold day. As I stood across the street shouting into the wind. Hoping that day’s protest would do some good. Then somebody handed me a box of middle eastern pastries and suggested I cross the street.
“Maybe go talk to them.” A dark-skinned man said in his thick accent.
But then stood on the curb, afraid. How could I confront those angry people? What if they tried to hurt me? I stood there thinking about how awesome it would be if I did go talk to them, but paralyzed in the action itself. Until the amazing happened. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a dark blue hijab flash, I looked and one of the bravest women I have ever encountered was crossing the road, holding nothing more than a box of doughnuts.
Following her lead a man crossed. Then another couple headed over. Finally, I stepped off the curb.
Upon reaching the other side I encountered what I already knew to be true, these were my people. I looked into the faces of white baby boomers, it was like being at a gathering of my parents’ friends. I know this generation. I know these types of people. At least I thought I did. Their embracing of such blatant evil and hypocrisy has left me reeling. It was time to ask some questions.
After they turned down my offer of kunafeh I started questioning their reason for being at the protest. I was told it is because the travel ban is just a temporary thing, only 90 days, so it shouldn’t be such a big deal, and that we need to strengthen our vetting system, right now it’s far too easy to become a citizen, according to the trumpers. When I brought up that the vetting takes a minimum of two years, they told me I was wrong and that two years isn’t long enough. I reminded them that they just told me 90 days was plenty of time to check on travelers entering the country. They couldn’t explain to me how 90 days was somehow better than two years. They also had no idea the extent to which applicants are vetted, the endless interviewing, lifestyle classes, history classes, intricate searching through personal life history and scouring the history of friends and family members; none of what I was saying was true or good enough.
Suddenly something new and truly disturbing came out of the trumpers mouths.
“The immigrants are going to take our social security! I’m the one that paid into that, not them!”
This was a new one. Before this they brought up immigrants not paying taxes, I informed them that the state and country take in $11.6 billion in taxes from immigrants. That is when this brand new social security thing spilled out. I was stunned for a moment. When I did manage to find ways to form words again I brought up Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the other republicans already making moves to end social security. Do you think they agreed with me, or do you think they started shouting no at me?
After trying to convince them of the obvious about social security and being told that the republicans would never do that, I left. I had to go back to my side of the road where intelligence and acceptance were still the ruling factors. Others stayed a bit longer. Holding out, talking, trying to plant seeds of peace. And gathering information to invite people to an upcoming open house at the Islamic Center of Detroit.
When they returned, the protest began to die down. A change had happened. Tension had been eased, people had had their say and could return home to enjoy Saturday in some boring American way. Slowly over the next half hour trumpers left, then the grassroots folks began to go, happy about having stayed just a little longer.
Heading out to protest is always the right thing to do. We need to encourage friends and family to join us every time they can to present a large unified front against the vocal minority. Crossing the street was also the right thing to do. We are the UNITED States of America, and divided we fall.
President Bannon (and trump) are counting on chaos and fatigue to drive us down into the dark.