Quoting Yeats has become somewhat cliche, yet the line from “The Second Coming” that I have used in the title of this article was what came to mind when the news of Trump’s imminent executive orders on immigration was broken by The Hill and Reuters. What is clear so far is that one executive action will authorize the building of a wall at the Mexican border. Through another order refugee migration from several countries will be banned as will visas for travel to the United States from a number of Muslim majority nations. Executive orders targeting sanctuary cities are also planned.
There is a sense of finality in these actions, the details of which will unfold later today. This is the point where the threat of tyranny is no longer a threat but a hideous reality. The illusions of American immunity to draconian polity that many have desperately held onto thus far have ended, as another great poet wrote, “not with a bang but with a whimper”.
Let it be heard that there is nothing surprising here: for these are the very things Donald Trump promised in his campaign. These are the slogans that were cheered by thousands at his rallies. This is what his supporters voted for. This is what many including myself feared and sounded a warning about. “Give him a chance” they said. “He’s not even a true conservative, he’s just saying those things to get elected” they said.
So here it is then; a leader has arrived who has elevated security concerns above the national ethic, populism above constitutionality. At his inauguration he proclaimed: “When you open your heart to patriotism there is no more room for prejudice”. Bullshit. Dangerous bullshit. Patriotism and nationalism have long been the sharpest fangs of prejudice everywhere. Tyranny has always arrived with its banner waving in the wind behind it. Unfortunately this time it is the American flag that both prejudice and tyranny are draped in. Even more tragically, every possible warning sign was flashing since Donald Trump began his campaign; yet so thoroughly has conservative media confounded the national intellect that fear and hatred had a clear path to victory on November 8, 2016.
The time to speak the truth and repudiate the lie is now. For soon the rationalization will commence and these actions will be deemed common sense, necessary and in the spirit of “putting America first”. The truth of what has happened, if not protected, will be buried in the tomb of falsehoods conservative media will inevitably construct. The time has come for those who claim to believe in freedom, constitutionality and pluralism to stand united.
I am tired of finding middle ground with those who support Donald Trump. I am also weary of those self-professed liberals like Sam Harris and Bill Maher who enabled and abetted the anti-Muslim and anti-Islam enterprise. The anti-PC, anti-SJW folk who believe “the right to free speech is the right to offend”. Who call those speaking out for Muslims “regressive”. Who claim to “criticize ideas, not people”. Who would have us believe they are the true upholders of free-thinking. Let me take the liberty of informing these people that they are just as bigoted and just as responsible for the actions of this administration as those who voted it in.
We can no longer entertain the endless debates about what constitutes liberalism, free speech or tolerance. This fool’s errand has gone on long enough and has served only to weaken progressives and strengthen the far-right that the GOP has become. For most of those who have perpetuated these debates in public forums the clear motive has been to create more space for bigotry and to promote themselves through generating controversy.
To cut to the chase, psychopathy-whether individual or group-acts quickly. When it does not meet resistance it seeks the next target. This must be stopped now. Today it is a wall and a ban on travel and immigration; tomorrow it may be a registry or a mass deportation. We must oppose these executive orders at every possible level and in every possible peaceful means.
The nation’s soul is at stake.