I have always tried to be fair in these posts and somewhat unpredictable. At the very least, my aim is to cut through ideology (including my own) and interpret facts on the ground in a sensible way. But I am having a very difficult time with President Donald Trump’s executive orders placing a hold on Syrian refugees and travelers from seven targeted countries. When I have been corrected by radio talk show hosts for referring to these actions as “the Muslim ban” because of this or that technicality, I have reminded them that I am from the “if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck school.” Forget the baloney. This is a Muslim ban.
I understand disruption. It is as much a part of the American tradition as our core values of freedom in the Bill of Rights. The colonies were settled and built by disrupters. The American Revolution and Constitution gave us our birth as a nation, a very different nation not based on divine right or family but on a set of shared values. Probably the greatest of our Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, breathed meaning into both the need for rebellion every so often and the equal need for a safety valve (the frontier) so that the rebellious could find an outlet for a new life. Disruption is who we are.
But the greatest and most disruptive force in our nation’s history has been immigration and the fact that we welcome newcomers from all places, kick and moan about it, then ultimately watch them work, live the dream, pass the dream on to their children, and regenerate the American spirit. In the mid-19th century there were those who tried to bar Irish Catholics.
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