Donald Trump’s Muslim ban does refugees a favor. He prevents them from coming to a country that is now the freest police state in the world. It has flirted with that, in the era of McCarthyism. Then came George W. Bush, the terrorist attacks of September 11th and the Patriot Act. The Bush regime tried to put away the fire by dousing gasoline on it. In large measure, and the massive complicity of Saudi Arabia and in smaller measure Turkey, we owe them the conflicts raging today in the Middle East.
With his latest outrage, Donald Trump has made abundantly clear two things. He is unfit to serve. He pushed through the measures by keeping his own cabinet in the dark. Presumably this was orchestrated by his special adviser Stephen Bannon, a man of far-right convictions. In other words, a fascist. For, make no mistake, Trump would be one, if he knew what fascism is. But a man with such limited vocabulary and a brain so thoroughly ruined by being glued to a TV screen or his mirror cannot understand even more basic things. The 140-character limit on Twitter is the measure of his culture, or lack thereof.
Yet beyond the obvious idiocy and incompetence of the man currently, incredibly, sitting in the White House, what is at stake here is governance. Trump is upending governance processes that have been developed over the years to run as smoothly as possible the complex administration of the most powerful country in the world. Trump’s recklessness compromises the national interest so gravely that Congress will have to act soon to impeach him and ship him back to his ghastly building of plastic gold accents that defiles the Manhattan skyline, as phony as the dye of his ridiculous hairdo.
The second, perhaps more significant aspect of his “Muslim ban” is the cruelty of the decision. Refugees are perhaps the most thoroughly vetted immigrants in the U.S. Anyone who calls for “tougher measures,” like the useful idiots who justify Trump’s ban, are Americans who have never endured the grueling humiliations not only refugees, but immigrants born in the “wrong” country can be subjected to, including once this correspondent—who left Aleppo at the age of one year and a half in 1970 to never return—whom a border guard once asked “why” he was born in Syria. But as historian Edward Gibbon has written in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, men who are immoral in their private lives preach morality in their public lives. Gibbon was referring to Emperor Constantine the Great, certainly not even remotely comparable to the reality show buffoon whom a minority of American voters, by a quirk of the electoral college system, made their president.
But Donald Trump is a depraved individual, a coward who shuts the door of his house to people fleeing for their lives. He never stopped being the schoolyard bully, who beat up classmates and pelted teachers with stones. That such a degenerate has become president, with a “p” as small as his brain, of the United States, says a lot about the state of the country, or at least the half that put him where he is. The other half, Obama’s America, has taken to the streets to repudiate the abject character that is now running their country. This includes, we should say, not only the millions of women who took to the streets to protest this president, but also corporate leaders like Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and others.
So, dear refugees: stop wailing about your hopes and your love of the American Dream. Wake up to the American Reality and look it in the face: it’s Donald Trump’s ugly one, now that Obama is gone. The graffiti outside the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran, pictured above, has now come to symbolize, truly, what the Statue of Liberty has become under this leader.
As for the White House spokesperson who rightly said that Trump is fulfilling his promises—to the endless shame of those who voted him into power—we can only say that Hitler did, too.