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America's Descent into Darkness
I typically refrain from writing political commentary here. But these are no ordinary times, at least in the United States.

The January 29, 2017 edition of The Washington Post reported:

Sharef once worked for a U.S. government subcontractor in post-invasion Iraq as a translator and a program manager. He got his visas, after two years of vetting, through a special U.S. resettlement program for Iraqi employees of the American government. Working for Americans was filled with perils, he said. He and other colleagues faced death threats; he knew co-workers who were kidnapped or killed.

On Sunday, he and his family — his wife, Arazoo, 41; his son, Bnyad, 19; his daughter Yad, 17; and another daughter, Shad, 10 — boarded a flight back to Irbil after spending the night inside the airport terminal.


The abusive treatment of the Sharef family raises a basic question. Why should any foreign resident ever run risks to assist a country that would only forget and discard them afterward? Little could be more at odds with basic humanitarian decency.

The Sharefs are not unfortunate exceptions. They are among a growing number of people affected by Donald Trump’s executive order that was issued supposedly to protect national security. No credible empirical evidence that demonstrated that the executive order would, in fact, enhance national security was ever provided. In fact, the usual vetting process was circumvented altogether.

Perhaps one should not be surprised by the haphazard approach that was undertaken. The candidate who had threatened to roll back First Amendment protections of the press, asserted that a federal Judge’s ethnicity impaired his objectivity, promised a “Muslim Registry,” and praised ruthless authoritarian dictators is now President of the United States. All of those actions suggested an illiberal nature, absence of reverence for limits of authority, and even greater lack of respect for basic liberties.

Even worse, parts of the U.S. government seem to be reflecting Trump’s illiberal nature in their own actions. The Guardian reported:

Customs and Border Protection agents defied the orders of federal judges regarding Donald Trump’s travel bans on Sunday, according to attorneys who rallied popular protests around the country in support of detained refugees and travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries.

“Rogue customs and Border Patrol agents continue to try to get people on to planes,” Becca Heller, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project, told reporters on Sunday. “A lot of people have been handcuffed, a lot of people who don’t speak English are being coerced into taking involuntary departures.”


If the opening days of the Trump Administration are representative, the United States could be sinking into a very dark period in its history. As it descends into darkness, its constitutional framework will undoubtedly be put to the test at a time when at least some of the “checks and balances” one could normally count on won’t be available. At present, it appears that some in the Republican-led House of Representatives and Senate have put power ahead of principle. They have given the Trump Administration wide latitude. A larger number of others have morphed into 21st Century versions of Neville Chamberlain, so timid that they are unwilling to challenge the early excesses of the Trump Administration.

With some of the expected constitutional restraints in disrepair, President Trump is transforming the United States into just another illiberal state. He is doing so, executive order by executive order, policy by policy, and tweet by tweet. Seemingly with each passing day, a once generous and big-hearted country capable of inspiring, is becoming as small and petty as Trump’s narrow worldview.

As an American, I take little comfort from my not having voted for Mr. Trump. I am profoundly saddened to see America so rapidly diverging from the lofty principles set forth in its Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Its rapid fall into a post-Enlightenment netherworld is a most painful journey that, if it is not stopped (more likely by the courts than a seemingly captive Congress), will affect not only Americans, but also peoples all across the world.

12 comments

Don Sutherland said:

CNN has a profile on some of the people affected by Trump's executive order. They include an associate professor of physics, a neuroscience student, a doctoral student in biochemistry, among others.

www.cnn.com/interactive/2017/01/politics/immigration-ban-stories
5 years ago

Pam J said:

Have spent the past 24 hours in anger.....again.....

All that has kept me breathing is seeing the enormous support that appeared from thin air.

I have in the past 18 mths constantly predicted this kind of action.. and I live in fear in this country.

As someone who was wrongly treated as these people were for 2 years and then some by US Immigration.... I know what that fear is . I am not naive.. I am street wise.. I have lived a very UNsheltered life.. and I never in a million years expected to have to live in fear HERE.

This is terrifying too www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38787241

Here is not the place.. I fully agree.. but I just NEED to know I am NOT alone.. and in that.. since January 20th.. I KNOW I am not.
5 years ago

Don Sutherland replied to Pam J:

Many of us who opposed Trump realized that he had all the characteristics of a demagogue who might trample basic rights, disrespect humanitarian principles, and seek to accumulate power. Reportedly, his Administration has backed down on part of the executive order concerning U.S. legal permanent residents. But that's only a piece of that order and his tweets make it clear that he remains largely unyielding. This is a very sad time for the U.S.
5 years ago

Don Sutherland said:

5 years ago

Pam J replied to Don Sutherland:

Thanks Don
5 years ago ( translate )

Pam J replied to :

He broke the Law and .. not that that is unusual... none of it was run by the Judiciary people. Dianne Feinstein is raising 2 motions tomorrow. Not expecting to win.. just making more notes against him.. and every single one counts

www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?id=5E9C9FAC-46B1-4158-8F93-970234D89F06

and you may want to bookmark the BBC News...

www.bbc.com/news

and this was their live coverage of today

www.bbc.com/news/live/world-us-canada-38790842
5 years ago

David Dahle said:

Frankly, we did not have a whole lot of choice this time - I simply could not fathom voting for HRC given the corruption revealed in the Podesta Emails (I find it interesting how more outrage was raised over how the Emails were leaked and the parties allegedly involved than the actual content), her long history of scandal dating back to Bill's presidency and Whitewater, some of the comments she had made that the left-leaning media chose to conceal (like how she said we have to change our attitude on religion), and her ties to Soros.

I didn't vote for him either, but I have not been thrilled by the ongoing tantrum the Left has thrown over the last three months since the election. I would consider the press to be just as much at fault, doing everything within their power to use their proven bias to cast everything he has said or done in a negative light and whipping up unrest in the process. That said, I do have misgivings about the current administration.

It may be unfortunate that the restriction on immigration may have affected some good people, but let us not forget what Islam is capable of inspiring in its followers - the damage ISIS has done to non-Islamic historical and cultural artifacts within the areas it has or currently controls as well as the fact almost every terroristic attack in the last few decades (other than in Ireland) has been carried out by Muslims, whether Arab or a recent convert (the most recent being the incident at the Ft. Lauderdale airport).
5 years ago

Don Sutherland said:

There's a world of difference between enhanced screening aimed at identifying persons who pose potential threats and blanket bans on entry. The former is an example of evidence-based decision making. The latter would be akin to locking up people after a crime occurred without ever seeking to distinguish between guilt and innocence.

The latter would be a highly ineffective way to deal with crime. To date, there is no evidence that a single person barred from entry into the United States had links to any extremist or terrorist organizations.

Meanwhile, another account of a victim of the executive order (quote from the story and link from the story):

“I just can’t believe this is happening in America.”

www.washingtonpost.com/local/we-tried-to-do-everything-right-doesnt-that-matter/2017/01/29/adf62e72-e65f-11e6-bf6f-301b6b443624_story.html
5 years ago

HappySnapper said:

I too have huge concerns about this man, for me he is a live James Bond villain, I have an impression that for him it is a matter of "I am the President of the United States and I will do what I like, when I like, If it's not legal then I will make it legal.
5 years ago

Fotoriff said:

Now it's funny that trump did say at his inauguration that the power will now be put back with the people. When will that happen when America is in shambles?
He's like a little spoiled kid playing with a new toy and once it's broke he'll hand it off, "the power", to the people and lose interest, quite like a spoiled kid as he is.
5 years ago

HappySnapper replied to Fotoriff:

Yes indeed "Child like" was my first impression of this man also.
5 years ago

askyog said:

Well then, I guess everything would be absolutely wonderful with a lying corrupt warmonger as president?
5 years ago