This is going to be a jumble of fairly inarticulate word vomit, fair warning.
My grandparents are immigrants. I live in the US. My father’s father was born on the boat over from Ireland, and his mother born in Canada of Irish/French decent. They legally emigrated to the US in the early 1920’s, as Irish Catholics. I’m only a second generation American. It’s not like the idea of the American dream has been lost with hundreds of years or several generations. I’ve always considered it a very real and tangible thing.
My grandfather joined the circus at age 11 to escape the slums of South Boston, eventually working his way up from tent man to his own motorcycle stunt act. He met my grandmother while they were both serving in the US Military during World War II, they were married and spent most of their early post service life traveling with my dad and his seven brothers and sisters around the country in a converted school bus, painting signs until they eventually made enough money to settle in Anaheim California.
My father enthusiastically voted for President Trump. His own father worked so hard to fulfill the American dream. Not figuratively, but literally fought with blood, sweat and tears to overcome negative and derogatory stereotypes placed on Irish Catholics in the 20’s to provide a better life for his children and it never even occurred to my father that these new executive orders Trump just signed have robbed so many other children of the same opportunities simply because they happen to be of Middle Eastern decent and call them selves Muslim.
If a leader like Trump had come along a hundred years ago when the country’s fear was focused on Catholicism, and immigrants of Irish decent? Life as my family knows it wouldn’t exist. My father in all likelihood wouldn’t have been born, my grandparents never meeting or being able to make a successful life outside of Ireland or Canada. How soon we forget when life has been relatively easy for us.
I’m aware that other Administrations have issued similar orders, and the supposed reasoning behind it to protect Americans from terror attacks makes sense. On a big picture scale, it very well could be what’s best for the country as a whole. That remains to be seen, and no one will know for certain until more time has passed. What breaks my heart watching all of this unfold being so closely related to immigrants myself, is (to borrow a term from a fellow blogger don of all trades) all of the “little pictures” that have been figuratively and literally set aflame by the haphazard nature of the way these policies have been implemented with Trump’s authoritarian gives no fucks attitude.
In the business world, it doesn’t matter what happens to the little people as long as profits are made. Politics is a much more volatile areana than the business sector, and shouldn’t be handled so flippantly. These decisions affect the entire world not only our borders and repercussions will be felt for generations to come even if Trump’s “reign” is only for the next four years. What’s to say that a small, innocent, adolescent child dreaming of a safe home in America is turned away fostering a passionate hatered of our Western way of life and revenge? The next Osama bin Laden could be a Syrian refugee, callously turned away from our borders.
Sure, that’s purely theoretical, but it’s also very tangible in today’s world. It’s not as far fetched as it used to be. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m a survivor of significant trauma myself that I can empathize so closely to those who are suffering through this. I know what happens when you live through hell, and how good, decent human beings can silence their conscious all in the name of survival.
Monsters are rarely born; they’re made. For the future of humanity I can only hope the next great tragedy does not gain its roots in Trump’s egotistical policies.