A Letter to President Donald J. Trump

Image by Kimia Tabatabaei

President Donald J. Trump,

Who are you afraid of?

The young child who hasn’t eaten in 24 hours, who witnessed her mother and father crushed under the rubble of what was once her home, who has had to live in a neighborhood that’s been bombarded every day for the past five years, who now shivers in the winter weather with only a thin plastic sheet to protect her, who has seen more death and who has dealt with more pain, suffering, and loss than your privileged, self-centered mind can even begin to comprehend? Is this who you want to keep America safe from? Or is it the infants, toddlers, young boys, mothers, fathers, and grandparents who have nowhere else to turn– are those the people who pose the greatest threat?

More than half of Syrian refugees are under age 18. These are the children you ban from this country and deprive of an education, future, safety, and hope. These are the innocent, unlucky lives you destroy with the stroke of a pen. I bet it makes you feel powerful, knowing that you control the fate of hundreds of thousands of refugees… but I wonder, if you could look these children in the eye, face-to-face, not through a screen, would you still stand firmly behind your decision? Would you be able to tell them that you are stealing their chance of pursuing the American Dream?

So, I humbly request that you take a moment to think deeply about who you are impacting. These people are not statistics. They are not a number on a chart or a point on a graph. They are individual, beautiful humans wanting to be loved and longing to be safe. They are no different than any of us Americans.

Right now, because of the failure of European Union countries to fully implement their respective migrant quotas, there are 60,000 people stranded in countries such as Greece that are not nearly as wealthy as the “great” United States. Meanwhile the US has the capability to help, but is turning a blind eye. These are the defining moments in which we show what kind of “superpower” we are– will we choose to embrace our common humanity and help those in need or will we reject our American values and continue down a path of isolation?

What makes America unique is our impressive diversity and so, Mr. Trump, the reason I am very concerned at this moment isn’t just because you are banning certain people from entering our country because of their religion, it’s because your rhetoric and your actions are violating basic American principles. You are setting a dangerous trend that will outlast the impacts of a single action.

We are a nation of immigrants and refugees and yet, as history shows, we have a habit of demonizing those who speak, pray, or look different than us. Under President Roosevelt in the late 1930s, the government turned away a ship of 900 German Jews and later, Congress refused to accept 20,000 Jewish refugee children. Unaware of how horrific the Holocaust would soon become, the US failed to save thousands of innocent people. Then, we rejected Vietnamese, Cuban, Haitian, and South American refugees because of the distorted assumption that these people would threaten the US. We’ve seen how efforts to divide people or to put “America first” have pushed our country backwards and have always led to conflict. When will you realize that, from music and math to technology and literature, refugees and immigrants have contributed to our societal progress in unimaginable ways?

You, Donald J. Trump, are burning out the light on the Statue of Liberty and you are burning out the reputation of America in the process.

Written on the Statue is this phrase: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free… Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me!” This is what makes America great: our inclusiveness and empathy. Not your racist, Islamophobic, bigoted agenda.

If we all listen closely, in the still of the night, I think we can hear the Statue of Liberty crying.

By only making an exception for minority religions such as Christianity, your new immigration ban from seven Muslim majority countries is a Muslim ban. For a person who hates “political correctness,” I’m surprised you are still afraid to call it as it is. Maybe you can’t face the American people and tell them that you’ve just violated the First Amendment, the due process sections and equal protection clauses of the Constitution, the Immigration Nationality Act and broken the Geneva Convention by banning people of a specific religion from entering the country.

That is what makes America great. It’s not our military or financial might. It’s what we stand for. If we lose that, we lose our legitimacy to be the leaders of the free world.

Of course, your highness, you couldn’t risk ruining your precious business deals and so you didn’t want to put Saudi Arabia on that list, even though, over the past 40 years, citizens from that country have been responsible for killing 2,369 Americans. Do you know how many attacks there have been on Americans from citizens of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia combined? 0. Please check your facts.

Your fearmongering has gone too far. You, sir, are the epitome of white supremacy and hatred, the role model for every xenophobic, anti-semitic, Islamophobic, racist person who previously didn’t have a national platform. Your attempts to dumb down America and to promote ignorance and intolerance will not succeed. We, the compassionate Americans from all sides of the political spectrum, will not allow it. I know this because I see the protests that are taking place all over our nation where people who might not directly know a Muslim or a Syrian refugee are speaking out because they understand that your actions are immoral and un-American. That is what makes America great. It’s not our military or financial might. It’s what we stand for. If we lose that, we lose our legitimacy to be the leaders of the free world.

In your Inauguration speech, you said, “Now arrives the hour of action.” On that, we agree. I and the majority of decent Americans will not let you ruin our country. We will show you who really holds power in America’s democracy and we will resist. Every day for the next four years.

Peace and love from the daughter of two Iranian immigrants,

Kimia Tabatabaei

The views expressed in this piece are those of a single individual and do not represent the position of Denebola as a publication.

1 COMMENT

  1. Very candid and from the heart commentary. Your passion on the topic, rooted in your love for diversity and openness, is an alarming reminder for all of us that we cannot take the ramifications of the Trump presidency lightly.

    -Kaynam

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