By Karlton Tate
On Jan. 20, Americans across the country watched as Donald Trump took the oath of office as the 45th president of the United States of America. At East, many teachers streamed the inaugural festivities in class, allowing students to witness the historic event with their own eyes. Inauguration Day was a somber one for many East students, reminiscent of the day after the election in which dispirited students walked to class with puffy eyes and heavy hearts.
Despite Trump’s bold claims during the election cycle, many were skeptical that the newly sworn in president would act quickly on the various promises that made up his platform. However, in just under four weeks since taking office, Trump has issued a record 19 executive orders to “improve” trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, reevaluate military preparedness, and, of course, address immigration.
In full force, President Trump’s infamous executive order on immigration would bar Syrian refugees from entering the United States indefinitely, suspend all refugee admission into the country for 120 days, and block all citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen for 90 days. Across the country, federal judges have challenged the legitimacy of the order, dismantling specific elements of the decree by questioning its constitutionality and the president’s role in crafting immigration policy. In an unprecedented alliance, dozens of Silicon Valley companies have banded together to combat the ban, spearheading lawsuits and funding legal services for those affected by the order.
The ban, besides being clearly unjustified, revives an ugly element of our nation’s history with discrimination against a specific group of people. The United States is a nation that is deeply scarred with the ramifications of intolerance towards various ethnic, religious, and political groups, and Trump’s executive order only adds to the growing list of injustices.
Unsurprisingly for the business mogul turned public servant, the predominantly Muslim countries that are unaffected by the ban, namely Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, are the countries of the Middle East with which the Trump organization conducts the most business. With this fact in mind, it is clear that the arbitrary order is rooted in nothing else but xenophobia, aimed at appealing to the sentiments of intolerance Trump exploited to secure the presidency.
As the Trump administration most likely expected, thousands of Americans throughout the country have been thrown into an uproar over the ban, occupying airports to protest the unjust infringement of civil liberties. Meanwhile, President Trump has not been twiddling his thumbs or soaking up the news coverage. In an unprecedented reorganization of the National Security Council, the president exalted Chief White House Strategist Stephen K. Bannon to a full membership position on the council, and demoted the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
While many analysts have been left questioning the legitimacy of the move, many others have denied Bannon’s ability to serve on the council.
“This is stone cold crazy,” said Susan E. Rice on Twitter, a former national security adviser.
It is clear that Banon’s appointment is fueled by politics, not the best interests of nation’s security. The former editor of Breitbart News’ short stint in the United States Navy does not qualify him for one of the most powerful positions in government, one that can influence our nation’s national security policy. Trump sets yet another dangerous precedent with the politicization of a military entity, and disgraces the founding fathers’ vision of republican self-government.
While it remains to be seen whether or not the president will continue this flurry of executive misconduct throughout his term, the American people must refuse to allow the president’s current abuses to go unaddressed.