FULL DISCLOSURE: Before I begin, I want to make sure everybody knows that I do not have my degree in political science. I’ve done a lot of reading today on all different kinds of websites, both liberal and conservative, and this is what I have come up with. I recognize that any president is able to use his judgment to place bans on countries that he feels are threatening to us. But I want us to consider our tone and our response. If you disagree, that’s okay. That won’t bother me. But disagree in love. K, let’s start.
Today has been a weird day. I just sat here, staring at my computer for 11 minutes before I even figured out how to start this post. So, I guess starting it by admitting that I don’t know how to start it is a good place to start.
I can say, with all certainty, that today, January 28, 2017, is the weirdest and most confusing day of my privileged, American life.
Today, President Donald Trump, 45th president of the United States, signed an executive order, essentially disavowing the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which forbids discrimination against immigrants based on their “nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.”
Even weirder, in my opinion, is fact that we are, in fact, allowing immigrants to cross our borders who are Christians. Cue the Mean Girls you-can’t-sit-with-us clip. Because duh, it’s Wednesday. And you’re clearly not wearing pink. Or a crucifix. Or whatever it is that makes you deserving of coming into our super exclusive country full of nothing but generations of immigrants, literally.
Obviously, I have a problem with this. I have a problem with anything that feels like a sneaky injustice to me. Sneaky? Yup, sneaky. Why do I call it sneaky? Because millions of Americans are celebrating this as a great win, an “end to terrorism” in our country as if Kylie Jenner’s Snapchat doesn’t terrorize us every single day.
I am confused by the celebrations. Obviously, I want to end terrorism. Obviously, I want to end unnecessary deaths and attacks on innocent civilians. Obviously.
My confusion comes from a few obvious facts. I will name them here in a list because I love lists:
- There are 7 countries whose citizens are currently being banned from entering the United States of America. The home country of the mastermind of 911, Osama Bin Laden (Saudi Arabia), and home country of the infamous Boston Bombers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev (Chechnya) are not on this list. wEiRd.
- The ban includes current green card holders, who are “permanent residents of the United States.” So if I went back to Iraq to visit grandma to get some of her amazeballs shawarma and then boarded a plane to get back into the country of which I am a permanent resident and hold a job and pay taxes, I would be stopped at the border and sent back to Iraq….where I am….not….a permanent resident… wEiRdEr.
- President Trump issued this executive order on Holocaust Remembrance Day, which would kinda be like if your boyfriend broke up with you on your birthday after he didn’t replace the toilet paper roll when it was done. Rude.
Now, I’m not trying to ruin anyone’s mid-winter-backyard-bbq-Mericuh-semi-annual-bash, so I feel that it’s necessary to point out that I haven’t even stated an opinion yet (Except about Kylie’s Snapchat.). These are just facts. Literally, facts from the day. So, you really can’t even be mad at me yet.
The weirdest part about all of this to me is the celebration that is taking place from the Christian community. Before we get our proverbial crown of thorns in a bunch, let’s consider something: Jesus’s entire ministry hinged on the fact that he was anything but exclusive.
He aggressively walked away from the societal norm of his religion (Judaism, not Christianity) by befriending and ministering to people who were generally looked upon how I look upon the Pittsburgh Penguins: with utter and absolute disdain.
He advocated for other races (the horrible Samaritans) and religions (Gentiles, meaning basically anyone who wasn’t Jewish). He advocated for the unclean and the unwanted. He allowed himself to be surrounded by people that weren’t allowed in synagogues and places considered to be holy.
And he got MAD when his own religious leaders abused their powers or influence with manipulation and sneaky racism. Sneaky. There’s that word again.
Jesus forever changed an entire generation of Jews by being one thing and one thing only: Consistent.
Consistent? What a weird word to pick, Leah.
But, my friends, is it?
Jesus was consistently kind. Consistently ready to meet the needs of the people around him. Consistently making the people around him want to be better. Consistently peaceful (except for the whole cursing the olive tree incident, which I mean, who hasn’t cursed something when they’ve been hungry?)
He was consistently wise, consistently humble, consistently charitable, consistently forgiving.
He was basically everything that I am not on the first day of my cycle. Unless he was consistently experiencing road rage, then yeah, I qualify.
And Jesus did all of this without forgetting why he was there in the first place. He remained true to his calling, but also true to the idea that kindness goes a long, long way.
So here I am, on the weirdest day of my life, wondering if we’ve somehow gotten lost somewhere along the way. Where did we make a wrong turn? And when we figure it out, can we even backtrack and correct it?
No. We can’t. The damage is done.
Today we sent a VERY CLEAR MESSAGE to 77 million people in Iran that they are all dangerous, simply because they were born in Iran and into a Muslim. As if they could help that. As if we even know if they’ve had a chance to be anything different. As if I could help being born in America. Or white. Or into a good family.
We are the product of chance. And today, we punished that.
Do I think that our borders should be swung wide open for anyone and everyone to come in? No, I don’t. I think that it should be a process, and not a relatively easy process, at that. I would expect that for citizenship of any country. I mean, my god, it took me like 5 months to get my membership at Planet Fitness sorted out, and that’s a judgement-free zone. Good things take time. #legday #swoll #upinthegym #fitfam #fitness #fitgirl #fitlyfe
But I think that option should be available to anyone who wants it. It’s our right to say, “No, we don’t want you as a citizen.” But shouldn’t it be their right to be able to try?
Right now, what we are saying is, “You can try if you look like this.” Talk about a good old boys club. Right now, America is one giant locker room full of people who are gleefully making people feel like they don’t belong. That’s gross, friends.
You might disagree with me, and I think I know why: The religion of Islam has been the foundation of the radical groups- NOT the normal, every day practicing Muslim- that carried out many, many of the terrorist attacks that have happened around the world.
This is our way, President Trump’s way, of protecting our people. I almost understand that, except that we forget that Christianity doesn’t have a super great track record of being kind to people who don’t agree with them.
Like here, where Christians blew up an abortion clinic. Or here, where Christians killed hundreds of thousands people who wouldn’t convert. Or here, where Christians openly and currently celebrate the deaths of American soldiers as God’s judgment and cleansing. Or here, where a man claimed he was sent on a mission from God to kill homosexuals.
We claim that none of these people and their personal agenda’s represent the true voice of Christianity and speak out against their actions. But then, we group an entire religion together, saying that they’re ALL bad and ALL terrorists. Well by that logic, we’re all bad. And we’re all terrorists. We are all guilty by association.
The only difference between us and them is that we were born in the right country- in a country that offers opportunity to anyone and everyone who dares work hard for it. A country that is imperfect and in need of serious moral repair. A country that has birthed the most amazing leaders and soon-to-be-leaders. A country that needs those leaders now, more than ever.
The greatest country in the entire freaking world.
(I’m talking about America. Just in case you guys hadn’t caught on to my impassioned speech.)
My fear, friends, isn’t that we will lose our greatness, but that we will begin to see greatness as a cookie cutter of sorts. My fear isn’t that we will no longer shine, but that our light will be dimmed by the fact that we don’t want everyone to shine. My fear is that fear will rule us.
I am afraid of terrorism. And space travel. And baboons. And gluten. But I am most afraid of living in a world where I cannot dare be different than the majority.
I am imperfect. I mean, barely, but still. I recognize that I still have this angsty teenager in me that wants to turn on some punk rock and throw my fist of protest into the air and defy everything and everybody just to make people mad. I get that.
I can be completely insufferable. One million percent intolerant of opinions that differ from mine. Snarky. Mean. Full of low blows and comments that I know will sting. I am impatient with people who disagree with me. I constantly think I am right.
I am an imperfect human who is learning how to act at the literal rate of those slow walkers in the grocery store.
But this is what I’ve realized.
If I want to be like Jesus, truly, deeply, solely like Jesus, then I need to live in the minority. I need to pitch a tent and dig my stakes wayyyyy into the forgotten soil of those who would say…
Injustice is never tolerated.
Silence is never an option.
Neutrality is not a solution.
Kindness is a requirement.
Compassion is strength.
Differences are beautiful.
Love is necessary.
You, my friends, are necessary. Your opinions, no matter how greatly they differ from my own, have a right to be heard. Our country ensures that.
Your voice matters. You have the opportunity to use your voice to send clear and thoughtful messages to those around you. Your voice can send waves or positivity into your community. Your voice can mend. Your voice can heal. Your voice can sooth.
So I guess what I’m trying to say today, on this weird day, is that we don’t have to agree in order to be kind. We don’t have to agree to have compassion. We can love and support people who don’t religiously and morally line up with us, simply because we recognize that we’re all human, all trying to do our best.
We can be strong and also compassionate. We can be emboldened and also understanding. We can celebrate what we feel like are victories, and also be conscious of how those victories affect others.
We can have neighbors who we hate, but still show them love. We can feel misunderstood and not lash out.
We can use our voice. In fact, we all are, currently.
So no matter where you land on this issue, let’s agree on one thing: People are listening to us. We can change minds. Kindness is a noticeable tone. Silence is consent.
Use your voice wisely.