As I write this column, we have yet to hear whether or not the nationwide hold on President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers and immigrants from seven mostly Muslim countries will be upheld. Briefs were due Monday that would either uphold the temporary restraining order issued by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals or would reinstate the Trump ban.
Meanwhile, those refused entry last weekend are once again being allowed into this country and celebrations at U.S. airports are common. Stories about separated families and those with visas denied entry and sent back to their countries of origin were rife. Demonstrators against Trump’s ban seemed to be everywhere.
Because immigration is a national issue, it will be decided in federal court. Depending on the outcome in appeals court, the issue may work its way all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. People involved in the issue wonder if Trump’s proposed nominee will be confirmed and seated on the court before an appeal could be heard.
Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright said on Fareed Zakaria’s GPS program Sunday that her general impression is that “the Trump rollout has been chaotic. In many ways, the immigration question was based on untruth and had unintended consequences.”
It was also said it was a terrible mistake to include Iraq in the ban. The Iraqi army is fighting ISIS with us and to bar them from visiting this country is wrong.
Albright, who has been involved in many a transition, said they all make mistakes before their cabinet is in place.
Ronald Reagan and other presidents made mistakes they were able to blame on others. Trump and his ridiculous tweets have denied him that “firewall.”
“I hope they learned from their mistakes. This is not American. America is based on diversity,” she said. “Fareed and I are evidence of that.”
In the January/February issue of The Atlantic, written before Trump issued his Muslim ban, James Fallows’ column, “Despair and Hope in the Age of Trump,” analyzes how he believes Trump got elected. After traveling around the country, he and his wife found that most Americans are optimistic about the communities they live in, but not their nation.
“I view Trump’s election as the most grievous blow that the American ideal has suffered in my lifetime,” he wrote. “The heartland-rage theory misses the sentiments so clearly evident in the real ‘out there,’” he continued. “I disagree with two elements of instant analysis: That this was a sweeping ‘change’ election, and that it reflected a pent-up desperation and fury that would have been evident if anyone had bothered to check with Americans ‘out there’ away from the coasts.”
He goes on to say that this could be as consequential a ‘change’ election as the United States has had since 1860. Change elections drive waves of incumbents from office, but that didn’t happen here. This time, only two senators — both Republicans — lost their seats and, of nearly 400 representatives running for reelection to the House, only eight lost — six Republicans and two Democrats.
Fallows wonders how Trump’s message of despair and anger about the American prospect, and disrespect for the norms that made us great, have prevailed in a nation that still believes in itself at the local level.
He also speculates whether this election will be “a dire but survivable challenge to American institutions or an irreversible step toward something else.”
We can only hope that it isn’t the latter.