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Letter: Trump’s actions defy our country’s values

Trump’s actions defy our country’s values

When Bashar al-Assad, with the support of Vladimir Putin, unleashed the genocidal bombing of his own citizens in Aleppo, Syria, the world reacted with outrage. Leaders of countries all over the world, the pope, other religious leaders and members of both political parties in the U.S. condemned the attacks. One American politician maintained a deafening silence: Donald Trump.

Now that he is president, Trump is taking steps to ensure that no refugees from Syria enter this country. None – no children, no disabled old people, no one. This flies in the face of the actions of virtually all other civilized nations, which have opened their doors to such refugees, subject to security reviews.

Trump says this policy is temporary, but that if the U.S. ever allows any refugees, they will be subjected to “extreme vetting.” One suspects that the “temporary” ban on Syrian refugees will last for a long, long time, given the president’s paranoid suspicion of Muslims generally.

I’ve been plagued recently by a recurring image. The Statue of Liberty stands with the torch knocked out of her hand. The immortal verses of Emma Lazarus are vandalized, so that they read: “Don’t give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. And don’t send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.” I dread the day when I awake to learn that my nightmare has come true.

Joe Gerken


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