Concerned citizens have an obligation to speak up
In recent days, a series of shock waves rippled through the foundation of our country and triggered an overwhelming tumult in my mind that is now spilling onto this paper. I am proud to live in a democracy. We can speak boldly, worship freely and demonstrate openly. While these inherent freedoms have become seemingly commonplace, we mustn’t forget that they are fragile and require protection.
On Jan. 20, the free world watched as the torch of democracy was peacefully bestowed to its new holder: President Trump. The next day, millions of disillusioned Americans marched in a historic rebuke of this man and a collective vote of no confidence in his policies. Since then, Trump has demonstrated that he does not possess the mental wherewithal to effectively and coherently lead our country. Twitter diplomacy and rapid-fire executive actions have quickly steered us into uncharted territory with no end in sight.
Trump’s executive order suspending the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program is shameful and reprehensible. The existence of this program has life-or-death implications and embodies the core principles on which our country was built. Banning people based on their religion or country of origin violates the basic tenets of our Constitution.
Buffalo is home to more than 20,000 refugees from all over the world and to vilify these residents is sickening and offensive. If you have seen the revival of our City of Good Neighbors then you, too, have experienced the tremendous impact refugees have on a community.
Democracy is not guaranteed. What good are freedoms if we don’t use them when it matters most? If there was ever a time in your life to become active in your community, to speak out, to vote, to call your representatives, it is now.