In January, the President of the United States signed an Executive Order banning (re)-entry into America for 7 Islamic-majority countries including Syria, Iran, and Iraq. If you’ve had your eyes and ears open though, you have probably heard about it by now. You may have even formed your own opinion about the Order. I’m not here to tell you what to believe or what is right and wrong regarding this issue. I simply want to explain how I feel as a college student at a small, intimate, liberal arts school like Lycoming College and the things we as a campus can do to make sense of all that is happening.
Donald Trump made good on his campaign promises with his decision to sign the order. One of the pillars of the President’s campaign was immigration reform, and this order definitely takes that issue into concern. However, Trump has seen his approval rating drop in the aftermath of this weekend and that, to me, raises questions. While the opponents of the order have been loud: protesting, organizing charities to help those affected, and so on and so forth, I want to know where the proponents of the order have been. Another question I have is: Why did his approval rates drop if this immigration reform was a part of his campaign promise?
I don’t know if these questions have or deserve answers, but they really make me wish we would have more dialogue about these issues. I honestly believe that with a President who is so polarizing, we should learn to do the opposite. I know there are people at Lycoming who voted for Trump, just like there are people who did not. I also know that a common theme of American society is to not talk about “politics” in public. Also, at Lycoming, many of my professors have generally decided to try and remove their political views from classroom discussion.
However, I’d propose that in light of recent events, they are actually neglecting part of their jobs by not encouraging political discussion in the classroom. We students are the future of America and without open dialogue between both sides of any and every issue, we won’t be able to solve any problems. The way things are now, people usually don’t talk about politics out in the open because they’re afraid, think they have too much to lose, or feel they just are not educated enough to have an informed opinion. But, I would argue that with issues like the so-called “Muslim Ban” it isn’t about “politics” at all. It’s more ethical than political at this point. Some think it is right for America to impose strict vetting processes on prospective immigrants while others think that it is wrong. I’m simply saying that in order for us to reach a real solution, there must be some dialogue between both sides of this and other controversial issues.
When we communicate, the possibilities are endless. A common theme that I have observed both in America on a larger scale and sometimes at Lycoming, is people siding with Trump without voicing their opinions proudly. Trump is such a polarizing figure that he is able to galvanize some of his supporters and they endorse him with great zeal. The problem does not lie in those people because we can clearly see where they stand. However, there are some Trump supporters who have not been making their voice heard as his approval rates continue to plummet. I want to have an open dialogue between the two sides of this argument, and that becomes difficult when there are people who do not make their support well known.
If people are going to support a candidate with such strong views and put their faith in him, I feel they owe it to the people who oppose Trump to make their support known. I’m not saying all Trump supporters are hiding, but you would think that his recent order would’ve galvanized more supporters and invigorated them instead of appearing to just enrage people against Trump.
In some cases, the rage of anti-Trump protesters has led to violence. The executive director of the NRA went so far as to call the actions of these protesters terrorism because he thinks that “terrorism is violence in the name of politics.” He does have a valid point because it was a political protest and if violence ensued as a result, one could claim it was terrorism. His choice to denounce the protester’s actions was met with little rhetoric on how to solve the issues that incited the protest. I am not advocating for violence in any way, and I firmly stand on one side of this issue; however, I do not see any way that violence could help get this order repealed. The way to solve this problem is to talk it out, hear both sides, and then devise a solution that is closest to a consensus
I would love for Lycoming (a place which I believe to be very progressive) to take charge with respect to opening some channels for dialogue so that we can iron out our differences as a society. The political climate looks to me now like liberals and anti-Trump people screaming at and protesting against an administration headed by Trump, a proud believer in his own rhetoric, and a group of supporters that largely haven’t been responding to the public outcry against the man they voted for and coincidentally, the man responsible for the Executive Order.
Here is a link to the article where the executive director of the NRA likened the actions of the protesters to terrorism.
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