More questions, not fewer
Jim Banks starts off a May 3 column by stating, “Like many Hoosiers, I had questions about Donald Trump's views on foreign policy, his temperament and his view of America's role in the world.” This gives the reader the impression that he, too, was somewhat skeptical of the reality TV mogul's transition into politics and subsequent presence on the world stage.
Such skepticism was apparently quickly dissipated as Banks hails our president for his leadership, citing examples from the president's hundred-and-some-odd days' tenure in the oval office. In particular, the 3rd District representative mentions bombing Syria's Assad regime and escalating the fight against Islamic State terrorism. Banks concludes our president is off to a strong start in what seems to be an arduous journey of undoing eight years of foreign policy failures.
While I do somewhat agree with Banks' statement on the previous administration's foreign policy failures, I strongly disagree with his assessment of President Trump's actions.
I am one of those Hoosiers who had questions about Trump but, unlike our congressman, my concerns are not allayed by his actions; rather, they have become much more heightened.
The strike on Syria's Assad regime that Banks uses as an example of Trump's decisiveness on key national security issues is bewildering, to say the least. The war in Syria is now a threat to our national security? When did it become so? That certainly wasn't the case according to many of Trump's contradicting statements about Syria. Going from a “we should stay the hell out of Syria” position to dropping 59 missiles without any plan, heeding of consequences or a “what's next” strategy is not “an appropriate but measured response to a global humanitarian crisis,” but rather a cause of alarm to us all.
Is Trump all of a sudden motivated by the humanitarian crisis? “No child of God should ever suffer such horror,” said the president in his statement after the U.S. bombing, but aren't those the same children he said he had “absolutely no problem looking them in the face” and telling them to go home when they come to our country escaping such horror? I find the use of the words “humanitarian” and “God” as mockery to the faithful and to humanitarian activists.
Was it the use of chemical weapons? If that's the case, then why is the method of killing more important than the killing itself? Shouldn't killing be abhorred whether by chemical weapons or a thousand cuts? Our outrage/action should be about what's happening, regardless of method. And what if the bombing killed Russians or Iranians (our country claims both support the Assad regime)? Have we thought of the potential war that might ensue from such haphazard action?
And what early promising results of our intensified fight against terrorism is Banks speaking of? I am all for eradicating terrorism, but have we not learned that greater force and intensity does not scare away terrorists, rather it reinforces the narrative of “the West is at war with us” espoused by such groups? You can't bomb away such an ideology.
War is not the only answer to fight this elusive “terrorism,” so how about a strategy that's beyond dropping more bombs instead?
There is a lot more criticism that can be leveled against Trump's actions, but my main criticism is of those who surround him and the role they play. A blanketed, unabashed praise of any president and cheerleading him without any critical analysis of his actions or their consequences only enables him further. Enabling can also be done by being silent when truth needs to be spoken, by being complacent, by shirking your responsibilities as a representative of your community.
Our congressmen and -women and our senators are not elected to sing the praises of the one who occupies the Oval Office. Our system of checks and balances fails if neither takes place.
post originally published by the Journal Gazzette 05/15/2017
Celebrating immigrants- Take2
So after an overall sentiment of love, admiration and appreciation for what the United States in general and Fort Wayne in particular have offered us, the panelists, in terms of opportunities for success and a generally more welcoming atmosphere/environment than where we came from, I had a few "tough love" words to share with the audience at the conclusion of the "celebrating immigrants" panel discussion.
My tough love revolved around how we need to stop kidding ourselves with this "we are a post racial society" or "we are an inclusive community" and start doing some real grunt work addressing our conscious and subconscious biases. How although I appreciate everyone's presence, we need to stop patting ourselves on the back for having attended such a meeting and go have the candid conversation with the friend or family member who refuses to attend such events yet still paints a much different and often negative image of immigrants. I also pointed the fact that our panel is a skewed representation of immigrants (all educated with well paid jobs, mostly men) and that we must not forget that immigrants include those whose backs are just as broken as their English, who strive to make a better life for themselves and their children and LOVE this country even more than many of the ones born in it who take it for granted.
Many people (immigrants and non immigrants alike) expressed their appreciation for what I said, stated that they needed to hear it/it needed to be said and applauded me for speaking up. Beyond that appreciation however lies a question that was more implied than directly asked which is "why wouldn't more immigrants have such uneasy conversations with people and call out the many biases that are expressed toward them?"
I'll venture a grossly generalized answer to the question
I believe it to be out of respect and appreciation. Many don't want to seem ungrateful or disrespectful to a country that welcomed them and afforded them an opportunity. Most, if not all, do not have the sense of entitlement that comes with being born here (not bratty type entitlement but entitlement in the sense of rights that are enjoyed from birth and not gained at an older age).
This type of gratitude often supersedes many of the problems or issues that they encounter due to the "don't bite the hand that feeds you" attitude.
This type of attitude is universal across all immigrants (I said I will grossly generalize) regardless of educational achievement or financial success.
This type of attitude also creates a vicious cycle as often the gratitude is mistook for meekness and airs a sense of inferiority that is, unfortunately more often than not, met with arrogance than humility.
This type of attitude needs to be changed if we, immigrants, are to be treated, as our adopted constitution guarantees, equally.
Palestinian, Muslim, American, Husband, Father, Academic, Pharmacist, Coffee Addict, Nutella phene, Pseudo writer, Soccer player, former Canadian, Community servant, Pinch hitter imam, interfaith ninja, Intellectual vigilante, and the undisputed KING of snark