When Silence is Not an Option

A note to readers: Politically charged content ahead. We’ll return to regularly scheduled tech coverage next week.

I am an American and I cannot stand behind my president’s action discriminating against entire groups from entering the country.

The founding document of the United States, the Declaration of Independence, starts with:

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

In this initial declaration, our founding fathers not only started by declaring their intent to voice discontent but to register the reason for which they considered the creation of the United States as something that followed the laws of nature.

And one of the laws they put up front was the idea of a new nation where all men are created equal. History has shown these ideals to be the source of a constant national fight and national search to create a more inclusive  society, starting with granting protection from religious persecution and moving on to an expanding set of rights that allowed racial minorities, women, and the LGBT community rights they are still not afforded in many other countries.

But at times, the nation has stumbled. In the early 1800s, the Alien and Sedition Acts repressed domestic protest and gave the new country powers to deport foreigners and make it harder for new immigrants to vote. During World War II, Japanese-Americans were forcibly relocated and interned in prison camps for several years. Prior to World War II, the rights of minorities fleeing from persecution in their own Asian countries was severely restricted. Those are seen as dark stains on American history, the kind of actions that betrayed the true meaning of our country.

Yesterday, our president signed an executive order, entitled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” that will sit in the annals of history alongside those dark times. Invoking the specter of 9/11, this order suspended the right to enter the country from both visitors and permanent US residents yielding from a group of countries.

Most egregious is the presentation of such discrimination as based in rational behavior. Among the justifications given is:

“In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law.”

In excluding a complete set of individuals from legal entry into the country, this administration is bearing a hostile attitude towards its founding principles: those of inclusiveness and protection for all people. While I agree with the sentiment that the US should not support those who place violent ideologies over American law, this executive order stems from a violent ideology that it places over the principles of American law. By assuming that all coming from a given set of countries are guilty until proven innocent, this order sets our precious bill of rights on fire.

This is not what the American people should think of as America.

This is not what the world should see in America.

This is not the natural law our nation was founded on.

This is not natural.

If you do not stand against this unnatural act and voice your fierce opposition to it then, sadly, you stand in support of it. I, for one, cannot be silent about this and I dare hope against hope that you won’t be either.

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