Sunday, January 29, 2017

Read: on the Muslim Ban

This is one of those clarifying moments in American history, and like most such, it came upon us unawares, although historians in later years will be able to trace the deep and the contingent causes that brought us to this day. There is nothing to fear in this fact; rather, patriots should embrace it. The story of the United States is, as Lincoln put it, a perpetual story of “a rebirth of freedom” and not just its inheritance from the founding generation.

"President Trump's First Defeat."  Blake Hounshell in Politico Magazine.
It’s too early to say how the politics of all this will play out, but as a sheer matter of governance, it augurs poorly. Other administrations might have carefully briefed reporters on the details of the new policy, prepared the public, put exemptions in place, clarified exactly who would be affected. They might have crafted an outreach strategy to key allies to explain the president’s reasoning and hear out any concerns. The Trump team seems to have done none of that.

"This Is What It's Like to Come to the United States as a Refugee."  Julia Ioffe in The Atlantic.
We were probably an abstraction to the flight attendants on the plane, another set of droplets in the torrent escaping the Soviet Union, another family huddling under blankets under the April snow on the tarmac at a refueling stop in Shannon, Ireland, another rambunctious toddler running up and down the aisles of the plane, trying vainly to recruit the people trying to sleep around her into a game of catch with a little red rubber ball.
And to most people watching the refugee crisis unfold, the refugees detained and turned back at airports across the country are likely abstractions, too. They do not see what brought them there or the bureaucratic Rube Goldberg machine they had to navigate to be deemed safe and responsible refugees.

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