I was on the beach the other day and I overheard a fellow expat getting all Trumped up. According to the expat the US President is to blame for Dominicans being denied visas into the United States. For some reason I can never keep my mouth shut so I interrupted his tirade and asked him to name his representatives in congress. No reply, blank stare. Conversation over.
The media loves the polarization of Trump, it drives clicks, viewership and ad revenue. It also focuses the attention of the general public on the one person who cannot change our immigration laws.
Here is my problem with arguing politics. Both participants need to have a working knowledge of how our government works before any meaningful conversation can take place. I wouldn’t dream of getting into a Brexit conversation as my understanding of the British parliamentary system is weak at best. Yet I have no problem opening my mouth when I hear an American spewing politically charged nonsense in front of our host Dominicans. Case in point the above mentioned expat.
Let’s start with the core of this statement, Trump denying visas.
“The power of the Executive Branch is vested in the President of the United States, who also acts as head of state and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The President is responsible for implementing and enforcing the laws written by Congress and, to that end, appoints the heads of the federal agencies, including the Cabinet.”
Thus my question to the expat - “who represents you in congress?”
Trump didn’t write the current set of immigration laws. They were already enacted before he took office. All of this nonsense with border walls, deportations, detainment centers, visa denials etc comes directly from The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRAIRA). This piece of trash is some of the worst written legislation to ever make its way out of Congress. It was written by a Republican controlled congress and then gleefully signed into law by then President Bill Clinton, a Democrat. Here is a really good article written in VOX back in 2016, before Trump was even nominated.
Trump is the kid getting yelled at by the teacher while the US Congress sits in the back of the classroom chewing gum, giggling and passing notes. Trump definitly earned his spot in the corner but he didn’t make the spit wad, he just threw it.
We have all seen the video of a certain member of the US Congress standing by a chain link fence crying. We have heard all of the sound bites, read the articles and gobbled up the rhetoric. What we haven’t seen is a collective effort by our representatives in the Congress to rewrite the damn bill. No one calls out the real culprits, we give them the ultimate pass to do nothing while we all pick on the kid at the front of the classroom.
The United States is both a Democracy and a Republic. Democracy in that We the People hold the ultimate power. A Republic because it is ruled by the law and not by a monarchy. Simply put, the President of the United States does not have the ability to write law or to change it. We the People write the laws via our elected representatives. Or at least that’s how it was supposed to work.
The blame for our immigration policies sits squarely on all of us, the citizens of the United States. We are directly accountable for allowing our representatives to write that piece of shit immigration policy back in 1996, we also allowed President Clinton to sign it instead of vetoing it and sending it back to congress with a do over note. We’ve gotten so wound up in Trump Rhetoric that most of our citizens have no idea who represents them in Congress or in the Senate, nor do they understand how our government works.
I’m not defending Donald Trump. i am strongly pointing my finger at the kids in the back of the class. The statement to any of our Dominican friends struggling to get into the United States should not be “our President is a racist”. The statement should be “Our congress is a mess and incapable of writing laws that acurately represent the views and intentions of the American people.”
Shine the light. Focus some of that anti-Trump energy on your representatives in congress - both sides of aisle. Tell them to stop passing notes, posing for photo ops and to get to work. FIX the immigration policy. Our friends and neighbors in other countries including the Dominican Republic should absolutely be able to visit the United States legally, transit through our airports and apply for residency without all of this bullshit. If you can open a bank account, apply for credit or get a new passport online we should absolutely be able to process a visa applications from our foreign friends. The reason we don’t and the reason we won’t has nothing to do with Trump and everything to do with special interest money, lobbyist and our inept house of representatives.
John Yarmuth, Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell have my attention.
RANT OVER - back to regular programming.