Tuesday, February 07, 2017

What Makes America Great?

Donald Trump came to power on the slogan of "making America great again." The question we need all to ask is what makes America great? Trump did not take the time to articulate what exactly makes America great, and no one took the time to demand that this question be clarified.
It does not take hard thinking to discover that what makes America great is indeed the commitment of the American people to the ideals of freedom, equality, and fairness. This simply means that Trump cannot make America great again when he ignores the values and principles that made it exceptional in the first place.

What makes America exceptional has always been its commitment to due process and equal dignity, and its willingness to reward hard work and excellence while overlooking religious, ethnic, racial, or political differences. Yes this has been sometimes a slow process, and for sure the journey is incomplete, but there was in the past little doubt about the direction of American progress. With Trump the certainty about the direction of the collective struggle is being tested, and the push to turn the clock back is becoming disturbingly real.
Interestingly, the answer to the question of “what makes America great” came not from Trump actions, but from the response to his efforts to reverse the direction of American progress by ending Muslim travel and immigration to the United States. It came through the actions of decent ordinary Americans who uphold the ideals of freedom and equality that propelled America forward. It came from the hundreds of thousands who protested on the first day of Trump's presidency his condescending views toward those who are different. It came from those who rushed to major airports around the country to receive visitors, refugees, and immigrants from the seven countries Trump banned in fulfillment of his election campaign promise to ban Muslims.
Most importantly, the answer to the question of “what makes America great” came from America’s independent courts that blocked Trump’s first attempt to ban Muslims and brush constitutional law aside.  It came from Judge James Robart’s ruling on the civil rights case titled "State of Washington vs. Donald J. Trump," brought by the Attorney General of the State of Washington, Robert Ferguson.
The State of Washington successfully obtained Temporary Restraining Order on nationwide basis that will prohibits enforcement of several sections of the president's executive order. In effect, the ruling prevent law enforcement organizations from turning back or deporting immigrants, refugees, or visitors who legally obtained visas.
The ruling will be valid until it is turned down by a court of appeal. So the next step is for the Trump administration to appeal Judge Robart ruling. This will not be easy as the order is challenged on the ground of violating due process as well as the establishment clause.
This is the first lesson to Trump and his team that the US is a government of laws and not of men. The president must respect constitutional and statute laws like any other citizen in the country. It is also an educational moment to him and to all who wonder as to what makes America great!

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