This is not a drill.
After Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addressed Orlando’s mass shooting during a press conference on Monday, I’m officially beyond scared of a Trump presidency. As an immigrant, I am petrified.
In his frightening 1984-esque speech, Trump called for an expansion of his already widely-criticized proposed ban on Muslims from entering the country, suggesting it also apply to immigrants “from areas of the world where there’s a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies.” When applying the broad definition of "terrorism" to an ambiguous number of countries, this can be interpreted to ban every kind of immigrant, setting a dangerous and anti-American precedent. You might think that conversations about Trump sound like a broken record (he manages to find new ways to offend almost daily), but the GOP frontrunner has truly outdone himself with his thinly-veiled racist and xenophobic speech. I fear he is even more tyrannical than we originally imagined.
Not only did the billionaire border on pathologically lying throughout Monday’s speech, he also contradicted himself by arguing that if we want to remain a “free and open society,” the solution is to close our society (and its freedoms) off to everyone except those who serve the “interests and values of America.” (Dangerously ambiguous wording that can easily be interpreted to mean only white, upper-class people.)
How does this demagogue propose to implement this contradictory plan of action? With run-of-the-mill fascism, of course:
“The immigration laws of the United States give the president powers to suspend entry into the country of any class of persons. Now, any class—it really is determined and to be determined by the president for the interests of the United States. And it’s as he or she deems appropriate. Hopefully it’s he in this case.”
Trump seriously implied that he would use presidential powers to “suspend entry into the country of any class of persons,” but our country is a nation of immigrants: founded by immigrants, built on the backs of immigrants, and prosperous because of immigrants. How did Trump become our wannabe-dictator?
It’s all too easy to make light of Trump and his inability to speak proper English, but I can’t laugh anymore.
He has successfully built his fear-mongering campaign by normalizing and then commodifying hatred of anyone who doesn't fit his mold of what it means to be "American." Trump's fear tactics enable a culture where dangerous, hateful people like Omar Mateen, Dylann Roof, and Robert Lewis Dear—who all have histories of violence and discrimination—are rendered harmless (enough to purchase military rifles) in their day-to-day lives. These murderous bigots were able to skate by unchecked—causing less alarm than a trans person in a bathroom or a vaguely-Muslim-looking person on an airplane—until it’s too late. Their bigotry is accepted—and even welcomed—in Trump’s America. This kind of hatred was the drive behind Trump’s speech on Monday, when he recklessly blamed immigration as the source of domestic terrorism.
“The bottom line is that the only reason the killer was in America in the first place, was because we allowed his family to come here,” he said. “We cannot continue to allow thousands upon thousands of people to pour into our country many of whom have the same thought process as this savage killer.”
Do immigrants have “the same thought process as this savage killer?” I don't. And neither does my mom, dad, sister, or brother.
You know who has "savage" thoughts? Omar Mateen, Dylann Roof, and Robert Lewis Dear—none of whom are immigrants. They were U.S. born and bred, and resorted to violence to express their fear, hatred, and ignorance—all attitudes which flourish in Trump's America. It's no coincidence that a homophobic man killed 49 mostly LGBTQ Latinos while America's most visible person is an anti-immigrant bigot who openly hates Mexicans.
Immigration does not cause domestic terrorism. America’s sordid colonial history, imperialistic foreign policy, and fear-mongering media caused it. The Black Lives Matter statement on the Orlando mass shooting said it best:
“Homegrown terror is the product of a long history of colonialism, including state and vigilante violence. It is the product of white supremacy and capitalism, which deforms the spirit and fuels interpersonal violence.”
Our potential future president concluded his speech:“We’re going to be tough and we’re going to be smart and we’re going to do it right. America will be a tolerant and open society. America will also be a safe society. We will protect our borders at home. We will defeat ISIS overseas. We have no choice. We will ensure every parent can raise their children in peace and safety.”
The crowd roared.
This is not a drill. This is a worldwide state of emergency.