The idea that America allows people into the United States without checking their background has been a particularly absurd assertion to every visa-requiring visitor or immigrant who knows how intensive and intimidating the process is, especially since 9/11.
Visas are routinely refused for the slightest reasons and many can never enter the U.S. A. if they have a police record. An effective one-strike you’re out. And as for terrorists using Syrian refugees to easily infiltrate the U.S., 60 mins ran a segment in its January 29, 2017 episode demonstrating how long and careful the vetting process already is for Syrian refugees. The process can take 18 months or more. So a Muslim immigration ban even a temporary one, to make sure America has a proper vetting system is puzzling. It must be religiously motivated. Yes? Maybe, and I won’t add to that fire here. Instead let’s focus on something else we should be careful not to miss.
Trump’s end game
Trump’s end game is not to permanently ban Muslims. He knows he can’t do that— even if that pleases many who voted for him—but to claim credit for making America safe.
He has no intention of keeping the ban in place and in fact may lift it well before the 120 days. He’s simply taking the steps that allow him to be seen as fixing a problem that doesn’t exist, and it won’t take three months for him to claim he’s instituted steps that are already in place. My guess is he’ll rename certain existing policies and practices so he can legitimately claim he installed them, as he will try to do for the essential and popular parts of Obama care.
taking credit for what’s already in place
Said plainly, President Trump’s Muslim ban was not intended to make America safe so much as to appear that HE is making America safe.
It’s about solidifying his image as an Action-President doing the common-sense-things-that-ought-to-have-been-done-to-protect-the-country-by-the-bozos-before-him. It’s the low-hanging fruit in his plan to—wherever possible—take credit for things that were already working.
Track the changes to the vetting
Don’t let him win this one. In addition to the legal and ethical arguments being made, what Trump’s opponents should be doing is documenting the real and fake changes he will be making to the vetting process. In other words do not allow him to claim that he has installed a missing vetting system, or strengthened a weak one.
He will lift the ban well within the 120 days and take credit for lifting it early so that these “poor suffering people” can find hope in America. He will claim that all he was doing was making the process safe for America, and thanks to the temporary ban, which everybody else was afraid to do because of political correctness, he made sure no Muslim terrorists were getting in while he could install a proper vetting system. I can hear him at that press conference lifting the ban “And it was bad, …. so bad people … you won’t believe how bad it was before we put this ban in place. We were letting in … all … kinds … of people. With no check! NO CHECKS! But that’s stopped now. …”
Upcoming fodder for Alec Baldwin on SNL. Can’t wait.
But Trump will probably win this as well
Why? Because Trump is in touch with the fears of the millions of Americans who’ve never travelled abroad, and who have no Muslim friends. Don’t forget that about half of Americans have never had a passport and get their international world view from Fox news, not National Geographic.
He knows they have never travelled outside their country and have never been exposed to their own immigration and border patrols, especially sporting black skin or (gulp) a beard.
Trump knows his base has little to no interest in other countries and believe—thanks to conservative talk radio and Fox News—that all Muslims are potentially dangerous, but also—because he’s been saying as much—that’s it’s as easy for a terrorist muslim to travel from Saudi Arabia to the U.S., as it is for a good American to travel from Austin to Wichita. He knows his base believes him and he uses their faith in him to get them to think “dishonest” every time they hear the word Media in the same way he got them to associate Hillary with “Crooked”, and Islam with “Radical.” Goebbels would be proud.
Unless you get distracted
But don’t get distracted or depressed by a vulgar perversion of American ideals, and try not to become too righteous about issues like this one. He wants you to get so consumed with the sizzle he’s creating on the surface that you won’t notice that he’s eating your steak underneath.
He has created imaginary problems like terrorists and Mexican criminals streaming across the borders to get elected and he must now take steps that will allow him to pretend he has fixed them.
This is more about being able to say he implemented the vetting system to keep America safe rather than about keeping all Muslims out—although I’m sure he will severely cap their quotas.
He’s consumed by taking credit for all that is great in America by declaring it crap before he took office, and then after creating much confusion, when the smoke clears he will declare America is great again, and expect his followers to shout. “No Donald. You made America great again. You made America safe again.”
He will win if we keep allowing him to lead us by the sizzle. Keep your focus on the steak; that’s where his is.