Don’t Ban Love

I have been in a bad mood all day. Just ask the kids. Cupboards have been slammed, “Shit,” muttered under my breath as I’ve mostly accidentally kicked a laundry basket over, clean clothes tumbling out onto a less than clean floor, and I’ve thought about chucking my laptop across the room in frustration. Frustration from a social media feed chock full of the most disarmingly awful stories of children separated from their parents for hours at a time, students unable to return to their universities, and families who have been waiting far too long for a safe haven and have been refused just as they came to the threshold.

I don’t really write about political or controversial topics (though this shouldn’t even be controversial), but I can’t not write about this. This thing that is preventing men and women and children from entering our country because of their religion. This thing that, if I didn’t know it was happening in my own country, I might think was occurring in one of the countries of which we’re supposed to be so afraid.

I have a question for our president and for those who support what is happening at this very moment: How do you ban a human being? How do you look at a family who has likely spent the better part of the last decade living in fear of the very terrorists we claim to be fighting, who did everything they were told to do in order to be able to not only leave their home and everything they’ve ever known, but to make sure they were “vetted” to enter our country, a process that is thorough, intrusive, and nerve-wracking, and say to them, “No, you’re not allowed. No, we don’t want you.”

How do you say you support our troops when you will deny safety to men and women who helped protect and translate for them for the last sixteen years? Our men and women in uniform are worthy of every last scrap of goodness and help we can give them…as are the men and women who helped them do their jobs when they served in Iraq and Afghanistan. And yet, we are telling these brave translators, “You saved the lives of American soldiers, but you might be a terrorist, because, you know, Islam.”

How do you keep good, law-abiding people from returning to their homes or their schools after they have left to visit family, take a vacation, or any other myriad of innocuous reasons one might have to take an international trip, with the reasonable expectation they would be able to return home? We are making people who have done us no harm, who are crucial to the fabric of our nation, feel less than, unwelcome, and unsafe. What kind of country are we if we do that other human beings? To our neighbors, coworkers, or friends?

I understand that we live in a time that can feel uncertain and frightening. Our nation has faced times such as these before and will again in the future. The goal, however, should not be to give into that fear, but to show strength and courage. This is what every American has been taught, what I have always believed about my country. We are brave and we are unafraid and we do what is right for Americans and our friends, regardless of race, religion, or country of origin.

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