Last weekend we were hit with a new Executive Order from the POTUS on immigration. The world went instantly mad. I have to say, I went right along with it and I want to talk about why. As the mother of an immigrant (calling all you international adoptive parents - despite some of your views, our children are immigrants), I quickly saw the possibilities, especially in regards to the current POTUS and his chief advisor, a man known for promoting white dominance. So, I began to do what I always do - read, research, think, repeat. I read both liberal and conservative news, go directly to the source (in this case the Executive Order and laws on immigration) and then drew my own conclusions.
My disclaimer is that this blog post is a blend of facts, opinion and speculation. And before reading on there are 4 things you should know.
1. I am not in favor of completely open borders. Nor do I believe we can solve the problems of the world by allowing all people to migrate to our soil. I do support our current system of visa issuance, vetting of immigration, etc. I do not have a good solution for our Southern borders. We currently have a wall going across part of the US, officers, drones, etc. and folks still get in. We will never completely eradicate illegal immigration or the threat of violence. It's a pipe dream.
2. I do feel that any current undocumented immigrants without a criminal record should be issued a permanent work visa or given legal resident status. We have turned our head to these folks for years as we KNOW we are dependent on them for a significant portion of our economy. Why not give them a legal or documented status?
3. I do support undocumented folks with criminal records (felony) being deported.
4. "Dreamers" or people who were brought to the US by their parents under the age of 17 should be given citizenship - immediately.
So, let's talk about borders. I want to say again - I am NOT in favor of open borders. To many who know me that only confirms your opinion that I am the most conservative person you know, right? Well, I am a moderate and if that makes me more conservative than you, so be it. Moving on. Most developed countries do not have open borders. If they did, you would not need a passport or need to file for a Visa to travel abroad. Have you ever been to Switzerland? I have. Guess what. Armed guards. Who check passports. And, not just at borders. Let's talk about Canada. Did you know that if you are US citizen with a DUI on their record, you are refused entry into Canada? What about Saudi Arabia? Guess what? Visas for tourism do not exist. And, if you are a woman traveling alone, forget it! So, before we lose our minds, let's think about what entry into other countries looks like and how easy it is to move from country to country (legally) and what other laws are in place to protect that country from terrorism or smuggling or culture or.....
Do you know about the Visa Waiver Program or the VWP as it is called? Did President Obama also ban the same folks being banned by the new POTUS? Technically, no. Did Obama work with the Department of Homeland Security to create intensified screening in regards to the 7 countries listed on the Executive Order? Yes. It is apparent that the U.S. Government knows something I don't making the threat of nationals from these countries since 2011 a heightened risk due to the number of folks who are taking boot camp sessions in the Middle East with ISIS. The VWP is a program that allows folks from certain countries to travel into the US for business or vacation without a visa. Most countries seem to have these reciprocal programs (which is mentioned in the EO). These countries banned are no longer allowed to participate in that program and now need a Visa to enter the US and this happened under President Obama. The current POTUS took this a step further and banned those same countries. When he did that he overstepped the bounds of his authority and stepped into Constitutional la-la land where he is the supreme ruler. Thankfully, checks and balances were set up and he has gotten a big fat slap on the wrist.
With these things said, I want to get to the point of why the Executive Order issued last week was a problem. I want to give you the FACTS and not the hysteria or memes or headlines. Let's first talk about whether or not the EO was within the bounds of the Constitution. It was not. Do you know why? In 1965 the Hart-Cellar act abolished nation of origin restrictions on immigration. Period. It amended immigration priorities and made it illegal for immigrants to be discriminated against based on where they were born. The POTUS references the Immigrant and Nationality Act of 1952 in its authority to issue this travel ban, but in actuality, a later law (1965) made his act of banning based on nationality illegal.
The numbers vary greatly depending on what you read. The POTUS team says a few hundred were impacted by the order, which other numbers make them to be around 90,000. It is very vague as to whether that 90,000 is the number that will be affected during the 90-day ban or where this number comes from. What else was vague? Well, pretty much all of it, my primary concerns were initial decisions to turn away US CITIZENS and green card holders. A friend of mine said, they'll be vetted. Guess what? They've already been vetted. Over and over and over again. I have several friends whose spouses are from foreign countries, including the Middle East and the vetting was intense, and long and scary. Please explain what additional vetting needed to happen.
Now, what about legality? I have recently seen several memes saying "no one is illegal". Well, they are as there are laws around how you enter a country, so if someone has not followed those laws they are here illegally. Period. There are many illegal immigrants in the US. Some say around 11 million. And, despite what those who are anti-immigrant would lead you to believe, they are not all Mexican. They are European and Israeli, and Middle Eastern and Chinese and a host of everything in between. Many came into the US on travel Visas and just sort of forgot to go home. I want to stress that my OPINION is the government should make these folks legal residents or at the very least issue a permanent work visa, UNLESS they have a felony or DUI's, in which case they should exit immediately.
Why do I care? With my views on the borders and as I do not support completely "open" borders, what makes this different and why am I opposed to this "ban"?
1. This was a knee-jerk reaction which I have no doubt was proposed by the Emperor - Senator Palpatine himself - Bannon - and did not take into account EXISTING LAWS. We are entering dangerous waters with Republicans - dangerous Republicans - in charge of both houses and the WH not to mention state level governments who are riding the line of Constitutionality each day with new laws which seek to undermine checks and balances.
2. There was no plan for implementation in US airports and essentially no notice at any other airports meaning many people were stranded in places. Is it tragic? No, it happens in international travel but there was little thought put into this plan.
3. This not only banned folks with travel visas but our OWN citizens, already vetted as well as immigrants given entry due to their roles in fighting alongside the US in Iraq.
4. Some of those affected were families bringing small children into the US for life-saving surgeries. That may mean NOTHING to you. But, for me, the mom of a child born with a cleft lip and palate and knowing that coming into the US has meant greater access to medical care for her means something to me.
5. It could be my family. I know. I'm jumping to conclusions. But, what happens if the current POTUS tweets some assinine thing about China, makes them public enemy number 1 and we are out of the country unable to get back in with our kid who was not born in the US.
6. Had any thought been put into this, my guess is that somewhere there is a law that allows the POTUS or DHS to slow down travel from those countries or limit the number of visas issues from those countries. Instead of a blanket ban, they should have begun here. And, instead of LYING and saying that President Obama did the same thing, they could have explained the VWP of 2015 and how there is indication that these countries pose additional threats and that the issuing of visas from these countries may slow.
What is amazing to me is that through all of this, Twitter continues to be the primary mode of our POTUS's communication to the people and he has attacked our checks and balances system that we were all taught as children. "The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!" (@realDonaldTrump)
For now, I will continue to read and think and research and repeat. I will speak out against what has become an international circus (did we have bring everyone else into our crazy) and I will use my mind to form my own opinions about right and wrong. Regardless of what side of the aisle you sit on, I hope you will as well.
It's been a rough week. I'm not going to lie. I think I knew why lay before me when I walked into the voting booth on Tuesday. Since then, I have read, watched, cried, been dazed and worried. I have heard horrific things said and done by folks on two sides of a divided line. And, now, I pick up a sword, a pen and paper, okay, keyboard and screen and I write.
What you need to know before you read this blog post:
1. I voted for Hilary Rodham Clinton.
2. I didn't want to.
3. I have NEVER voted Republican in a presidential election, though I vote all over the place in state and local elections, voting my conscious, which all should do. In the 7 presidential elections I have voted in, 5 votes were cast for Democrats, 2 Third-Party.
4. Racism and sexism are alive in America, but they are not the ENTIRE reason HRC lost. This blog post is an indictment of the party and an analysis of what went wrong.
5. The Democrat party is in sore need of navel-gazing and self-reflection.
6. I have never backed down from a fight. I will fight against injustice whether it is at the hands of liberals or conservatives and you should too.
7. After this post, I will be blogging regularly about the world, how we need to love one another AND fight for justice - you can do both. Live by example, not by hate.
Over the last few months, like you, I have had several conversations with folks about the election. Truthfully, most of my friends and many family were fervent Bernie Sanders supporters, though I have many who supported HRC and HWMNBN. (Donald Trump is forever known to me by these initials. If you do not know what this means, ask a Harry Potter fan.) I remember speaking to a family member in my kitchen and being asked who I would vote for. Hilary Clinton. She was a Sanders supporter and was in disbelief that I would choose her, for many reasons. My response was, "Sanders will never allowed to be the candidate. It's not his turn. The DNC will do whatever it can to put HRC in that place." My words proved true. Below are highlighted and explained for those of you who do not understand or for those who believe that HRC lost solely due to her gender, how this election was lost. (Watch for another post next week about the post-election conversation with the aid to my Congressman and prepared to be shocked about the apathy expressed to me.)
Here we go. The Top 5 Reasons the Democrats lost the HOUSE, SENATE AND PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, outside of the obvious mobilization of angry white-men and women who voted due to racist rhetoric (which is the reason that regardless of how I felt about HRC, I HAD to vote for her).
1. Trade and the Union Vote. I come from an anti-union Southern manufacturing family. My father was in manufacturing. My sisters, both at one time or another, their husbands, some of their children, my brother....many of my cousins.... If you ask anyone who has any association with manufacturing, you will know two things. Number one is Unions vote Democrat and number two is that over the last 20 years, the US has lost approximately 5 million manufacturing jobs. Truthfully, that is due to a myriad of reasons but, the number one reason is current trade laws and fewer incentives being offered (you may not like incentives, but they keep jobs here) to factories who are moving factories over the border so they can pay $3.00 per hour vs. $20.00 per hour. For those men and women who went from a nice $55,000 per year job to minimum wage (and yes, I know some of those folks, remember, I come from a manufacturing family), the reasons are moot if they cannot live at the standard they were accustomed.
The Democratic party has long secured the Union vote in this country. Unions, be it trade, education, postal, vote Democrat. It's just a fact. Individuals may swing, but as a whole, they vote Democrat. Not this time. You can say it is due to HRC's gender, but I cry foul on that.
HRC supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Yes, I know, she back-tracked, but only later. She initially said, "This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field...." Google her stance on this agreement and you will see that it was not until Bernie Sanders spoke against the issue and she saw the groundswell support of his policies within her own party that she changed her stance.
I promise you, no one cares about your gender if they went from a $25 hour paying manufacturing job to saying "May I take your order" at $8 an hour. This is about basic needs and survival, not gender. If you are an intellectual in an affluent neighborhood, you can be angry or attempt to explain this away as an "ism". I KNOW these people. They are my tribe and you are simply wrong. If you want to read more on this, The Daily Beast and NYTimes both wrote great articles on this issue. Finally, it is my belief that this demographic, among a couple of others, is where the DNC showed over-confidence and an assumption regarding the vote. This, my friends, is a theme through this election.
2. The Minority Vote. The fact: HRC lost approximately 6% African American voters that Obama received in his last election while Trump gained 2%. The Latino vote looks similar. Were these losses and gains enough to make a difference? Apparently. There are 225,000,000 people in the US eligible to vote. Approximately 131,000,000 cast their vote which made for a 20-YEAR LOW. Are you kidding? The most polarizing vote in American history and this is what we get? And, if the US Elections Project website is correct, African-Americans and Latinos were among those who simply stayed home. Not only did they stay home, some voted for HWMNBN. Did that make your head spin? If you don't believe me, read this article from the Washington Post. It's not the only one. (Read more.)
This morning I came across a fantastic article from PBS on why many African-Americans did not vote for HRC, which leads me to state that the DNC is out of touch with its base - overconfidence plagues this party with not enough on the ground outreach and lots of lip-service as well as tremendous polarizing speech in their own right.
And, among my LGBT friends, I would say some of those trends hold. I spoke with a relative in a same-sex marriage who didn't vote as she didn't really feel it would affect her. Once I sent a few links on Mike Pence's stance on her marriage, she suddenly found herself in a situation of true regret for not casting her vote.
So, to the DNC, I say again, a little more navel-gazing and a little less finger pointing would benefit you.
3. The DNC, Debbie Wasserman Shultz and Donna Brazile. I could probably just leave this title right where it is, but I'll spell it out if you are unsure what I am talking about.
Let's talk about the emails. In APRIL OF 2016...APRIL....Wasserman was already staging the end of Sanders campaign. You can be angry about racism or say that Clinton lost due to sexism, but I know MANY Democrats who refused to vote for her and some even refused to vote. She may not have colluded with the Clinton campaign There are many reports that the Clintons and President Obama wanted her out months before due to the damage they saw her causing the party. The fact remains that the Clinton campaign gave her an "honorary" position in exchange for her leaving peacefully which, quite frankly, was damaging as it was apparent that Wasserman was manipulating the primary in every way possible. Even the most liberal of news sources, the Huffington Post, didn't understand the lack of outrage over this series of events.
Even her own kind are turning on her and she faces a dismal return to D.C.
Furthermore, Sanders supporters were ill-treated at the DNC, and then everyone just moved on, supporting HRC and the DNC like none of it happened. What?
4. The Clinton Foundation and foreign donations. This sort of thing is not just fodder for conservatives. When speaking to many Sanders supporters, this is one of the examples of why they refused to vote for HRC. And, the questions were presented by enough "liberal" media sources, that to ignore them is absurd.
The charges: The Clintons received foreign donations to their Foundation, circumventing a rule preventing politicians from actually receiving this type of money, in exchange for access to the State department allowing foreign parties to influence US policies. As one conservative news source said, "Even the Salon said this is a problem." Regardless of whether or not this happened (the donations did happen, btw), it is a PERCEIVED, if not actual, conflict of interest if one of the foundation members is the US Secretary of State which left a bad taste in people's mouths and in my opinion, caused voters to stay home.
5. Benghazi and the Military. First of all, I believe most of the news about Benghazi to be inflammatory and a distorted view of the facts. This link gives what I believe to be the most accurate and balanced view of what really happened. Regardless, many view Clinton as a wildly ineffective SOS and her move from First Lady, to Senator, to SOS and then to potentially a President to be a highlight of the need for change in Washington. But, to be fair, I am so uneducated on this particular topic, that I cannot speak with any certainty on this issue.
What I do know is this. Much to my surprise, many of of my friends in the military and military wives, who typically vote Republican, were Bernie Sanders supporters and either did not vote, voted third party or voted Trump in this election. The perception on Benghazi was instrumental in destroying HRC's election.
For the record, HWMNBN, wants to do away with the GI Bill. If you are a military person or vet, get ready, he may not be in your corner.
So, with all of these things, I still ask the question, how did HWMNBN win this election? I'll be writing about this more, but I will say this. I TRULY believe that most of his supporters voted due to economics and foreign policy. Even one of my most LEFTIST leaning relatives keeps asking, "how do we take care of the world when our neighbors are suffering?" She is not alone in this question. In the future, I'll be writing about:
Final thoughts: I do NOT deny racism. I do not deny sexism. And, I am appalled at the people using the rhetoric of the campaign to do ill in this nation. But, I want each of you that is angry and in disbelief to know that if you believe that this election was lost SOLELY based on racism or sexism, that you are part of the problem. Hold the DNC as well as the GOP accountable. And, hold yourself accountable. If you do not and simply protest, destroy property, wring your hands, then your time is wasted.
If this post removes me from the Pantsuit Nation, so be it. But, it is time to take a hard look at who we are, what we stand for and how we can truly effect change beyond checking the box simply because it has the a certain letter next to it.
#imwithher #pantsuitnation #bethechange
The past few weeks I've been busy building my new website, migrating my blog, meeting the needs of new customers that are using my services and living life in all other
respects. I, like many others, ran into a brick wall last Friday in the wake of the ISIS attacks on Paris following a series of other attacks around the globe including Beirut and a Russian airliner. It was Friday night and I was taking the Sun and two of his friends to a dinner and bonfire held by one of their prospective high schools. We had just dropped the Moon at the gym and I checked my texts before we got back on the road. My circle of moms texting support group had been frantically texting about the attack. I quickly turned on NPR, hushed the boys and for the next 30 minutes listened to reports while on the road.
My own feelings toward what is happening in the world and how we should handle it are quite mixed. Recent attacks combined with friends working in some of the Tennessee's Muslim immigrant community sharing alarming stories with me bring so many concerns to mind that I cannot even sort through the competing thoughts and feelings that I have. But, in the midst of it all is the knowledge that some of our friends are Muslim. In fact, one of my closest friends - an American by birth, is Muslim and her children are among my children's BFF's. Not only are they close friends, they are the only family outside of our own family that we will allow our daughter to stay overnight with and at one time that was also true for our son.
Knowing what I know of this family, I cannot condemn them or associate them with extremist attacks happening. They are not refugees. But, they are representative of many millions of Muslims who do not stand with extremists. I don't know that my own internal struggle will end anytime soon, but I do know that many Muslims do not stand with ISIS. I hope you know it too.
Here are links to more news stories on Muslims who stand for peace:
I’m Dana Croy and I am a modern day mama. Balancing family and work is not always easy (not to mention a little self-care). Though being Mama to two fantastic kiddos is a huge part of my life, that was not always the case. I wear many other hats and invite to sit down and find harmony with me.