ELDER MUSIC: Sweetheart of the Rodeo
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night?

First They Came For the Immigrants...

On Saturday morning, I put the finishing touches on what I thought would be today's post about President Donald Trump's awful first week in office. It began like this:

Does anyone else think it's weird that President Donald Trump shows off his signature to camera every time – every single time! - he signs something? “Look ma, I learned how to write my name.”

Trump Signature

That was meant only to note a minor but strange behavior quirk among so many others this man exhibits as a lead-in to a report on the president's flurry of terrible executive orders last week along with other appalling executive branch events and the ways we, elders, can resist.

Then I tuned in to the news to see that spontaneous crowds of protesters had erupted at dozens of airports around the United States and in a lot of other countries as travelers from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen were detained in the U.S. by border agents.


The authorization for this detention is Trump's Friday executive order (full text) banning immigrants, refugees and even legal green card holders traveling to the U.S. from those seven majority-Muslim countries, as The New York Times reported:

”The president’s order, enacted with the stroke of a pen at 4:42 p.m. Eastern on Friday, suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely and blocked entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries...”

Make no mistake, this is a religious test and there has never before been one in the United States. For god's sake, it is the first founding principle.

At least one federal judge blocked part of Trump's Muslim ban - in particular, ordering that refugees and others detained at U.S. airports not be sent back to their home countries.

People from those seven countries were detained willy-nilly – mothers with children, the sick and infirm, old people.

Lawyers throughout the U.S. rushed to airports, working through Friday night and into Saturday and Sunday to help get the detainees released from custody while numbers of protesters grew as this CNN compilation video shows:

Sunday morning, White House Chief of Staff, Reince Preibus, appeared to roll back the ban on green card holders but then confused the issue when interviewed by Chuck Todd, host of the NBC News program, Meet the Press:

"'We didn't overrule the Department of Homeland Security, as far as green card holders moving forward, it doesn't affect them,' Priebus first said.

“But when pressed by host Chuck Todd on whether it impacts green card holders, Priebus reversed himself, saying, 'Well, of course it does. If you're traveling back and forth, you're going to be subjected to further screening.'

“Asked whether the executive order would affect U.S. citizens, he again indicated it would, suggesting it was up to the 'discretionary authority' of a Customs and Border Patrol agent whether to question citizens coming from the countries in question.”

RB UPDATE SUNDAY EVENING: The White House reversed itself saying that green card holders will henceforth not be affected by the by the Muslim ban.

In addition, CNN reports that Trump said in an interview on Friday

”...that persecuted Christians will be given priority over other refugees seeking to enter the United States, saying they have been 'horribly treated.'

“Speaking with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Trump said that it had been 'impossible, or at least very tough' for Syrian Christians to enter the United States...

“The United States,” the CNN report continues, “admitted a record number of 38,901 Muslim refugees in 2016, according to a study conducted by Pew. But nearly the same number of Christians, 37,521 were also admitted.”

Let me repeat, this Muslim banning executive order is a religious test no matter what Trump and his White House sycophants say and from day one in the United States, there has never been a religious test.

To that point, even Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who lately has sounded like the president's best buddy, had this to say on Sunday:

”In an interview with ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, McConnell said he supports the notion of strengthening the country's process of vetting immigrants for national security, but not the targeting of specific sects.

“'I don't want to criticize them for improving vetting. I think we need to be careful; we don't have religious tests in this country,' the Kentucky senator said on This Week...

“McConnell told Raddatz of the executive order, 'It's hopefully going to be decided in the courts as to whether or not this has gone too far.'”

Could it be that this executive order is at last too much even for the Republican Congress?

Flipping around the dial on Sunday, I heard Virginia senator and former Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine say that his office has been deluged with phone calls from supporters registering their objection to this executive order. At least one other Democratic Congress person said that too.

I report this to remind readers who believe calls to their Democratic representatives are not necessary because those reps are already on the side of the angels.

Well, that's not always so but more importantly, it lights a fire under them when they get lots of calls and it makes an impact when they can say that on television.

So call your representatives whatever party they belong to. Here's an idea: TGB reader Annie Lindsay made me aware of this:


Print it out and tape it to your refrigerator. Or make your own. And if you can get to your airport today to join the protesters, do that too.

If not, the phone calls are good. The women's march and this nationwide outpouring a week later? Something big is happening and we elders need to do our part.

One more thing. Let us not ever forget the famous words of Martin Niemoller, a protestant pastor who spent the last seven years(!) of the Nazi regime in concentration camps:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.


Thank you so much for writing/blogging about our present collective nightmare a.k.a. our political situation and providing concrete ways(eg. the telephone number for Congress)to stand up for what we believe.

I spent most of the weekend convincing myself that this is not the America I was born in to.
Since when did we get so mean-spirited?
Did it begin with 9/11 and is it just now coming to a head?
A wall to keep people from coming in can just as easily become a wall to keep people from leaving.

I posted a similar thought on Facebook several hours after Trump showed his signature to the world and my Facebook feed was inundated by 219 comments buzzing at my phone. Realizing this was more than a distraction, I deleted the post and did what you suggested by writing to my two Senators. In the future, I'm not going to be distracted by the Oval Office. Instead, I'm focusing on the people who know they need my vote and I'm going to avoid the agro that seems to ooze from the ink of Executive Orders.

yup, I've got their number!!! Congress and Senate numbers on a sticky note on my computer.
And thank you, thankyou, for understanding that it's Congress and the Senate who need to be receiving the bulk of our attention.
Here's a chance to REALLY be "old and in the way!"

Clearly the man enjoys "playing President" and showing off his signature on executive orders. "See, I are a big deal. I are prezident. I are signing executive orders!" What a sick, sick man.

Of course this order is religious in nature. It bans Muslims from specific countries, yet admits Christians from the same countries. No way that's NOT religious bias/preference. Besides, he talked for months about banning Muslims if he were elected. Now he's doing it, under the guise of "increased security."

All dictators need a scapegoat to put the blame on for the perceived suffering of the masses. It's a distraction to divert the attention from the evil going on in the dark of night by the administration and the Congress. Hitler used the Jews and Gypsies and Trump is using the Muslims.

Sign up for a web site that follows the legislation going on quietly as the Republicans use this diversion to pass terrible bills. Unfortunately, it isn't just * who is horrible. Or watch C-Span. Be alert and call and write daily.

I wish I could physically protest as this is really getting under the thin skin of our "dear ? leader". He is insane and I predict a melt down that will remove him from office. But he isn't the only one we have to watch. In fact, he may not be the most dangerous. A Congress dead set on taking away the rights we have fought so hard for is treacherous and devious.

We took in the snake it seems.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...". Resist!

Thank you for the post, it is hard to be hit daily with another assault to values I thought were bedrock of America. I have a new appreciation for Naomi Klein's book The Shock Doctrine. I would like to relax and have things go back to "normal" but the risk is too dangerous as it would help to normalize the insanity.

I have signed up for Direct Action with a daily phone call, and Credo Action which has petitions and phone call options. Saturday, I attended the town hall of Senator Jeff MERKLEY who offered a couple of suggestions for how to stay involved. He encouraged people to take on an issue and work on it on a local/state level.

Sadly, your post mirrors my fear.

Every single day, we must let the new administration know we do not support any actions that fly in the face of democracy.

Bruce Cooper -- good point about the wall. I may have to consider developing some pole vaulting skills.

I want to thank commenters here for being such voices of reason. When I read articles online, I try to read at least some of the comments from other readers, when possible, to get a flavor of what people are saying, from all perspectives. But I truly am dismayed to see how much vitriol and ignorance are being expressed now.

The quote at the end of this post should also be printed out and posted for daily review. The coming dark age foreshadowed by the writings of Jane Jacobs and others seems to get closer each day. And there have only been ten of them so far.

Most of my friends spent the weekend at San Francisco Airport demanding release of detained Muslim travelers. From their accounts, the experience was as empowering as the Women's Marches.

I couldn't go as, in addition to other obligations, I was attending a training in preparation for action to hinder and deter the immigration authorities if they start tearing apart families in my neighborhood, as we expect. We're getting ready. There will be suffering among innocent people, workers ...

But probably the most useful resistance I did over the weekend was sit at dinner with about 8 old friends (we've grown old together so far) and talk about survival. Trump has galvanized me into action (dammit, I did so want to step back a bit), but they are just emerging from the mourning and confusion stage. They still needed to talk our situation through. It is a significant action for those of us already mobilized to help friends who might join us work their way into whatever activity suits them best.

Besides, we need each other in this time.

Martin Niemoller's words are filled with sadness and a sense of doom. His suffering was indescribable. We are inching toward the events of the 1930s, and we should be very afraid. What might be different (and might save us) is the relentless flow of information throughout the world—can Trump and his dreadful team stem it?

Just when I thought #45 couldn't shock or disgust me anymore than I already was he did it this weekend. Thank you for, Ronni, for giving us a place to find good information and to vent and for the call to arms, so to speak. We have to resist the craziness going on in this country before we lose the very qualities that what makes us a great country.

We are having a protest at our tiny airport here but it heartens me that even in a remote, rural, conservative town a healthy portion of people show up for these events. Makes me feel a little better. We have to keep it after it's no longer new.

I'm renewing my passport too. While I'm likely to get farther than Canada, I have concerns. I imagine it may become hard to get on a plane without it.

I'm guessing that display of signature is symptomatic of *'s narcissism on display.

........and another thing: everything he says is hyperbole. Dee

I keep resolving to limit my time reading about and dealing with this catastrophe, and try to be normal in spite of it--and it keeps escalating, minute by minute. I learned of the travel ban Saturday morning as I had to leave for the day. Got home and turned on MSNBC just as the order came to stay the ban.

I am both enraged and terrified. Somehow we have to manage to be vigilant and active and at the same time not be totally co opted by this situation. Or maybe we need to be co opted. I don't know. I keep trying to comfort myself with the knowledge that we are a huge country, unlike Germany in the '30's, and everywhere, including in Europe, anti Trump sentiment is being loudly and physically expressed. I noticed today that several Republican senators have outright opposed this ban. I believe this is new.

I just saw on Facebook a video of an eloquent speech given by the Governor of the State of Washington, on the chaos being created by the federal government (AKA Trump) at SEATAC. I don't know his name but you got a live one there. Watching what is going on in your country (I am Canadian) I see a lot of people stepping up their game.

Canada is in shock.

There was a terrorist attack on a Quebec City mosque yesterday.

Shooting, killing.

Who feels safe these days?

*brandishes his signature like a kindergarten student.

* does not give a horse patootie about anyone but himself and cold hard cash. Something is missing in him, something he didn't get as a kid.

Attention? Love?

* tries to fill that empty hole by acquiring and stockpiling material things, by buying people, but the hole just keeps getting bigger.

Nothing can fill the hole.

We will collectively stand up to this bully.

I think what The Orange Apparition is missing can best be described as a conscience--or maybe "humanity". It's extremely difficult or impossible for a true narcissist (which The Orange Apparition personifies in everything he says and does) to have any empathy for or understanding of others. It's ALL about him!

His overriding interest is self-aggrandizement and increasing the flow of approbation and direct benefits to himself. He's surrounded by yes-men (and women) so he thinks everyone who "matters" agrees with him. I hope that the mass demonstrations around the country and the world--physical, written and virtual--will penetrate the awareness of some entity or group with the power and strength to get in his way and slow him down big time.

Unfortunately, I share the concern of other readers about those waiting in the wings, including the Republican members of Congress. Many are right-wing ideologues who practice a brand of Christianity based on the "prosperity gospel"--which is the total opposite of the original teachings of their faith.

Can the Canadian be called a "Christian Extremist" terror attack?

I also read the comments on some of the articles. The hate and vitriol is beyond amazing. One thread got long into an argument on who is a "real Christian". Remember that there are many strains of Christianity that have different [but all valid] viewpoints. Right now it seems there is a specific Christian viewpoint driving much of this.

If we are not careful we can expand Martin Niemoller's saying...
[substitute "silenced" in place of "they came for" as it is pretty much the same thing]
Then they came for the Methodists and I did not speak out - because I was not a Methodist
Then they came for the Lutherans...
Then they came for the Catholics...
Then they came for the Baptists...
Then they came for the poor
Then they came for people of color
Then they came for anybody who spoke out...
Then America became "great" again.

Not so much Christian extremist, Bob. The gunman was apparently a fan of Trump for racist, not religious, reasons.

And in Quebec, the resentment of Muslims as alien invaders is overlaid with Quebec nationalism. It's complicated, but if you need one word, xenophobia is probably the best one.

Ah, his signature! It's so Huuuge! It is hard to tell the actual size of the letters, but when he displays it for all to fawn over, it so bigly impressive! A very sick man!

Even more distressing are the supporters who think he is doing great things! Most of us were raised with these people. How or when did they become so hateful and selfish? And yet they call themselves Christians. Their comments do not show any recognition for how truly sick he is. Has the heartland been sprayed with an airborne toxic agent? And what of the congressional individuals who say they are against a certain action and then rollover and sign on?

Sorry, just venting I guess as it is late in the day as I read your column. Thanks, Ronni.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)