Executive orders cause fear instead of uniting country, inspiring future leaders

February 07, 2017

Hannah Harvey

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     “What we need now is faith, hope and love.”

     I read these words in a text sent to me by a close friend this weekend after President Donald Trump’s immigration ban flooded news outlets and social media timelines.

     My friend, a global politics major, sent me these words to inspire hope in a time of darkness. Ironic, I know, as it seems that everyone who looks at the Trump administration with fear feels helpless.

     And rightfully so.

     The executive order signed by Trump on Jan. 28 bans citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Syria from entering the country for 90 days. Syrian refugees have been barred indefinitely.

     Visitors, students, new immigrants and refugees are banned, while green card holders and special immigrants will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, according to the New York Times.

     At UCCS, 20 international students could be impacted by the order, as reported by the Gazette this week. But nationally, 16,000 students who currently study at American colleges and universities are impacted by the ban, according to Fortune Magazine.

     Trump has claimed that the order, which some have referred to as a thinly-veiled “Muslim ban,” is necessary to prevent “bad dudes” from entering the country.

     “If the ban were announced with a one week notice, the ‘bad’ would rush into our country during that week. A lot of bad ‘dudes’ out there!” said the President in a tweet.

     While Trump claims that he and his administration are attempting to protect our nation, what they are truly doing is pushing the idea of otherness to incite fear in our nation.

     This is dividing us more, and will ultimately influence how our future leaders – us as college students – lead this country one day. This will either be good or bad.

     As a country, there is a need to protect ourselves from those who wish to cause us harm. But at what point do we realize that xenophobic ideals defend the idea of “the other” and only alienates us from each other as both a domestic and international community?

     According to the University of Wisconsin, otherness is used to describe the way “people tend to view others that are dissimilar and separated.” The other is dehumanized, treated as an object, separated, differentiated and simplifi ed.

     “Only the dominant group has the power to be active and affect things,” said the University of Wisconsin report.

     Unfortunately, this is the rhetoric that is being pushed on our nation. While terrorism is a concern that should be taken seriously and fought against vigorously, we are going about it in the wrong way by demonizing an entire religion and a group of people who do not deserve it.

     We are separating those immigrants from these seven countries who come to America for a better life and are reducing their humanity out of fear and misunderstanding. And that, quite frankly, is incredibly wrong.

     The Trump administration still attempts to inspire fear in us. See Kellyanne Conway’s recent blunder in making up a terrorist attack in Bowling Green, Ky., to justify the ban.

     I understand the need to tighten security and borders to protect our country. What I don’t understand is the heartless way our administration is doing so.

     We have failed as a country, and our leaders failed to consider compassion and human decency when looking at immigration and refugee crises.

     Trump’s policies and the actions of his administration alarm many, and they should.

     The president is moving our nation toward a culture of fear and uncertainty. No longer do we think critically about what is being presented to us; instead, we make decisions out of fear.

     As college students in an environment where this way of thinking is discouraged, this is unacceptable. We are taught to believe that our superiors will take care of us and guide us in the right direction. This is not happening, and it will impact how we lead this country one day.

     Trump is pushing a fear-mongering agenda that will ultimately impact the current students who will participate in the country’s future politics either as leaders or those who wish to make a change.

     As the future leaders of this country, we cannot stand for policies and actions from this administration that justify fear and hate.

     We must reach out to one another and understand instead of push each other away. We can either give in and lead out of fear, or look at the current state of the nation and be inspired to be compassionate, caring and empathetic to those who move here for a better life.

     While we have no power over Trump’s decision to sign an executive order, we do have the power to band together and resist.

     Organize locally. Call you local legislators. Stay updated on what you read, and remember to think critically about what is reported and who is behind it.

     Fight the fear being continuously pushed on our generation by having faith and hope in the leaders of the next generation – us.

     We can ultimately turn the hateful rhetoric and harmful agendas that are pushed on us around. I know that I will fight to lead in a compassionate way. I, along with those I care for, will fight the fear and stand strong.

     And I hope you will too.