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He Is Who We Thought He Was


He Is Who We Thought He Was

Thomas Whitley

I usually like being right.

Not this time.

Ten months ago I wrote about Donald Trump's dangerous nativism, saying that while it had survived in the shadows for a long time, it now looked poised to thrive in the light. Even as prescient as that looks now, I could not fathom what we are seeing today.

By July, I had written that Trump combined "the racialized nationalism of Hitler with the erratic strongman facade of Gaddafi and the opportunism of Mussolini." I have not ceased since then to do what I believe is my duty: point out the dangers that I believe Donald Trump poses - to our country and to the world.

On Friday, Trump signed perhaps his most pernicious executive order yet. The order makes sweeping changes to our country's immigration system by suspending the entire refugee admissions system for 4 months, suspending the Syrian refugee program completely, and banning entry to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries, among other things. The immigration ban also applies to green card holders who are legal permanent residents of the U.S. This is, quite simply, despicable. In the midst of a dire refugee crisis (that the U.S. is at least partially responsible for) - and on Holocaust Remembrance Day, no less - Trump did what he promised all along that he would.

Donald Trump has now said with his actions - as he has said before with his words - that Christian lives are more valuable than Muslim lives. This order will tear families apart. It will send people to their deaths, just as our actions did when we turned away Holocaust refugees. This ban will make our country less safe. But it should not surprise us.

This is who Donald Trump said he was. This is what he promised to do.

Less than a week after the election I wrote that Donald Trump did not deserve the "chance," the blank slate that many were calling for. His past actions simply did not merit it. But I also wrote that he did have a chance - a chance to prove us wrong, a chance to unequivocally denounce autocracy, racism, sexism, and xenophobia. But that was not to be. For Donald Trump is an insecure nativist wannabe autocrat.

I have been inspired by the resistance that has formed so quickly in the wake of Trump's election. I was honored to march with millions of men and women around the world in the Women's March the day after Trump's inauguration. People are beginning to live fully into their role as citizens and fight for what this country can be, what this country should be, what this country must be.

This first week has been exhausting, but this is a fight worth fighting, and it is a fight we must win. Our country, our lives, and our souls depend on it. Let us not grow weary in doing what is right.

Yes, Donald Trump is who we thought he was. But we are better.