Muslim Ban and Panic Explained

Hi Internet People,

This past weekend our president signed an executive order titled, PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES,”¬†or as many have referred to it, the Muslim Ban. Online I saw that within the messages of protest and disgust at this order that there were mentions of something from the previous administration. As someone who spent all of my collegiate years researching, the one benefit of two history degrees is that I am very comfortable hunting for information online, I tracked down just what it was that people were talking about.

Yes, in 2015 there was a piece of legislation that passed known as the “Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015.” This document does mention Iraq and Syria, which are specified in the above titled executive order, but it is very important to note that the Act of 2015 was not an executive order and does not list all 7 countries. It passed through both the House of Representative and the Senate, following the proper channels of a Bill and thus was enacted. This meant that the president in 2015 did not put in place any sort of ban or restriction of his own volition. I also researched the apparent stop on visas that took place in 2011. According to all sources I could find there was a slow down and it is possible visas were not granted, but no official executive order was filed. I looked through all the registered executive orders I could find from the entire term of that presidency and while those countries are mentioned, there is no specific visa ban order within the orders.

The reason that the media and a number of people within the United States are concerned about this ban is that it was done by executive order. There was no time to prepare or explain the procedures to those who would be expected to implement it. The wording was also vague enough to cause issues for legal green card holders and those already granted legal access to the country. In drafting an executive order, or really any form of legal and governmental writing, it is important to be clear so as to not cause confusion for the general public.

Let’s say you’re the president, go you getting to live in the White House. During your first week you decide that you no longer want the United States to import goods from Australia. You write an executive order and because you are the president it becomes law. Now you’re a busy person you can’t know everything. It turns out that the US has previously agreed to take 300 hats from Australia. These hats arrive by boat and suddenly the port authority is faced with a dilemma. Now these hats were expected to come into the country, legally they have all the proper documentation, but based on the order passed that day technically they can’t come into the country. People have to be called, documents have to be checked, and after hours, even days, someone has to do something with those hats. While this is a rather simplistic example, the idea is that if the executive order had been clearer and stated that already verified shipments of hats from Australia could enter the US then time would have been saved and the hats wouldn’t have had to sit at the port this entire time. Again, hats aren’t people, but I thought I’d use something high school textbook level example wise.

The point of all of this is to say that while yes, there was legislation in 2015 that highlighted two of the countries from the executive order in 2017, that legislation was not enacted solely by the president. The concern is that such orders will lead to sweeping changes in US legislation with no input from Congress. The other point is that when executive orders are passed it is crucial that they be written in a way that does not cause unnecessary confusion or lead to scrambling on the part of government employees to understand what they are expected to do. So instead of saying that the executive order is the same as something from the previous administration take into consideration that executive orders carry a much different perspective than edited bills that passed through the legislature.

Talk to you tomorrow,

Katherine

I Have Given Up Hope

Hi Internet People,

There has been a new person in the big house and within the span of time he’s been there everything feels awful. I’ve been exhausted for days and things just seem to be getting worse. I tried to hold out and believe that other people in power would try to combat what is going on, but you know what they haven’t. There are citizens trying to fight back, but no matter how many marches, rallies, campaigns, and literally any attempts to show the country is upset with the choices being made no one seems to care.

I thought there was at least a modicum of human feeling in the party in power, but apparently as long as they get what they want they don’t care what happens to anyone else. The most recent executive order has caused turmoil, despair, and taken back safety that was promised to people. There were people who were guaranteed legal entry into our country for a variety of reasons and we pulled that away with no warning. At this rate it feels like it doesn’t matter what any of us do because the people in power have stopped caring. They are solely focused on themselves and that’s it. My family told me I should try and do more instead of just rant in my house, but I just feel so useless. I have no faith in the government. It doesn’t help that every time I try to be positive that the people can fix things, I just imagine so many moments when attempts to stop a corrupt government were thwarted or met with violent suppression. I never should have taken that revolutions class in college.

Talk to you tomorrow,

Katherine

My Concerns with the Pro-Choice/Pro-Life Division

Hi Internet People,

I did warn you that following the inauguration that some of my posts might get political. On Saturday while I was following the events of the Women’s March I became aware that there had been issues between Pro-Life marchers and others who were marching. Now I will say that having Pro-Life organizations removed from the organizing board probably inflamed issues, but at no point were these people told they could not march. The Women’s March was open to everyone who wished to be involved in a peaceful protest. Now what I read stated that things were peaceful until some Pro-Life groups separated from the march and began yelling at the marchers themselves. I was not there, I do not know exactly what happened, only what I read online. Those that were interviewed by Buzzfeed stated that they did not see themselves as counter-protesters, but their behavior does sound remarkably like counter-protesting.

When I was growing up while my parents did not expressly discuss their political and personal beliefs, I did attend Catholic school for a period of time, I went to Catholic church, and I even briefly went to a Catholic youth group. The Catholic Church has always been Pro-Life and I listened to them talk about it periodically every year. When I was in 8th grade I went to the teen youth group and one week I went happened to fall during the week where the Church focused on Pro-Life topics. That night I was given a piece of paper, pen, and told to write a letter to my mother to thank her for choosing to go through with her pregnancy. Yes, they wanted me to write a thank you for not aborting me letter. I was immediately shocked because I had talked to my parents about them having me before. They were trying to have a baby, I was not some sort of unplanned occurrence. I was literally a planned event, they wanted to have me, there was never a moment where they had ever thought of not having me. I refused to write the letter and sat quietly in the Church doodling on the paper and just waiting for the event to be over. When my mom picked me up I immediately began venting about the night and she looked very concerned. Not because I had not written the letter, but because she felt it was inappropriate to have my youth group equate all pregnancies with the choice to not have an abortion.

What I have struggled to understand my entire life is why Pro-Life movements are so divided from the Pro-Choice movement. Pro-Choice is not inherently pro-abortion, which is not the message you receive in Pro-Life institutions such as the Church. Pro-Choice is always equated with a woman having an abortion. That isn’t the case. Pro-Choice is just allowing a woman, or anyone who can carry a child, to be able to make decisions about their reproductive health. They are saying if you want to have a baby, have a baby and if you don’t, you have the option to make that choice yourself. Pro-Life is actually within the umbrella of what Pro-Choice stands for. When I hear Pro-Life movements arguing to defund Planned Parenthood or make abortion illegal I am concerned that they don’t grasp what this will do to society.

First Planned Parenthood is not a purveyor of abortions. They provide healthcare and medical services, one of which happens to be the ability to have an abortion. You can find a legal and safe way to get an abortion at a number of clinics, which are not Planned Parenthood in every state. You can also get go to your obstetrician, or any obstetrician and ask for one. While in the United States they may not perform the surgery, they are still legally a person who can provide you with the service. Second, making abortions illegal will not suddenly stop them from happening. Abortions have always taken place, they were just done illegally and dangerously. Women drank poisonous chemicals, had coathangers inserted inside of them, and I’m sure there are a number of ways I don’t know about. These actions are dangerous, but should abortion be made illegal they would happen again. If you need an example think of Prohibition. Alcohol was illegal, but people still drank it. We even glamorize the illegal speakeasys now.

What I’m saying is that the Pro-Choice ¬†movement is not anti-birth nor is it forcing women to have abortions. It is just for giving women, or those who need access to resources connected to reproduction, options and providing them safe and legal spaces to use them.

Talk to ya tomorrow,

Katherine