Ugandan Diaspora | Editorial | February 2017 | The Hypocrisy Of Trump’s Travel Ban
Greetings and Welcome to February — Black History Month.
After just a couple of weeks in office President Trump has been true to his promise to shake things up, issuing executive orders whose ripple effects are bound to be felt across the globe.
In a pure departure from Obama’s appeasement policy, Trump is pandering to his conservative base which he knows won him the election and brought him to the White House. The latest political victory for the conservatives has come in form of the Supreme Court nomination that some see will be a compromise pick following the death of Justice Scalia last February. It largely expected that many of Trump’s nominees will be filibustered by the Democrats as a way to frustrate Trump but the Republican majority is expected to confirm many of these appointments.
While running for office Trump promised to “drain the swamp” but his appointments for Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of Education (as yet unconfirmed) have all been billionaires that have spent huge sums in support of Republicans.
Here are some facts that will help those following American politics to appreciate the issues behind the news. Rarely has a party been able to hold on to the White House following a two-terms presidency. This feat has only been accomplished once since 1950, when George H.W. Bush succeeded the highly popular Ronald Reagan in 1988.
In 2008 Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States, perhaps the most liberal President of modern times, after defeating Sen. John McCain. After what some felt was a tumultuous two terms for Bush 43 Americans were prepared for change. President Obama’s presidency came with some major policy changes that included greater rights for the LGBT movement. With Obama’s liberal agenda came consternation by the opposition over some of his policies on guns and healthcare. The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare has seen more than 20 million Americans get insured. However most Republicans seem determined to revoke this and fulfill a major campaign promise by President Trump.
The recent executive order on immigration put President Trump on a collision course with the Acting Attorney General and career diplomats in the State Department, some of who have now quit. Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, appointed under Obama, was fired for refusing to implement the presidential ordinance and many immigration rights groups are up in arms over these anti-immigration policies.
The travel ban to the US for nationals of 7 Muslim countries appears to arise from recent terrorist massacres in Europe. Such incidents also helped to sway the Brexit vote and their effect has spread to the North America. A tweet by Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau urging those rejected by the US to come to Canada, a country that derives its strength from diversity, was answered with a shooting at a Quebec City mosque.
For some the immigration ban seems a contradiction, coming as it does from a man who has had two foreigners for wives. Social media sites and other forums have pointed to the fact that the majority of the 9/11 terrorists came from madrasas in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan yet those countries, notable as breeding grounds for terrorism, are not included in Trump’s travel ban. But in breaking news as of February 4, a federal judge in Seattle has placed a has placed a temporary hold on the ban, marking the third time that a federal judge has interceded in the matter in less than a week.
Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the US border with Mexico and finance it with a 20% tax on imports from that country has created a fierce backlash that could degenerate into a trade war and even lead to an economic slump. Canada and Mexico as two of the top three US trading partners, ahead of the European Union, and many of the jobs in the US that pay a low wage, e.g., picking and processing fruit and janitorial work, are done by minorities and immigrants. Although President Trump pushes for Made in America his Trump fashion brand and that of his daughter Ivanka have been largely Made in China.
America is still coming to terms with all the changes that have dominated the first two weeks of the Trump Presidency. With the nomination to elevate 49-year-old conservative Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, Trump, if the nomination is approved, would be fulfilling a major election promise sure to please many evangelicals, pro-lifers, pro gun rights and anti-LGBT supporters as such a new Supreme Court Justice will end the deadlock that has seen the Court evenly split on some issues following the vacancy left by the death of Justice Scalia.
Obama’s nominee for the vacant seat was never confirmed but with the Republicans controlling the White House, Congress and the Senate a confirmation for Gursuch would deal a bitter blow to the Democrats, who are still regrouping after the DNC Wikileaks scandals and Hillary’s defeat. A more Republican-aligned Supreme Court will also mean that some cases could be appealed to reverse previous rulings.
And so as we ride this wave of the Trump Presidency over the next four years we await to see the real impact of his decrees that are largely meant to appeal to his base of supporters and perhaps win him another term in the White House. A large part of the electorate however is fearful of Trump and his advisors in the West Wing. His lack of diplomacy and run-ins with world leaders has many on edge, as they feel that the leader of the free world is not living up to the standard befitting the POTUS.
Only time will tell if the radical views and the constituency driving the Trump presidency will be sustainable beyond the usual Fox News paranoia. Some have said Obama’s shoes would be hard to fill but it looks like Trump came to town with a new approach. Among other things, he is trying to shake up things in an attempt to impose term limits on Congress. Let’s buckle up for an era that is bound to be riddled with controversy and could change America forever.
As for the Dems, it remains to be seen if they can deliver a midterm shellacking to the Republicans that will slow or stop Trump’s momentum. With issues of race relations, immigration, healthcare, gun control and violence still looming Democrats will need some redemption and a new leader to steer the ship now that minority leader Nancy Pelosi looks more like a leader whose season has passed.
Turning to things back home, Uganda has a new list of ambassadors featuring the usual familiar political appointees whose political fortunes have diminished. Many career diplomats have largely been phased out in favor of cadres that support the regime, too often not qualified to serve as ambassadors. The time has come for the Uganda Parliament to reassess the impact and individual contributions of each of the previous ambassadors. We have continually been short-changed by these appointments, few of which help sell our image or result in tangible business opportunities for the Ugandan people.
Finally, wishing all my people a Happy Black History Month!
“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” — Booker T. Washington
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