Why Protest?

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There seems to be the implication that people are overreacting while the President goes about business as usual.

That former presidents did similar and people are reacting simply because they’ve been duped by the media.

That’s not why people are upset.

People aren’t angry about safety. People aren’t protesting so that criminals will go unpunished.

That should be obvious but I’ve seen countless posts saying otherwise. The question is: what is the heart of our nation? Why is THIS President doing these things. The policies he is putting forth punish a population of people and we have to ask why. Do we punish people because of gross generalizations and xenophobia? Many of us were led to believe these generalizations by the campaign speeches and promises of the last year.

Do we punish people because of our own ignorance? Are we prohibiting people from entering our country simply because we do not understand them or fear their religion or culture? Are we tearing families apart because they came here illegally or do we desire to give them a path to citizenship? Are we making up myths about Syrian Refugees and making them the scapegoat for the violence in the world? Are we taking one act of violence and using it to define all similar looking people?

These are not things Obama or Clinton did. They never lead us to scrutinize entire religions and races. And regardless of what you will say, Trump has brought this to the American public. What is happening now are things that Reagan and BOTH Bushes stood against.

We are upset because many of us do not believe this is happening for safety reasons, but because racism is at play in our highest office. And it wasn’t the liberal media who gave us those words. It was the tweets, it was the speeches, of the President of the United States.

As a Christian I see things, like “we don’t lock our doors because we hate the people on the outside, but because we love the people on the inside.” Which is all well and good but what if that person on the outside is desperately looking for safety from people who wish them harm and is knocking on your door? What does it take for the person in danger or the person desperate for opportunity for their family to become your family? And shouldn’t this be our goal as believers?

Do we only care for people who are this imaginary concept we call American? And beyond how do we even define that imaginary concept? As John Cena, so elegantly put we are an insanely diverse nation. Where Canadians are American. Asians are American. Iraqis are American. Africans are American. Irish are American. Indians are American. Natives are especially American. Muslims are American. Homosexuals are American. Mexicans are American. That’s important because these issues close the door to many of them because they visit their country of origin or worship differently than the majority of us. We ARE a nation of Immigrants. American might be the most inclusive word in the world.

The “America First principle” makes a sense in priority but the buck shouldn’t ever stop there. If we are decent people borders won’t define a persons worth. Wealth won’t define a person’s worth. Religion won’t define a persons worth. Culture won’t define a persons worth. But there are a great many of us who are not sure our President and members of his cabinet actually understand this. These actions of power have great consequences that are hidden by a particular kind of “American ego.”

And so we protest not to be against a person but to stand FOR the American. The most inclusive word in the world.

These issues are complicated. Nobody would question that. And at times there is a cost. But may that cost never lead us to forget the valuable lesson Dr. Seuss taught us, that “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

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