A Humanist Guide to Resist Trump
“I normally don’t write long posts or any kind of political or religious comments.”
So began a Facebook post by Nazanin Zinouri, a data scientist who traveled to Tehran on January 22 for her once-yearly visit with her family. By Wednesday, her happy visit was already starting to crumble, as rumors about possible executive orders changing immigration rules started floating around. When the rumors started solidifying and she realized she might be banned from coming back to the United States – a country she’s lived in for 7 years – she cut her visit short and booked a flight back.
Unfortunately, by the time her flight left, it was several hours after Trump had signed the order. In Dubai, she made it through to the boarding area for her connecting flight…but then officers informed her that, for security reasons, her boarding was denied.
“No one warned me when I was leaving, no one cared what will happen to my dog or my job or my life there. No one told me what I should do with my car that is still parked at the airport parking. Or what to do with my house and all my belongings. They didn’t say it with words, but with their actions, that my life doesn’t matter. Everything I worked for all these years doesn’t matter.”
Nazanin’s story is just one of many heartbreaking tales of families separated, lives uprooted and left in limbo, and fear and confusion.
Trump’s Immigration Ban: Cruelty at Its Finest
So here’s what Trump’s immigration ban does, in a nutshell:
First, it suspends the Syrian refugee program in the United States, indefinitely. It also halts all refugee entry for 120 days, and all citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from coming to the US for 90 days.
The order also gives preference to refugees from “minority religions” – which Trump has stated pretty much means Christians. While Christians are a minority in the Muslim-majority countries targeted by the order, Trump’s reasons for giving them preferential treatment have been largely debunked.
Trump’s order lowers the total number of refugees to be admitted to the United States this year to just 50,000 – less than half of Obama’s 110,000 per year. And finally, it calls for “extreme vetting” of immigrants and visitors to reduce the chances of terrorist attacks. Never mind the intense vetting process that immigrants already have to go through in order to get visas.
Poorly Executed Plan, Major Fallout
Thanks to the rushed nature of the executive order, mass chaos reigned over the weekend. Officials in charge of admitting or denying entry to travelers from the affected countries didn’t get proper instructions – so they detained or turned away basically everyone, including green card holders. Saturday night, a federal judge granted an emergency stay for people who were already in the US or in transit and have valid visas.
Unfortunately, many people had already been turned back – and because there had been no warning, people like Nazanin had no chance at all to make arrangements. People who were just traveling abroad suddenly found themselves unable to return home.
— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) January 28, 2017
My Iranian-American friend’s father is in Iran right now for a visit. He’s a green card holder. Under #MuslimBan, he can’t come back.
— sarah amy harvard (@amyharvard_) January 28, 2017
My refugee friend and her young son were ecstatic last wk b/c her husband was approved to come from Iraq. What do I tell her now? #MuslimBan
— Matt Jaber Stiffler (@ProfStiff) January 28, 2017
A Humanist Guide to Resist Trump
If you’re outraged by the ban, or terrified of what such a poorly vetted overreach of power means for the future, you’re definitely not alone. And believe me when I say I understand being overwhelmed and feeling frozen by the mountain of crap spewing from the White House every day.
But the good news is, there are lots of people organizing, resisting, and providing advice on how to resist. Here are a few excellent resources that provide concrete steps you can take to help minimize the damage Trump’s administration is trying to do:
The Resistance Manual. A wiki-type manual created by seasoned protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement. This site separates resistance plans by issue, such as the ACA, LGBTQ Equality, immigration, and women’s rights. Each of these pages provides a comprehensive overview of Trump’s proposed or expected policy, how it affects people, and what you can do. And because it’s a wiki, it’s also open-source – so you’re getting advice from a wide range of protesters representing all walks of life and all levels of experience.
Daily Action. This site asks for your cell number and zip code, and then sends you one action alert via text message per day. These alerts give you one concrete action – calling your senator or representative to protest an issue that’s urgent in your area. You tap the phone number in the text message to call in, listen to a recording explaining the issue, and then you’re automatically routed to your elected official to express your objection.
Indivisible Guide. This guide was written by former Congressional staffers who understand how Congress members think – and what strategies work best to get them to listen. The guide provides excellent information on how grassroots movements (like the Tea Party) worked to undermine Obama, how to organize a local group in your Congressional district, and local advocacy tactics that are proven to work.
In addition to these guides, you have a few other steps you can take:
- Support the free press. Trump has already expressed his desire to stifle the press and suppress information he doesn’t like. If you’re able, support quality news outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post with a subscription. You can also write letters to the editor, calling out misinformation coming from the White House.
- Support advocacy groups that are going to need your help now more than ever. These include:
Above all, try to avoid becoming overwhelmed. I definitely don’t recommend trying to consume ALL of these resources or trying to support ALL of these causes. For sanity’s sake, you need to choose your battles and find ways to make your stand within those movements.
Next week, I’ll dive a little deeper into keeping your sanity while resisting Trump. If you’ve got ideas/suggestions for groups to support or actions to take that I haven’t listed here, please leave them in the comments. We’d love for this post to grow into a resource of its own for the Hope After Faith family.