The nation held its breath in mid-December when GOP candidate Donald Trump dared to suggest that, in the wake of an ISIS/ISIL/IS/Caliphate/Daesh-related terrorist attack on U.S. soil, all Muslim immigration should be halted, until “Congress can figure out what the hell is going on.”
When the press finally exhaled, it started screaming and hollering, pausing only long enough to froth at the mouth like Old Yeller. CNN’s Andrew Cuomo was transformed into Billy Sunday, flailing his arms and admonishing the billionaire about America’s great heritage of unlimited, unrestricted immigration. George Stephanopoulos tried to get Trump to admit he was in favor of internment camps for Muslims, and like the Philadelphia Inquirer, played the Hitler card. Several mayors mockingly banned Trump from entering their cities, calling him stupid. Others simply yelled “fascist!” Southern Baptist gadfly Russell Moore naughty-naughtied Trump for violating the universal principles of democracy and religious liberty, arguing in essence that, first they’ll come for the Muslims, then they’ll come for the Christians. Every Democratic candidate and nearly every other Republican harshly condemned Trump. Jeb Bush said The Donald is “unhinged.”
The whole episode is telling, both for what wasn’t said, and for what was.
No one, as of this writing, is making the obvious and heart-rending connection between Trump’s statement and the “refugees,” who are Muslim. And given the fact that this Emmy Award winning crisis dominated headlines and memes throughout the World Wide Web, one might wonder why the Pundits Who Care didn’t mention it. One might have anticipated the image of the dead child on the sandy shore, or rhetoric about brigades of tiny, innocent Muslim children who would be turned away by Trump’s ban. Do you want these homeless children to starve to death, Mr. Trump?
Meanwhile, every commentator was quick to insist that what Mr. Trump proposed will never, ever happen because Congress would have to pass it and would of course refuse, and besides, everyone knows it is unconstitutional. CBS News helpfully quoted a California professor of human-rights law, one Khaled Abou El Fadl: “Trump seems to have just not bothered to read the Constitution . . . ”
Actually, it is they who seem to be utterly ignorant of the history of immigration law in this country, and of the current U.S. Code, which gives the president the crystal-clear authority to ban “any class of aliens” he perceives to be a threat to the United States and her citizens.
There is nothing more precious to today’s ruling class than the idea that the United States is the Levittown of the world, where there is always room for another three-bedroom ranch, jobs and benefits grow on trees, and no toxic ideology could ever make anyone a risk factor for disturbing the peace of the neighborhood.
Indeed, the same pundits who, mere moments before Trump’s announcement, were viciously attacking gun owners for not being willing to do whatever it takes to make Americans feel safer (viz., surrender our freedoms to protect us from Muslim terrorists) refused even to consider the possibility that a president could bar the doors of America to anyone because of his group identity.