How Did We Let This Happen?

Credit: Norwegian news outlet VG, December 2016, Tidsånden flirer ikke lenger

Credit: Norwegian news outlet VG, December 2016, Tidsånden flirer ikke lenger

Contrary to rumor, this cartoon was not banned on Twitter or Facebook. But it’s a nice summary of the world’s perception1 of our President and his pattern of conduct. Trump as a baby, with a soiled diaper, pulling the world to ruin.

Not just the rest of the world.

Muhammad Ali Jr. – the son of the late, legendary boxing champion Muhammad Ali – was detained by immigration officials at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport for four hours on Feb. 7, according to several reports. Ali Jr., 44, was traveling with his mother, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, returning to Florida from a speaking engagement in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The son of one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century was interrogated for two hours about his religion and how he got his last name.

70-year old Australian author Mem Fox was detained and questioned by Customs and Border Protection officers for two hours earlier this month as she was on her way to Milwaukee to address a conference. It was her 117th trip to the United States. “”I have never in my life been spoken to with such insolence, treated with such disdain, with so many insults and with so much gratuitous impoliteness.”

On February 22, Henry Rousso, one of France’s preeminent scholars and public intellectuals was detained for 10 hours at Houstaon International Airport, when he attempted to enter the United States to attend an academic symposium — for no clear reason.

Sidd Bikkannavar is an employee of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and a natural-born US citizen, returning from South America. He even had a Global Entry card, the pre-check and expedited admission card, only given to people who have been through a fairly rigorous screening process. He was made to wait for hours, without explanation, and to give up his government-issued cell phone and passcode.

Terrorism involves actions my third parties that inspire terror in a society. If a society, if a nation, permits a threat – or a claimed threat – to make that society react by altering its fundamental principles and precepts, that that society is being terrorized. The three examples listed above involve grotesque overreaction to a perception of a terrorist threat. It is the United States government terrorizing its own people and its distinguished guests. It is utterly wrong.

Our scoiety was quite safe from foreign terrorism during the entire eight years of the Obama administration without indulging in this kind of grotesque, self-inflicted terror. There is no evidence that the actions of the Trump Administration have had any positive effect. Not on our safety. Not on our perception of our safety. Not on our relations with our neighbors. Not on discouraging jihadism. And certainly not in preserving the rule of law.

Congress needs to grow a spine and make this nonsense stop.


  1. Excluding possibly Russia.