BY MICHAEL G. SARAFA
During last election season, many of my democratic leaning friends, including some democratic elected officials, were surprised by the level and voraciousness of Chaldean support for Donald Trump. As you know from other writings in this space, I was not a Trump fan, nor did I ever think he could actually win. But, apparently, I was a minority in that view amongst Chaldeans, or at least vocal Chaldeans. As best as I can tell, the support for Trump was founded on two major issues: his pro-life stance and his aversion towards Muslims.
On the first, it is true that Trump was the better choice for those that wanted a conservative, strict constructionist appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. This was borne out by the nomination of Neil Gorsuch. It will be further borne out by other appointments that Trump may get. It is also true that the Supreme Court, regardless of their makeup, will not overturn Roe v. Wade. Gorsuch said as much at his confirmation hearing. We have had a conservative and a Catholic majority on the Supreme Court for two decades and the Court has not shown any proclivity towards this end. Still, that is a legitimate issue, even if just a single issue, to decide one’s vote.
Trump is now infamous around the world for his anti-Muslim stances and rhetoric. In spite of his nauseating trip to Saudi Arabia that was notable for its mutual sycophancy, Trump has successfully garnered the support of a wide swath of the American population by the fear mongering of Muslims and Muslim immigrants.
Enter the ‘bad hombres.’ Candidate Trump famously touted his pledge to rid the United States of the “bad hombres.” Most presumed that this was a direct shot of undocumented Mexicans who had committed crimes in the U.S. But alas, we now learn that this xenophobia is not contained to Mexicans, or Muslims for that matter, as if that would be ok. Lo and behold, hundreds of Chaldeans have been caught up in the same web of intolerance and fear. As non-citizens, felons with deportation orders these detainees are low hanging fruit for the police state apparatus of the U.S. government.
Make no mistake. What is happening to these Chaldeans is heart wrenching, immoral and without substantiation. Seemingly none of these individuals pose a threat to national security which is nominally the grounds for their potential deportation. I believe there is an important distinction, though I’m advised it is not a legal distinction. All of these people were originally present in the Unites States legally. Most then committed a crime—some severe, some less so. Most then were unable to obtain citizenship and were ultimately “deported” through immigration court proceedings. For years, these deportation orders were ignored because of the situation in Iraq, lack of passports, war and a lack of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Iraq. But these folks were not “undocumented.”
Now, after a 40 year U.S. led effort to dismantle the Iraqi nation state, the country is nearly void of a Christian population. An ethnic minority population that numbered in the millions just a generation ago, is just a couple hundred thousand today. Yet, our American government is going to send these Christian men and women into a country that could not be more foreign to them, where they have not been for decades, where they do not speak the language and where they do not have any family, in most cases.
My point is this: This would not be happening if Hillary Clinton was president; it would not be happening if Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Rand Paul; you pick the name, were elected president. Shame on those drawn to Trump’s reactionary, xenophobic and fear mongering tendencies. Shame on those that can’t see past a single issue. Shame on those that can’t see Trump as a phony opportunist.
Elections matter and voters should be careful what they ask for. Sometimes, you actually get it.