Making America Un-American Again


Selaam Dollisso, Online Managing & In-Depth Editor

The State of The Union address is an annual speech given by the President of the United States discussing the nation’s current condition. But instead of waiting for that speech, let’s ask the question right now. What is the state of the union?

It’s that crappy reality show that’s way too cringey to watch, but so tempting that it’s almost impossible to look away. Except, it’s not just you and your overly-salted popcorn watching- it’s the entire world.

Only a week after his inauguration, president Trump flexed his executive muscles by signing an order that would do the following: suspend entry of refugees into the U.S. for 120 days and take extra precautionary screening measures, stop the admission of Syrian refugees indefinitely, and prohibit entry from seven predominantly Muslim countries linked to terrorism (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Yemen) into the U.S. for 90 days.

CNN: The seven countries banned by Trump

The ban has aroused mass distress among affected families and protest from others who see the ban as unnecessary and a “euphemism for discriminating against Muslims”, stated The American Civil Liberties Union. An immigrant herself, Ames High junior Amber Mohmand shared her side of the story.

“I don’t know when my parents left Afghanistan, but they were in India during the 90’s. I was born there, and in 2000 we immigrated to Ames. We left Afghanistan because of the war, and we came to Iowa because my grandfather went to school at ISU”, Mohmand explained.

In terms of Trump’s recent immigrant and refugee ban on seven Muslim countries, Amber admitted that “even though Afghanistan isn’t banned, [Trump has] made it very difficult to obtain a Visa. In that way, my family is affected because I still have a good amount of relatives living there and to know that it’s going to be harder than ever to actually see them face to face makes me really sad.”

Amber pointed out that she is very lucky to live in Ames where the majority of the citizens are warm and accepting. She still believes this to be true, but because of the recent election, people’s true beliefs have shone through.

“… I think the only way to counter their views is by [showing] positivity. I know that not all people believe that [Muslims are terrorists], but there’s still that small percentage of people who do believe in that, and I’m afraid that this percentage will grow”, she reasoned.

With that being said, there is still rampant ignorance and misconceptions about the Middle East, its people and its religions.

“Muslims are not terrorists. Islam does not represent terrorism. Immigrants are not out to get us, they’re simply trying to live a life with more opportunities- for themselves, their children, and their grandchildren. Just like ourselves, [our] parents, and [our] grandparents, we all want a chance to live a better life”, Mohmand concluded.

A few Ames High students spoke out with varying positions on the recent turn of events Trump has incited since his inauguration.

“I think it makes sense that Trump’s views have become so popular[.] [B]ecause Obama’s previous views were so pro-immigration and ease of visa use, it makes sense that there would be such a strong backlash. It’s not the first and certainly won’t be the last wave of nativism in America, and is just one of the many cycles in American politics”, remarked Junior Michael Holm.

Junior Mari Beth Verhelst says she agrees with Trump’s views on immigration and his policies. “I think Trump has the right idea for running this country and I’m looking forward to how he does”.

Junior Olivia Jenks had a differing opinion, claiming Trump to completely undermine the words written on the Statue of Liberty welcoming immigrants to shore:

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

“Trumps policies, especially on immigration and women’s rights, frustrate and anger me. This nation was built by immigrants looking for a better life. I have neighbors, friends, and family who are immigrants… They come here for a better chance at life. They are not here to kill, or steal, or commit crimes. They’re here to live freely in a country of loving people, and it angers me that Trump wants to take that away”, Jenks stated.

Amongst all of the humming discontent, we must reflect upon the values this country was built upon and the time we almost lost it all.

In 1861, our nation was on the brink of deciding whether or not to remain the “United” States, or become the “Divided” states. The colonists’ courage and pursuit of freedom, the help of the Native Americans, the blood of the soldiers, the backs of African slaves- all nearly dissolved. Within the confines of one, small war, the roots of America could have been torn to pieces- the nation left severed beyond repair.

They say that history repeats itself, but who knew that 2017 would be the new 1861. Who knew that second-place title for the nation’s most vehement division would go to an era in our lifetimes. Who knew that women’s suffrage, and civil rights, and gay rights would be copied, deleted, and pasted into the 21st century and fought for again.

Why is America is dipping its toes into a second Civil-War?

Former president Abraham Lincoln left a hauntingly fitting quote that is most appropriate in the current state of Civil War II:

“If the great American people will only keep their temper, on both sides of the line, the troubles will come to an end, and the question which now distracts the country will be settled just as surely as all other difficulties of like character which have originated in this government have been adjusted.”

“If the great American people will only keep their temper, on both sides of the line, the troubles will come to an end, and the question which now distracts the country will be settled just as surely as all other difficulties of like character which have originated in this government have been adjusted.”

— Abraham Lincoln

They fought for four long years, but they came back together. We. Are Fighting. And if we want to avoid fighting for the next four years- we need to come back together. We must keep our temper “on both sides of the line” and eventually, the line will dissolve. We almost lost it then, but we will not lose it now.

So sing that School House Rock rendition of The Preamble that you have locked away in your 4th grade memory. Because although the problem may seem daunting and complex, the solution is laid out in elementary fashion.

The Constitution is the road map for the “perfect Union”. The Declaration of Independence tells us our self-evident truths that have inspired the doctrines of many other countries. Now, we are only a laughing stock- a spilled mess to avoid in the lunchroom. But hear this: it can’t just be one person. It takes many to shift the course of history, and in our case, every U.S. residing being we’ve got. Because this is our problem, no one else is going to fix it for us.

It isn’t going to be easy. It’s going to be ugly, it’s going to hurt, and it’s going to take great compromise. We can determine what goes down in our textbooks for years to come, but we have to try. Because if we truly want The United States back, We the People, have to rise up. We the People have to work together.

We the People have to Make America Re-United Again.