Opinion: Maybe we shouldn’t call it a Muslim ban

Matt Poe

Donald Trump, or President Cheeto, signed a new executive order this past Monday to “combat” the massive influx of refugees currently pouring into the country.

As I’m sure you recall, the initial travel ban he imposed was met with almost universal outrage, as it barred entry for green card holders and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

It was only several weeks ago, but man, does it seem like several lifetimes ago.

Anyway, the new executive order’s most noticeable change is the removal of Iraq from the exemption list, along with fewer restrictions for Syrian refugees.

On face value, it’s good to see a country dropped from this list disguised as a nationalistic rally cry and xenophobia masquerading as an executive order. But as the good folks over at CNN have reported, it sounds as though some backroom deals may or may not have been made to get Iraq off this list.

Also, as the great people of Twitter have pointed out, the second ‘I’ in ISIS stands for Iraq. So what, Poe?

Well, although the executive order is still likely causing more harm than good for Americans, you’d think you may want to include Iraq on said banned list because this whole thing is supposedly about keeping Americans safe from ISIS and its influence.

But hey, Donnie knows more than the generals, so it’s all good. Moving on.

As I’ve mentioned ad nauseam, I’m interning in Washington, D.C. this semester and had the privilege to meet many influential people  unlike you peasants. One person I had the pleasure of meeting was columnist Dana Milbank — of The (failing) Washington Post  who spoke about his career and all that jazz.

And although our encounter was several weeks ago, one small comment he made resonated in my mind on the day of this new “Muslim ban.”

Milbank said he didn’t call the first executive order President Orange Soda signed a “Muslim ban” because, hell, what would we call it if there was an actual Muslim ban?

Truthfully, I’d never thought of it that way, but it began to get the gears churning in this cobweb-filled mind of mine.

This new executive order is already being penned as “Muslim Ban 2.0,” which sounds like the title of a bad sequel to a bad original film. Most of what I’ve seen on social media is continuing to condemn the executive order, and rightfully so, because it’s absolute power-breeding fear for many.

That being said, we can’t call this “Muslim Ban 2.0.” In fact, we should have never called the original executive order a Muslim ban.

I wish I had the insight and rational thinking to say I was on board with this logic just six weeks ago. But hey, I fell for it, too, and ranted and shouted to all crevices and corners of the internet that this was undoubtedly and unequivocally a ban on Muslims.

Like most things, it seems easy to dissect and pinpoint on the surface.

And that’s what we did with both of these executive orders.

But it’s too simple-minded to just throw the words “Muslim ban” on the internet and expect that by doing so, some substantial change will come of it or that the executive branch would suddenly walk backward on this whole ordeal.

I make vague generalizations all the time, in both these columns and in other parts of life. I imagine you do as well, dear reader.

But by calling this a “Muslim ban”  or the second incarnation of it  we’re failing to examine the issue as a whole. We’re failing to see this as shoddy legislation being used to push an agenda of fear and paranoia.

All this is at its core is another executive order from an administration that thinks it can patch up a massive, gushing wound (combating terrorism worldwide) with a cheap knock-off brand Band-Aid (this executive order) bought at the local drug store. We’re selling this whole thing short and, in turn, feeding the fire of hysteria.

Because, as alarming and frightening as it is to think, there may be a time when President Highlighter and his cronies actually do ban a group of people from entering this country based on religion, race, ethnicity or some other social construct.

What would we call that then? We sure as hell wouldn’t be able to call it a “Muslim ban” since we dried up that term long ago for this series of events.

That’s not to say we should turn a blind eye to this until something serious happens; we’ve seen throughout history what horrible results can become of that.

Rather, we must continue to question and fact check this newly-implemented executive order and what may come of it. Call it unethical, call it wrong, call it outrageous, call it a plethora of names that it deserves to be.

But please: Don’t call it a “Muslim ban” anymore.

Because we have yet to see what a ban of that magnitude would really look like, what other consequences may arise from it and what domino effect it could bring to the stability of our world.

We’ve yet to cross that bridge, and  if we ever have to  I fear what may be waiting on the other side.

Matt Poe is a columnist, contact him at [email protected].