Can one imagine what the values-voter crowd would have said had President Barack Obama promulgated some such rule? They’d scream that he was attacking family voters and lacked an appreciation of the importance of extended family. They’d point out that this is what happens when a big, coldhearted bureaucracy starts meddling in people’s lives for spurious reasons. Now, they say nothing.
Republicans have long claimed the value of “freedom.” Freedom not to buy health care. Freedom not to pay much in taxes. Freedom to run your business as one sees fit. (But of course these can become nonsensical in the real world — the freedom to lose Medicaid; the freedom to live in a country that passes on debt because it won’t pay for services it demands; and the freedom to pollute. Really, people, that’s your ideal?) Ironically, the whole Muslim-ban farce — and we know it’s a farce because we have passed the time necessary to develop extreme vetting, the stated excuse for the ban — tramples on two fundamental rights. Republicans used to understand that freedom of religious expression protected all faiths. Republicans used to believe that freedom to travel — which is inseparable from the right to make your life as you see fit — is essential. Now they are in the business of deciding what “real” family is and which life events one can miss. (It’s only Grandpa’s funeral!?) This is big government run amok.
The family-values crowd is mute, leaving it to civil liberties and immigration groups to stand up for families. The Post reported:
“Defining close family to exclude grandparents, cousins, and other relatives defies common sense,” said Johnathan Smith, legal director of Muslim Advocates, a civil rights group that plans to send monitors to Dulles International Airport on Thursday night.Cornell University Law School professor Stephen Yale-Loehr, who has written volumes of legal books on immigration law, said the travel ban would have barred many refugees who came to the United States years ago and have caused no problems. Among them are the Lost Boys of Sudan and children orphaned by famine and war.“Similarly, why can a stepsister visit the United States but not a grandmother?” he asked. “The State Department should vet visa applicants on a case-by-case basis for terrorism concerns, not impose overly broad categories that prevent innocent people from coming to this country.” …Amnesty International called on Congress to overturn the travel ban and said it will dispatch monitors to airports to observe whether anyone is denied entry. “Separating families based on these definitions is simply heartless,” Naureen Shah, director of campaigns for Amnesty International USA, said in a statement. “It further proves the callous and discriminatory nature of Trump’s Muslim ban.”
The GOP and its evangelical conservative helpmates could learn a thing or two about family by listening to these groups.