Sam

Has Trump never heard of First Amendment?

Jan 31 • Opinion, Samantha Griswold • 524

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By SAMANTHA GRISWOLD

managing editor, news

“People who came to America left their homeland because they were tired of being told what they could and couldn’t say or print,” my professor said.

“Time to leave again,” Kelsey mumbled to me out of the corner of her mouth as I gave her a knowing, side-eyed glance as I often do in Mass Media and Pop Culture.

Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, I’ve been seeing too many parallels in our country’s history to what is happening today.

Just as America’s first immigrants – AKA America’s first white folk, for those of you who need a reminder – fled their home countries to get away from religious persecution and constricting laws, we are experiencing religious persecution and constricting laws of our own in the 21st century.

Donald Trump’s administration issued a media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) early last week, which prevented the agency from any contact with outside sources.

The blackout includes a ban on issuing press releases, updating blogs or posting on social media.

I’m sorry – what? Has Trump never heard of the First Amendment? You know, the amendment that specifically protects the freedom of the press, that “Congress shall make no law” that details what the press can or can’t say.

Trump’s indiscretion with this media blackout isn’t a law, per se, but it does indicate that, ironically, he seems to have no respect for the Constitution and what it stands for, something that he flouted throughout his campaign for the presidency.

More recently, Trump signed an executive order barring refugees from entering the U.S. from seven different countries in the Middle East for at least three months – and refugees from Syria indefinitely.

While it wasn’t explicitly mentioned that people of the Muslim faith were being targeted, Trump did say that Christian refugees would be given priority over Muslims, because apparently Christians have been the ones who have been targeted unfairly.

Trump’s reasoning for the immigration order? Terrorists might sneak into our country while they work to reform vetting processes to make it impossible for anybody without white skin to enter the country.

I saw a photo circulating on Facebook recently of Anne Frank, with a caption that read “‘Anne Frank could be a 77-year-old woman living in Boston today.’ But she was denied a U.S. visa.”

I never knew that Frank’s father applied for visas and painstakingly struggled to get his family out of Nazi-occupied Germany for fear of what would happen if he didn’t.

The Franks’ story is a solemn reminder of what happened the last time the U.S. was too selective about who it let into the country.

They say that history repeats itself and we are all idly standing by, watching as past mistakes once again become grave realities.

SAMANTHA GRISWOLD

griswold002@knights.gannon.edu

 

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