New year, New President, New National Regression


Barack Obama heightened racial tensions in this country.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard this statement over the past eight years. First discovering this sentiment, a million questions rushed to my mind as I wondered what was so polarizing about this president. Why was his election, but not the election of his predecessors, perceived as so remarkably significant in worsening race relations in America?

Even as a fourth-grader, it was quite evident to me that those who blamed the former president for the growing racial divide were implying that he ruined the American dynamic because he’s black.

I saw Obama as a beacon of hope, so needless to say, I was a little lost when I saw the racism and hate crimes persist, even aggravate, throughout the progression of his presidency.

Over time, I’ve come to understand why the odious incidents remained. I agree that Obama’s election exacerbated the racial divide; however, he did not make it worse. The fault lies with those who could not bear the idea that they were to be governed by an African-American man.

Just two weeks ago I would have contended that the United States has not necessarily taken steps backwards with the recent election of Donald Trump as it was already backwards under a progressive Obama administration. I would have said that the only difference between the 2016 and 2017 America is that the general hate and discrimination exhibited by the embittered masses is now exhibited by the entity in power.

My previous assessment of the situation is true to some part, but the current circumstances are graver and extend far beyond just an inept authoritative figure.

Since his recent inauguration, President Trump has:

  •      Delivered a vengeful inauguration speech
  •      Provided “alternative facts” about the turnout at his inauguration
  •      Rid the White House website of its climate change and LGBT+ rights pages
  •      Showcased an atrocious lack of respect for a civil-rights activist
  •      Assembled an inexperienced cabinet
  •      Claimed that he is smart enough to go about his presidency without intelligence briefings
  •      Signed an executive order defunding international Planned Parenthood

And the list goes on.

Although the state of domestic affairs remains relatively stagnant, international policies have regressed considerably within the first couple weeks of the Trump era.

Perhaps the largest and most frightening fallout of Trump’s passage into power thus far is his latest executive order titled, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.”

Signed on Friday, Jan. 27, this order blocks out immigrants, and even American lawful residents traveling from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the U.S. for the next 90 days, and he also suspended the U.S. refugee program for 120 days.

I write for a predominantly privileged audience, so I think it’s fair to say that none of us can remotely imagine the adversity and terror one may feel after being turned back to a war-torn and desecrated homeland. Through this ban, we are effectively sending helpless men, women and children back to their uncertain futures.

Please click here to read about those who are personally harmed by this ban.

This is not about policy, national security, economic growth or whatever other farce is being used to excuse this inhumane order. We don’t achieve safety by turning our backs to those in need, demonizing an entire religion, or prioritizing one life over another. A Muslim ban does not save us from terrorism; it just implicates us in endangering fellow human beings and neglecting their life or death situation. For a country founded by people fleeing religious persecution to fail to extend itself as a sanctuary, this is a tragic irony.  

– Neha Dronamraju – Asst. A&E Editor –