No Room at the Inn

On Friday afternoon the man in charge, seeking to burnish his tough guy image, took his limo to the Pentagon and signed a bit of paper that upended the lives of thousands of the world’s most vulnerable people, betrayed America’s deepest values, and is almost certain to harm the country it is designed to protect.   

The weekend’s events again demonstrate that the man’s personality flaws and personal history – not politics – will be the primary driver of what emerges from this administration.

·      He did not first attempt to forge an immigration reform policy that could attract the support of Congress, the representatives of the people.  President Obama signed executive orders regarding immigration, but only after years of attempting to work with Congress to accomplish immigration reform.

·      He acted without the analysis, planning, or preparation that normally would have preceded a similarly consequential change in policy. This has been his MO for years in business, where the frequent result was a moment of publicity for him, followed by chaos and failure.  

·      He took this action impulsively, without (or perhaps in disregard of) consideration of its many dangerous consequences. Apart from the human tragedy, American business, together with the thousands of Americans who live, do business, and travel overseas, all will suffer. And many experts believe that the jihadist narrative will be reinforced, domestic counter-terrorism efforts will be compromised, and America's global standing and leadership diminished.  

·      He left thousands of government employees, sworn to uphold the rule of law, struggling to understand what he had done, what it meant, and what they should do. Again, this is his hallmark:  leave others to pick up the pieces.

·      By giving preference to Christian refugees and contemplating that immigrants would be chosen based on their “attitudes,” he demonstrated a typical populist/authoritarian indifference to the niceties of the constitution.

·      The arguments proffered in support of the order (i.e., that his order would have prevented 9/11, or that current vetting can be improved, or that immigrants are more prone to crime than others) all are false. Welcome to the world where policy is made based on “alternative facts.”

·      The policy, like the man, is cruel and reckless. Like all severe narcissists, he lacks empathy.   The consequences of this are on full display.

The innkeeper, indifferent to the suffering of a pregnant traveller about to give birth, relegates Mary and Joseph to the stable. The Bible story celebrated each Christmas has inspired generations of believers and non-believers alike to the necessity of embracing -- and even sacrificing for -- the weak and vulnerable. Instead, exit polls showed 80% of Christian evangelicals again chose to slam the door of the inn. If He exists, Jesus weeps.