Today a hot, bright sun bears down on the detrius of shattered lives that spreads for miles in the northern Bahamas. Hurricane Dorian’s wrath has leveled this once-beautiful place. It looks as if a nuclear bomb exploded there. Thousands of survivors have nothing but themselves and the clothes on their bodies as they struggle to restart their lives. Many board planes and ships heading for the United States where they might find a job, a place to live, a meal.
But on Sunday, more than 100 of these desperate people were instructed to leave a rescue ferry bound for Florida because they didn’t have U.S. visas. Customs and Border Protection officials can’t explain why this happened, as visas are not required for Bahamians traveling to the United States.
Here is what our president had to say about this. “I don’t want to allow people that weren’t supposed to be (in the Bahamas).” He said that among the refugees could be “very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers.”
In Nassau, these people huddled in a crowded Criminal Records office seeking a piece of paper that, along with a passport, could give them permission to travel in the United States.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free . . .”
The New York Times reminds us that the United States “has a long history of allowing evacuees of natural disasters to enter the country — and many of them stay. Tens of thousands of people from Honduras and Nicaragua came to the United States after Hurricane Mitch in 1998, more fled El Salvador after earthquakes in 2001, and many Haitians arrived in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.”
But Trump, as he has done since his first day in office, is campaigning to be re-elected. He knows that stoking fear in a great way to gain votes, so he lies — makes stuff up — to portray others, brown people from somewhere else, as “very bad.” Will this get him more votes?
“. . . send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me . . .”
Witnessing this president’s irresponsible behavior prompts one to consider who among us is “very bad?” I will think about this, and when I vote next year, I will remember.