Colson: It’s President Trump now — rush to the barricades | AspenTimes.com

Colson: It’s President Trump now — rush to the barricades

John Colson
Hit & Run

And so it begins.

Donald John Trump is our new president, and even before he was sworn in, his tendencies toward isolationism and intolerance had trickled down in various nasty ways to some in the federal workforce.

According to news reports over the weekend (Washington Post, Guardian, Independent) a pack of Canadians, a couple of French citizens and a Brit were denied entry to the U.S. on Jan. 19 at a border crossing at St.-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, and Champlain, N.Y., after they told U.S. border guards they were headed for Washington, D.C., to take part in the Women’s March.

I’ve looked into the situation for the French and British hopeful visitors (or should I call them frogs and limeys, as Trump surely would?) and the border guards apparently could justify, technically speaking, denying the tourists entry to this country.

After all, they admitted they were planning to protest against Trump, and the border guards simply decided the French and British tourists were heading toward a “potentially violent rally” and thus could be turned back with impunity, according to The Washington Post account.

But the Canadians?

I’ve always thought Canadians could get into this country without visas and nearly without any explanations for their reasons for visiting here, them being citizens of our nearest (along with Mexico) ally and all.

I must admit, to be perfectly clear, that I understand the need to keep hostiles and terrorists from crossing into the U.S. at border crossings to the north and south, on the coasts and at the airports, etc. I get it, there are people out there who think murdering Americans en masse will get them into heaven and straight to a roomful of celestial virgins.

Plus, I’ve read some about the nut-right’s belief that Canada is rife with Islamic fundamentalists just waiting to come down here and start a campaign of suicide bombings and conversion of overly trusting high schoolers and imbecilic skinheads to the jihadists’ creed.

Personally, I don’t buy into that brand of hogwash, and I hesitate to give it even the limited credence offered by putting it in this column.

But, as I’ve often noted, it’s necessary to know what’s up with the underbelly of our body politick, and occasionally a good idea to openly air some of the nut-right’s fantasies just to let the more rational world know that the fringes are active and freaky.

But denial of entry to neighbors and allies, just because they happen to hold opinions not in line with those of Donald Trump, is scarier to me than if we mistakenly let in a radical thinker or two. I fully expect diplomatic complaints from the three nations whose citizens were slighted.

There is the possibility, of course, the goal of Trump and his Trumpeteers is to manufacture a need to declare martial law and make this even more of a police state than it is now.

In that case, moves like the one by the border guards make perfect sense.

Progressive advocates of openness in government will get upset and start berating Trump and his administration for mistreating the citizens of our international allies as well as stifling dissent, which will generate a tweet storm the likes of which we haven’t seen yet, which will generate even more protests, and on, and on.

At some point, if he stays true to form, Trump likely would retreat to his tower while first-daughter Ivanka, along with Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, could begin laying plans for a massive upgrade in police presence around the country, closing the borders to anyone who isn’t either rich or an executive in some corporation (typically they’re one and the same, so no worries there, right?) and the coup d’etat would be complete.

Or some version thereof — I don’t claim to be able to see into the future, but some series of governmental moves such as the ones above is easily predictable — welcome to Amerika.

I should note here that there are hopeful signs of resistance to the agenda of Trump and his cohort, including the fact that the organizers of the Women’s March on Washington reported that nearly 5 million people marched in various towns, cities and other locales around the U.S., and the world, on Saturday, Jan. 21.

There also are signs that seriously minded political activists are getting to work, organizing (Barack Obama, we need those community-organizing skills), encouraging people to stay engaged into the future and setting the stage for an electoral reset in 2018 and 2020.

And, happily enough, there was more than a little humor in Saturday’s marches.

One protester in Madision, Wisconsin, carried a sign that really said it all when it comes to Trump and his loose attachment to reality, declaring simply, “TRUMP WILL LIE ABOUT THIS,” referring to the march of perhaps 100,000 people up State Street to the state capitol. Trump, naturally, fulfilled the sign’s prediction before the day was out.

Here in the Roaring Fork Valley, Carbondale proudly hosted a sizable rally (at about 650 to 750 people, equalling 10 percent of the town’s population). News reports indicated that perhaps 100,000 rallied in Denver, and that “thousands” paraded through downtown Grand Junction — not normally a hotbed of progressive thought or action — while here in Aspen, hundreds were said to have taken part in a “ski and march” event.

All in all, Saturday was a good day for those who feel the country has made a wrong turn (to put it mildly), and they are not about to take it lying down.

Contact at jbcolson51@gmail.com


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