January 31, 2017

Ten days into his administration, President Donald Trump crushed any hope that he was actually capable of changing; that his bigoted and xenophobic campaign talk was just a ruse to fool gullible, prejudiced voters into thinking he’d put minorities in their place, and return the country to its rightful owners; that once in office, he’d moderate his extreme positions and act responsibly, and become a president for all of America. Nope. Not gonna happen.

By issuing an executive order that bans immigration and travel from seven Muslim majority countries, Trump proved he was every bit as ruthless and toxic as many had feared—his hateful campaign rhetoric is not a theatrical act, but a true representation of his core convictions.

They’re convictions that fly in the face of facts which show that the overwhelming number of terrorist incidents since 9/11 have involved Americans, not foreigners. From the Boston Bombers to the attack at Fort Hood, to the San Diego attackers—every incident was committed by someone born in the United States, or who had legally immigrated to the country. Not a single attack would have been prevented by Trump’s Muslim Ban.  And of the approximately 15,000 Syrian refugees living in the U.S., none have been implicated in terrorist plots.

But as we now know, Trump and his minions live in their own universe of “Alternative Facts,” so it doesn’t matter to them that  as of 2015, 67 percent of the refugees coming to the United States are children under the age of 12 or women, many of whom fleeing the bombed out ruins of Syria and Iraq.   

But even child refugees propose significant terrorism threats to America, according to Trump spokesman Sean Spicer. When asked at a press conference about a five-year-old boy who was detained under President Trump’s executive order, Spicer said That’s why we slow it down and make sure that if they are a five-year-old that maybe they’re with their parents and they don’t pose a threat. To assume that just because of someone’s age or gender or whatever that they don’t pose a threat would be wrong.”

What’s really wrong is Trump’s belief—supported by his racist policy strategist Steve Bannon—that only Muslim, black and brown people present threats to the American way of life.  Since announcing his candidacy in 2015, Trump has spoken out about the need to build a wall to keep out Mexican “rapist and murders;” he spoken of the need to conduct “extreme vetting” of Muslims, but what Trump has never spoken out about is the threat posed to society by deranged white men with guns. Totally absent from his speeches has been any mention of the likes of James Holmes, who killed 12 people in a theater in Colorado; or Dylann Roof, who killed nine African Americans in a church in South Carolina. Nor did he mentioned Adam Lanza, who killed 20 first graders and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

According to Mother Jones Magazine, since 1982, there have been at least 85 public mass shootings across the country. In forty-four of the shootings, the killers were white males.

Another study by the New America Foundation found that since 9/11, white right-wing terrorists have killed almost twice as many Americans in homegrown attacks than radical Islamists have.  In their study, researchers decided to examine groups “engaged in violent extremist activity” and found that white extremists were by far the most dangerous. They found that 48 people were killed by white terrorists, while 26 were killed by radical Islamists, since Sept. 11.

But because Trump is oblivious, or perhaps willfully ignorant of these facts, untold numbers of Muslims have been turned away at airports, separated from their families and left in limbo.

As a country founded upon the principle of religious freedom, the question becomes does betraying our core values make America great, or racist, again? Ponder that.


Areva Martin: Today’s Voice On Issues That Matter


Areva Martin wants to shift the ‘Lean In’ paradigm: ‘You can’t lean into a closed door’

Lawyer, author and St. Louis native Areva Martin wants to shift the “Lean In” paradigm for women in the workplace.

“We are enough; it’s not us,” she said. “You can’t lean into a closed door.”

Martin joined St. Louis on the Air host Sarah Fenske last Thursday before a live audience to discuss her new book, “Awakening: Ladies, Leadership, and the Lies We’ve Been Told.”

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BOOK REVIEW: Areva Martin’ – Awakening: Ladies, Leadership, and the Lies We’ve Been Told

Areva Martin’s new book Awakening: Ladies, Leadership, and the Lies We’ve Been Told is more than just the sum of its considerable subject matter. As an award-winning lawyer and advocate, Martin has been reflective of a number of legal and social issues through the years, but it feels like the book is as much a culmination of her veteran expertise on what she speaks as it is representative of the changing nature of the modern era. Martin cites the 2016 election as a major turning point ideologically – noting the intensive misogyny Clinton faced as the Democratic Party presidential candidate.

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The Future of Feminism: Elevating All Women

What does today’s feminism look like? Jamia Wilson calls it “lifting as you climb.” Jamia is an activist, feminist, an executive editor at Random House, and a prolific author, most recently of the book, This Book Is Feminist. I had a chance to speak with her a few weeks back about the voices that—for too long—have been left out or not amplified in conversations about women and equity.

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