“Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”

It was only 56 years ago that John F. Kennedy stood in front of a hopeful nation and asked for humility and grace. In less than one week as president, Donald Trump has shown none of that with which JFK rallied we, the people.

On Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, Trump signed an executive order, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.”

The purpose of the order is to “protect Americans.”

The United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law.

That’s an awfully nice sentiment — indeed, “red meat” for the Trump base. #Murica!

And it is curious that the executive order mentions the attack of 9/11:

The visa-issuance process plays a crucial role in detecting individuals with terrorist ties and stopping them from entering the United States. Perhaps in no instance was that more apparent than the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when State Department policy prevented consular officers from properly scrutinizing the visa applications of several of the 19 foreign nationals who went on to murder nearly 3,000 Americans. And while the visa-issuance process was reviewed and amended after the September 11 attacks to better detect would-be terrorists from receiving visas, these measures did not stop attacks by foreign nationals who were admitted to the United States.

Numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001, including foreign nationals who entered the United States after receiving visitor, student, or employment visas, or who entered through the United States refugee resettlement program. Deteriorating conditions in certain countries due to war, strife, disaster, and civil unrest increase the likelihood that terrorists will use any means possible to enter the United States. The United States must be vigilant during the visa-issuance process to ensure that those approved for admission do not intend to harm Americans and that they have no ties to terrorism.

Well, we can only presume the Dubya and Obama administrations did not take seriously their role in amending the visa-issuance process …

When does the “Make America Great Again” part of the program begin? After we’ve weeded out the bad guys from countries that do not have Trump businesses? After Islam comes to heel? After we look in the mirror in regards to women’s rights as a whole?

The man who made popular The Art of the Deal, then doubled-down after “The Art of the Feel” was exposed, is not engaged in the policies the United States needs to remain a factor on the world stage.

Trump boasted on the campaign trail, “I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively — I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.” … Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has already called Trump’s bluff on the wall and the economics do not favor the U.S. in this border standoff.

According to the American Immigration Council:

  • The total value of U.S.-Mexico trade is more than $1 billion every day.
  • More than 13 million Mexicans traveled to the United States in 2010, spending $8.7 billion.
  • Roughly 6 million U.S. jobs are sustained by trade with Mexico.
  • More than 20 percent of all U.S. jobs are tied in some way to trade along the border.

About 670 miles of fencing on the U.S.-Mexico border was completed in accordance with the Secure Fence Act of 2006. That alone cost about $2.4 billion, for roughly one-third of the entire border. The actual cost for the rest of the border wall (roughly 1,300 miles) could be as high as $16 million per mile, with a total price tag of $15 billion to $25 billion. [1]

More than the financial burden, there are treaty obligations and river flood zones would require the wall be built well into the United States. Also, the Tohono O’odham Nation tribal leaders said they would refuse to support building a border wall on their land. [2]

Building a wall is not going to solve the illegal immigration problem. Not a $15 billion wall, not a $25 billion wall — even if “nobody builds walls better than” Trump. It was a catchy sound bite for the campaign trail but the reality should be setting in now that he walks into the Oval Office each day.

Further, Trump’s executive order states,

“In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.”

So … Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen — you’re SOL. (And if the Secretary of Homeland Security so advises, Trump may expand the list.)

However, it is notable that other Muslim countries where Trump has existing businesses — Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Indonesia, Turkey, Qatar, Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, and Azerbaijan — were not included in the executive order.

Remember, 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia and three others, including ringleader Mohamed Atta, were from countries on Trump’s we’re-cool-with-y’all list:

Egypt

  • Mohamed Atta

Lebanon

  • Ziad Jarrah

Saudi Arabia

  • Ahmed al Ghamdi
  • Hamza al Ghamdi
  • Saeed al Ghamdi
  • Hani Hanjour
  • Nawaf al Hazmi
  • Salem al Hazmi
  • Ahmad al Haznawi
  • Ahmed al Nami
  • Khalid al Mihdhar
  • Majed Moqed
  • Abdul Aziz al Omari
  • Mohand al Shehri
  • Wail al Shehri
  • Waleed al Shehri
  • Satam al Suqami

United Arab Emirates

  • Fayez Banihammad
  • Marwan al Shehhi

So … about those “honor” killings:

  • Saudi Arabia — A woman was killed in Saudi Arabia by her father for “chatting” with a man on Facebook. [3]
  • Egypt — A woman and her two daughters were murdered by 10 male relatives, who strangled and beat them and then threw their bodies in the Nile. [4]
  • Turkey — A 16-year-old girl was buried alive by relatives for befriending boys; her corpse was found 40 days after she went missing. [5]
  • Dubai — A woman whose husband alleges she was killed for marrying him against her parents’ wishes was murdered, Pakistani police said. [6]

The only thing more mind-boggling is that Trump’s executive order included the phrase “persecution of those who practice religions different from their own.”

For those who slept through Mr. Puckett’s class, here’s what the First Amendment says:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The Constitution protects the free exercise of religion. All religions. There is not an asterisk at the end of the amendment … yet. In layman’s terms: Muslims are welcome to practice Islam.

I stand corrected; the line in the executive order about “those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation” — that’s also a WTF realization. Do they comprehend “sexual orientation” includes the LGBTQ community? Surely the irony is lost in the West Wing. You cannot kick our gays; only we can kick our gays.

And then there’s the gender issue. The Global Gender Gap Report quantifies the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracks their progress over time. The Global Gender Gap Index measures the relative gaps between women and men across four key areas: health, education, economy, and politics.

Here’s how the U.S. stacks up against other countries including some on Trump’s shall-not-admit list (and note the highest possible score is 1 (equality) and the lowest possible score is 0 (inequality)):

1. Iceland — 0.874
2. Finland — 0.845
3. Norway — 0.842
4. Sweden — 0.815
5. Rwanda — 0.8

13. Germany — 0.766
17. France — 0.755
20. United Kingdom — 0.752
27. Cuba — 0.74
29. Spain — 0.738

45. United States — 0.722

49. Israel — 0.719
66. Mexico — 0.7
74. Venezuela — 0.694
75. Russian Federation — 0.691
79. Brazil — 0.687

86. Azerbaijan — 0.684
88. Indonesia — 0.682
119. Qatar — 0.643
124. United Arab Emirates — 0.639
130. Turkey — 0.623
132. Egypt — 0.614
139. Iran — 0.587
141. Saudi Arabia — 0.583
142. Syria — 0.567
144. Yemen — 0.516

Yes, the United States is closer to the boo-scary countries of Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Egypt, Iran, and Saudi Arabia than Iceland. And we’re supposed to be a “world leader” …

(And no mention of Pakistan, which harbored Osama bin Laden. In fact, OBL was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan in 2011.)

The time is near to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. If anyone remains unsure, Trump was not elected; his entourage was. A cabal of arrogant, xenophobic, misogynistic, narcissistic men is pulling the strings. Trump is, simply, a puppet.

Think that’s over the top? Consider what Trump did Saturday: He signed an executive order that removed the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from the National Security Council … and added Steve Bannon. (Google and read at your leisure.)

Government 101 4-1-1:

  • The Director of National Intelligence serves as the head of the intelligence community, overseeing and directing the implementation of the National Intelligence Program and acting as the principal advisor to the President, the National Security Council, and the Homeland Security Council for intelligence matters related to national security.
  • The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as the senior ranking member of the Armed Forces. As such, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the principal military adviser to the President.
  • Steve Bannon is executive chairman of Breitbart News.

Look past the smile-for-the-camera executive order signings and realize the road ahead is not what we, the people, imagined. Congress, you’re on the clock. It is time to uphold your Constitutional duties. A good conscience is not the only sure reward; our republic is at stake.