“Make America Great” sounds like a fine slogan until you add the “Again.” Exactly which past America does President Donald Trump think was “great?” When we enslaved people for over 200 years under the racist rhetoric that because their skin was a different color, they weren’t fully human? How about when only white men could vote? Or when we put Japanese Americans in internment camps?

Under the Trump administration, this nation is repeating its past of inequality in a number of ways, including inhumane treatment of immigrants and inequality for members of the LGBTQ community.

The migrant detention centers can be accurately described as concentration camps according to historians and concentration camp experts. Concentration camps during the Holocaust, such as Auschwitz, were not only concentration camps, but also extermination camps. The U.S. Holocaust Museum defines a concentration camp as, “a camp in which people are detained or confined, usually under harsh conditions and without regard to legal norms of arrest and imprisonment that are acceptable in a constitutional democracy.” That is what is happening in America today. Children are separated from their parents. Migrants are forced to sleep on cement and not given soap, toothpaste, or access to showers. They are in overly crowded spaces full of sick people who are not given proper medical care. Twenty-four immigrants, seven of which were children, have died in U.S. custody under the current administration.

The administration has been no friend of LGBTQ people either. They banned transgender people from joining the military. As for transgender people already in the military, it is required that they have been formally diagnosed of gender dysphoria, and if they are not, they must serve with the gender they were assigned at birth or leave. Trump also opposes the Equality Act, which would prohibit “discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in a wide variety of areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system.” The administration has even gone as far as to defend health workers who don’t want to treat LGBT patients because of religious reasons. Even if belonging to the LGBT community were a sin, it is ridiculous to not treat someone because of that. When’s the last time you went to the doctor and they wouldn’t treat you because you told a lie last week, or they asked if you’ve ever committed adultery because if so, it’d be against their religion to help you?

I am writing to this highly conservative area to urge you to please reconsider if you are planning on voting for Trump in 2020. We cannot be “the land of the free” by utilizing concentration camps for immigrants who simply want to flee extreme poverty and gang violence, and refusing to protect our own citizens against discrimination for their sexual/gender identify. Being a Republican, being a Christian, or valuing tradition does not mean you have to support a man who deprives people of basic human rights.

 

Tate-Madison Bell,

Centralia

 

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