This story was originally e-mailed in The Slant on June 30, 2017.
On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that the executive order banning visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen will be reinstated. Visitors who don’t have an immediate family member or legitimate business tie could be blocked from entering.
While President Trump frames the travel ban as protecting the safety of Americans, many see it as a validation of Islamophobia, which has rapidly emerged from the shame shadows since Trump’s election.
Still, some might even call the ban presidential. After all, President Chester A. Arthur signed something kinda like it back in 1882: the Chinese Exclusion Act. History repeats itself.
But … some of us are trying?
Meanwhile, in Rockville, Maryland, city officials took a different tack. Leaning into diversity, Rockville displayed the 193 flags of the United Nations downtown. But the gesture was met with protest: specifically, against the flags of Iraq and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, which defeated South Vietnam in 1975.
For many Vietnamese residents, the presence of the flag reminds them of the Vietnam War and its aftermath, evoking memories of pain, struggle, and loss. That’s why other cities with a sizeable South Vietnamese diaspora, including San Jose, choose to fly only the South Vietnamese flag.
Now, Rockville city officials are reconsidering which flags to display, and more importantly, they’re thinking about what counts as inclusive and what might do the opposite. Fine line there.
tl;dr: While the president’s banning visitors, Marylanders are learning how to make everyone feel included. Maybe we can award an A for effort.
— Chery Sutjahjo, editor