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The Resistance Prays

October 30, 2018
By Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons

Today's Top Story
"Trump claims he can defy Constitution and end birthright citizenship," via CNN. "President Donald Trump offered a dramatic, if legally dubious, promise in a new interview to unilaterally end birthright citizenship, ratcheting up his hardline immigration rhetoric with a week to go before critical midterm elections."
Scripture 
"Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city." - Proverbs 16:32
Trump Vows to End Birthright Citizenship
Last night I made the mistake of watching cable news, which always unsettles me. Then I woke up and checked Twitter in bed (another mistake). I discovered the latest attempt by Trump to rile up his anti-immigrant base: he vowed (again) to end birthright citizenship. 

Remember: The US Constitution was amended 150 years ago to include the words: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States." This is part of the 14th Amendment, passed after the Civil War to enshrine rights for former slaves in the constitution.  

Trump claims that he thought it would take a constitutional amendment to end birthright citizenship, but now White House Counsel tells him he can do it through executive order. That decision would surely head straight for the Supreme Court.

As I began to write this morning before work, I thought of several approaches to the topic.
  1. I could lament white supremacy's long history. The 14th Amendment was bitterly opposed by the states of the defeated Confederacy, which were forced to ratify it in order to get representation in Congress again. I could easily argue that this white supremacist thread in American public life never went away and is now gaining a foothold again. 
  2. I could be more positive, defending birthright citizenship as if it were a real debate. This path would lead me to cite famous Republicans Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal, who themselves benefited from birthright citizenship. 
  3. Or I could again cite the 92 verses in the Hebrew Bible or Matthew 25 to make the Biblical case for God's concern about immigrants. We've quoted those verses in this newsletter so many times that I hope we have them all memorized. 
Instead, I want to focus on patience and self-control. Trump is throwing everything he's got at his base to get them to the polls, and he thinks white identity politics is the best way to achieve that goal. Our reaction should be to note this development, vow to defend the Constitution should Trump trample on it, and get back to the most important election of our lives.
Act
Let out your anger at this news, take a deep breath, and get back to turning out voters. Still looking for a congressional race to volunteer with during this final week? Commit to at least one volunteer shift with a candidate through Swing Left. Sign up here.
Pray
My adaptation of Reinhold Niehbur's Serenity Prayer.

God grant me the serenity
to accept that Trump will try to distract me; 
courage to do what I can personally to defeat him; 
and focus to keep my mind and heart on the common good.
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