A loose translation of the well-known Latin phrase “don’t let em grind you down” would seem to be appropriate right about now, considering the demonstrations and rioting following the inauguration of President Donald Trump, and continuing in various cities around the United States, and even other parts of the world.
It would seem that every anarchist and domestic terrorist showed up in Washington, D.C. on Inauguration Day, determined to try to disrupt the festivities. When they realized that they weren’t going to succeed in their primary goal, they decided to go on a rampage and destroy as much property and as many businesses as they could. Since likely none of them hold a regular job nor possess any property of their own, destroying other people’s property and disrupting their lives is what they do best.
The following day was another extravaganza topped off by the former “Material Girl” Madonna’s vulgar and profanity-laced tirade, including her visions of “blowing up the White House.” Apparently it matters not to Madonna that innocent people also work in the Executive Mansion.
A week later in New York following the president’s executive order on immigration – what is falsely being called a “Muslim ban” – ‘social media protesters’ came out like clockwork to argue against Trump’s temporary cessation of visas for some unstable countries with a history of violent extremism. What is being done is simply to give us an opportunity to look at our vetting process for issuing visas for entry into the United States.
Maybe we need to take a look at that process so people have a better understanding of just what the reality is – not State Department spin – about what goes on in our American Consular services. Do you know who does the vetting of visa applications right now? Likely it's some junior Foreign Service Officer usually right out of college on their first overseas tour, with very little life experience much less experience in the country they're being assigned to.
The State Department requires them to complete some minimal training at the Foreign Service Institute in Washington, D.C., where it mostly involves learning State Department rules and regulations, diplomatic protocol, embassy security and handling classified information, and short briefings on different regions and customs of the world – in other words, “How to be a good diplomat.”
They are then assigned as Consular Officers and expected to process visa applications on people they don’t really have a single clue about, using database information that is inadequate, often times inaccurate or incomplete, or barely existent. And often in countries who don't cooperate, and who really don't care if someone comes to the U.S. with bad intentions. About all they can do is make sure that on the visa form the box that says "I am not a terrorist" has an ‘X’ in it, and then run a name check.
Sorting out who is a bad guy and who isn't is nearly impossible. Unless the person is flagged as a criminal or terrorist, they usually are issued the type of visa they are applying for. Asylum visas only take a little longer. They basically have to write a statement claiming that they are a persecuted religion, or political entity, or ethnicity.
Name checks are worthless if nothing has ever been entered into a database on an individual. He may be a terrorist or terrorist sympathizer, but if he has never been caught committing an act of terrorism he's not going to be in any database, and thus likely eligible for a visa.
Even the CIA and FBI will not have any negative information in their databases on someone if they have not been connected to terrorism or another criminal act. Someone has to actually enter something into a database before anyone will ever see it. That's the reality that they are trying to fix during this temporary cessation of visas.
Sadly what's happening right now is things are spinning out of control on Facebook and Twitter, and people are getting all fired up without really knowing the facts. Unfortunately some politicians don't want people to know the truth. And others aren't taking the time to read and really understand what is taking place.
I'm not a fan of blanket bans on anybody, but I think it's entirely reasonable to take common sense precautions. And I’m betting most Americans agree.
In the meantime Mr. President, “don’t let em grind you down.”