Donald Trump’s Muslim ban may have been stayed by the Ninth circuit Court of Appeals this week, but a vast proportion of the country still agrees with it.
If you are debating the topic with a conservative, you may be tempted to appeal to your own liberal values, but as Robb Will, professor of Sociology at Stanford University says in his TED talk “How to Have Better Political Conversations”, liberals and conservatives tend to come at issues from separate moral standpoints.
While liberals favor equality, fairness, care and protection, conservatives are committed to patriotism and loyalty, respect for authority, and purity and sanctity.
So how do we re-frame the Muslim Ban to make it as antithetical to conservative values as it is to liberal ones?
Conservatives tend to believe there’s a need for stronger vetting of refugees. Today, any refugee coming from one of the seven target countries on Trump’s ban list has to go through rigorous rounds of vetting, including biometric scans, and multiple interviews and screenings with the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA and the FBI.
Even so, say conservatives, sometimes evil people slip through the cracks.
Except they don’t. Not a single refugee from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen has ever committed an act of terror on American soil. The American vetting system for these seven countries has a 100% success rate – calling into question the need for a ban.
The real threat is home-grown terrorism. When a terrorist attack is carried out by a rogue agent in a western country, ISIS often steps up to take responsibility. But the truth is that ISIS likely had never heard of these terrorists until after their names are splashed across the news. ISIS believes that the Syrian city of Dabiq, near Aleppo, is where the last holy war will take place. Not Texas. Not Nebraska, Not Wisconsin – Syria.
What’s important to remember, and to make conservatives understand, is that the specter of ISIS is far more dangerous than ISIS itself.
Mistrust of Muslims is engendered through many channels, including the media, but it is possible to use conservative values to combat this demonisation by explaining that the first amendment specifically calls for Americans to be free to practice their religion.
Another avenue of persuasion is to appeal to conservatives’ reverence for the office of the President itself. Politics is not about charging head first into situations; it’s about taking a measured approach. Donald Trump is not a diplomat and his rash ban was an embarrassment to the office, and the country. Conservatives may be open to hearing how Donald Trump could damage America’s standing internationally by making such reckless choices.
Finally, I would point to the Tale of the Good Samaritan. When a stranger is in need, fleeing war and terror, you do not turn away from them. It is morally wrong. It is inhumane.
More than that, it is un-human.