31 JAN 2017: My daughter was on the Toronto GO train when two young women (likely inebriated) were watching videos on a cell phone, laughing and using expletives. Two older women (likely inebriated) apparently took offense to the behaviour and issued a barrage of degrading insults at the younger women. They used language unbecoming to a grandma (my daughter’s words).

This incident weighed on me, the blatant disrespect that flowed so freely.

Two days after that incident, US President Trump signed the executive order to ban citizens carrying passports from seven Muslim countries from entering the states for a temporary period and denying all refugee claims indefinitely.

Yes, there is turmoil in these countries, but these citizens have not brought acts of terror to American soil. In fact some of America’s finest talents are from these countries.

The father of Steve Jobs was a Syrian refugee.  The grandparents of Jerry Seinfeld were also from Syria, in fact from Aleppo. Designer Isaac Mizrahi came from Syrian Russian immigrants, Stanley Cup champion Brandon Saad’s father was born in Syria.

The crooner who wrote the song to Trump’s inaugural dance with his wife Melania, “My way” is the son of a Syrian man.  Paul Anka* was born in Canada, so we share pride for his accomplishments with the United States. And Syria.

Whether this ban will be legally binding is unclear, but the repercussions are certain.

This tactic is similar to a couple in a nasty divorce when one party calls the police frivolously and the children see their parent get questioned by the police.  Even if the call to law enforcement officers is without merit, the image the child takes away is that their parent did something very bad.

Americans will consider the citizens of these countries to be very bad.

On the campaign trail Mr Trump said, “We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people.”

Not necessary Mr President.

Love your family deeply. Love your country faithfully, but treat all people respectfully; the ones beside you on a train, the ones who visit from oceans away, the one’s whose country you enter freely.

* "Comme d'habitude" (French for "As usual") was composed in 1967 by Claude François and Jacques Revaux. Paul Anka heard the song, bought publication and adaptation rights, and rewrote the lyrics as ‘My Way’ though the original songwriters retained the music-composition half of their songwriter royalties.

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Pam Stellini

Pam Stellini is an original. Her quirky outlook and wry humour defy categorization. Readers have compared her to Erma Bombeck and Art Buchwald with a travel spin – and we're not about to argue. 

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