Much has been said about Trump’s recent executive order banning entry from seven arbitrary but scary-sounding countries in which he, totally by accident, does not have any business interests. While liberal scare-mongers frighten innocent airport travelers with Sharpie-scented Amazon box panels, many of Trump’s own Republican Party members worry that the ban is ill-advised and counter-productive. Indeed, Trump’s own administration officials publicly express concern that they have no idea what’s in the orders and would like their boss to tell them about it sometime.
However, the long-term implications of his orders are unclear. People on the left and in the middle argue that Trump’s order is shameful and un-American. People on the right argue that his order is simply ill-advised and badly implemented. If we take the average of these viewpoints, then all we can surmise at this point is that the order was basically dumb. Not quite Iraq-level dumb, but definitely worse than Iran-Contra. Let’s call it Katrina-level dumb. That’s pretty high on the dumb scale—in the zone of what scholars refer to as “historically tragic dumbness.”
Since only history can effectively weigh the damage being done by Trump’s actions, everyone needs to stop for a moment and consider the possibility that, as blunt an instrument as it is, this ban is exactly what America needs. Despite how heartless it seems, maybe we need to ban certain Middle Eastern foods.
Maybe, in other words, Trump is right: we should immediately suspend importation from these countries. At least until a new process of extreme smelling is in place.
Hear me out.
Now, I know that, technically speaking, no Middle Eastern foods have ever committed an act of terrorism on U.S. soil. The closest example we have is the one time that a baklava spill on I-495 set off alarm that it was going to take an extra hour to drive from Fairfax to Silver Spring, instead of the usual eight. Yet we can acknowledge that there is literally no connection between Middle Eastern foods and terrorism while also acknowledging that many of these foods are weird and spicy. If we don’t stand up now and take action to protect our grocery stores and ethnic restaurant sectors, then we may eventually find ourselves living in a country where take-out Chinese is a lot less popular. We can’t afford to let people eat a tiny fraction less take-out Chinese.
It’s also worth considering the ban from the perspective of terrorists themselves. As we all know, radical Islamic terrorism is a virulent and destructive ideology that feeds itself on food. Specifically, Middle Eastern food. And I’m not talking just about hummus here—though that is the best-known and most over-exposed kind—but any sort of pita accessory. Shawarma, falafel, tabouleh—they all can be eaten with pita bread! What’s more, terrorists eat other kinds of food that most Americans don’t even know exist, like manakeesh. Would you eat something named manakeesh? It’s the pizza of the Arabic world.
Until we firmly reject these foods, terrorists will think us weak-minded and easily threatened. They will never leave us alone unless we show that we are determined to prevent their culture’s delicious cuisine from infiltrating our society. It may be a blunt instrument, but banning the importation of any sort of chickpea dip is the first step to asserting our resolve. First hummus, then lesser-known kabobs, and then we can do something about spanakopita.
The danger is that, by eating these foods, we are taking a short but crucial step toward implementing sharia law and abandoning Judeo-Christian values forever. Even not eating these foods means that we’re complicit in supporting terrorism. Right now, maybe, terrorists are using pictures of Americans acting grossed out by dips that do not contain mayonnaise or tomato blood to recruit more disaffected youth to their cause. Youth who eat. Youth who eat—you guessed it—hummus.
So I urge all Americans, right and left, to take a step back from the nearly universal, bipartisan condemnation of Trump’s actions, and consider what’s at stake here. Does Iran want us to import their foods? Yes. Do Syrian refugees want to eat food themselves—any kind of food? Yes. Do Iraqi green-card holders want us to follow our own laws that have previously approved them for residence in our country? Yes!
But what do Americans think?
What is in America’s interest?
That is the only question that matters. That and whether any American can tear himself away from the NFL and/or “How to Get Away With Murder” on ABC long enough to wonder where Libya, Somalia, Sudan, or Yemen are, or what’s been going on there.
The answer to both questions is difficult, but easy: Huh?