Donald Trump’s fear-mongering may be gaining traction among the right-wing, but it completely terrified one eight-year-old girl who feared she might be deported on account of being Muslim. That’s when a number of United States servicemen and women stepped in to offer their support, assuring the young lady—named Sofia—that they had her back with the online campaign #IWillProtectYou.
Trump—the GOP frontrunner in national polls—has notoriously called for a temporary ban on all Muslim immigrants. He’s also taken a strong position against the U.S. sheltering Syrian refugees, regularly exaggerating the number proposed under President Barack Obama’s administration. Though it’s highly unlikely Muslims would be deported under any regime, one can certainly understand how a child might fear otherwise given the alarmist rhetoric.
“Sad day in America when I have to comfort my 8-year-old child who heard that someone with yellow hair named Trump wanted to kick all Muslims out of America,” mother Melissa Chance Yassini posted on Facebook. “She had began collecting all her favorite things in a bag in case the Army came to remove us from our homes. She checked the locks on the door three-four times. This is terrorism. No child in America deserves to feel that way.”
Army veteran and Denver resident Kerri Peek agreed, and she solicited support from others in the armed forces.
“When I read about Ms. Melissa Chance Yassini’s post about her daughter, I posted my picture in the Army,” Peek posted. “I want these precious babies to know that we will not come and grab them out of their homes and hurt them and their families.
“They are afraid of us!! We are the force that stands between precious children and the bad guys. So let’s start a hashtag campaign.
“Will you help me? Post a picture of you in uniform with the hashtag #IWillProtectYou to let these children known that we will not hurt them. That they are safe here in America. That will will protect innocents as we always have and by added benefit keeping our oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution.”
Members of the armed forces responded in inspiring fashion, posting photos of themselves in uniform along with promises to protect those like Sofia.
The response overwhelmed Yassini. She told Unworthy, “’I have probably received close to 500 messages from various people in our military, from just people—Christians, atheists, Jews, every walk of life, every stage, have reached out to Sofia and I with overwhelming support and love.”
Republicans and Democrats alike were quick to condemn Trump’s proposal to ban Muslim immigrants. But despite the widespread rejection, the real-estate mogul’s poll numbers have yet to suffer. In the wake of terror attacks on Paris and San Bernardino, many Americans appear to be searching for strong answers to a growing threat from ISIL and the ever-expanding reach of its propaganda. That’s in turn caused some to embrace a nativist rejection of those with virtually any association to the Middle East.
Indeed, Trump’s rise in popularity seems to mirror right-wing anti-immigration movements that have gained favor in some corners of Europe. Much as his proposed policies run counter to long-held American values, there appears to be a growing constituency that’s largely governed by paranoia and xenophobia.
Meanwhile, more moderate Republicans have failed to gain much traction. Texas Senator Ted Cruz has rocketed to a firm second-place standing in the polls with similarly staunch positions, even suggesting that Syrian refugees should be sorted out so that Christians were allowed into the country first.
While the United States has denied entry to some immigrants on the basis of nationality during wartime, there’s little precedent for any kind of religious test. Such a notion seems unthinkable given the founding fathers’ deep belief in religious freedom—a natural consequence of a nation founded by many who were fleeing religious persecution.
As it turns out, the politically-motivated demonization of Muslims appears to have real consequences. Beyond the sporadic hate crimes that have been documented in recent weeks, one child’s fears speak volumes about Trump’s polarizing invectives.
Fortunately, the support of American armed forces is speaking even louder.