From the Super Bowl to Silicon Valley and federal court, the deplored American elite—corporate heavyweights, billionaires, the old political establishment—is attempting to form a wall against what they regard as a threat to the way the modern world works.
In a federal appeals court today (Feb. 6) in San Francisco, a bipartisan group of 10 retired senior spies and diplomats filed a legal brief urging the repeal of an executive order by president Donald Trump halting foreign visitors from seven majority- Muslim nations. The affidavit’s co-authors include former CIA director Michael Hayden and two former US secretaries of state, John Kerry and Madeleine Albright.
The court is deciding whether to uphold Trump’s order or to declare it unconstitutional; on Feb. 3, a court in Washington state halted the order temporarily while the matter is decided.
The brief by the spies and diplomats resembles one filed Feb. 5 by 97 companies—mostly big names in technology like Apple, Google, Air BnB and Facebook, but also others like Levi Strauss—that also oppose Trump’s order.
“This order cannot be justified on national security or foreign policy grounds,” the spies and diplomats said in their brief. “It does not perform its declared task of ‘protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.'”
During his campaign, Trump repeatedly denounced the old political establishment, which he said had cut bad trade deals, treaties, and arms agreements. He lumped them in with an allegedly corrupt international, financial cabal that had damaged the US and hurt ordinary Americans, along with heartless companies that heedlessly sent jobs abroad.
Critics have condemned Trump’s attacks as conspiratorial, an attempt to tear down a carefully built international economic and diplomatic order that has kept big nations from going to war with one another for seven decades.
In the two months since his election, an increasing number of his targets have begun to organize to preserve the world order, including some of the world’s billionaires.
And during the Super Bowl on Feb. 5, commercial after commercial celebrated American diversity and US immigration. Among those perceiving a corporate political message was Hans Noel, a politics and government professor at Georgetown University. He tweeted:
Noel elaborated on this observation in an email exchange today. “It’s pretty bland to say ‘everyone is great,’ and it only seems political because Trump’s policies are read as being at odds with that,” he wrote. “I do think, though, that this suggests that the idea that the American zeitgeist is suddenly anti-diversity is wrong.”