Protests erupted this weekend across the nation in defiance of President Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim majority countries. These spontaneous protests against the travel ban got significant coverage in the media, and in progressive circles, the show of strength from liberals across the country embolden them to plan more acts of dissent to stop the new administration’s agenda.

I too was disappointed with the ban, but unlike many other progressives, my outrage was not as pronounced, and in the end, I felt the ill executed order did not justify the reaction it received.

I admit this because I feel it is necessary in the coming years that progressives channel their energy to the most important assaults on the freedoms of this nation, and unfortunately, as awful as the order was, it is not the event which should have been the focus of protests this weekend, but a distraction. Liberals must understand that the timing of this order was no coincidence, with the announcement of former Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon’s placement on the National Security Council, and this latest executive order was nothing more than an effort to distract the public from a stone-cold power grab.

Travel ban

First, my position on the travel ban is decidedly against, and furthermore, I believe the ban will eventually have the opposite effect than its intended consequence of making Americans safer.

The roll out of this order, as many ventures Trump has undertaken, was dysfunctional, ill-advised, and thoroughly mismanaged. Heartbreaking scenes were captured of decent people handcuffed and paraded through airport security like lepers from a medieval village. This is not what America is.

That being said, according to a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center in October 2016, 54 percent of voters believe the U.S.

does not have a responsibility to accept refugees from Syria, and a recent Quinnipiac poll conducted found 48 percent of Americans support "suspending immigration from 'terror prone' regions, even if it means turning away refugees from those regions." I disagree with the sentiment that this ban was intentionally ordered to stop Muslims from immigrating to this country.

If that was the case, the list of countries banned would include more than seven nations and not just be directed at one region of the world. A region of the world I might add which is highly unstable and a hotbed for terrorist activity. This ban, whether you agree with it or not, is supported by a majority of Americans, and affects a small sampling of Muslim majority countries; this order was nothing more than a diversion.

Fox in the hen house

Bannon’s access to the President and swift rise to the top of the administration is more alarming than anything Trump has signed or tweeted. Bannon’s alt-right beliefs, which are in line with the racist ideology of the White Nationalist movement, are repugnant and an assault on over 50 years of progress in the civil rights of minorities.

The fact the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Director of National Intelligence were kicked out as principals on the National Security Council, and had their power usurped by Bannon should alarm every progressive and American. Liberals must understand, as horrified as we are with the conduct and dysfunction of Trump, and his onslaught of executive orders, the true fox in the hen house and threat to our democracy is Bannon.

Liberals must protest and fixate our energies on forcing the Trump administration to relieve Bannon of his duties on the council and ultimately from the administration altogether. Throughout history, fascists used misdirection and propaganda to divert attention away from their true, more sinister motives. After the actions of this weekend, Bannon’s mastery of this historical lesson is undeniable.