To quote the Fox News guy who’s quickly becoming a hero of mine, “There is no invasion. No one’s coming to get you. There is nothing at all to worry about.”
Shepard Smith was referring to this much-discussed caravan of refugees making their way to the Land of the Free from Central America. These are desperate people carrying pretty much everything they own to try to make a new life for themselves and their families.
Like so many who’ve come here before, they’re fleeing crime and poverty. They’re expected to arrive at our border in about two months.
Donald Trump wants you to think they’re coming for your lives, wives and children. He wants you to get as shrill and hysterical as he behaves. He wants you to believe “this is an invasion,” requiring the immediate presence of 5,200 additional troops at the border and ultimately as many as 15,000.
But as Smith reminded us the other night, “We’re America. We can handle it.”
Trump’s latest attempt to frighten you is a GOP campaign video featuring an illegal immigrant who murdered two cops and laughingly bragged in court he wished he had killed more. Then the ad shows footage of migrant caravans.
So you’re supposed to watch this ad and assume the caravan is really an army of killers, rapists and gang members. Sort of an echo of these repeated references to the MS-13 gang Trump brings up when he wants to scare you about brown people.
[Editor’s note: Sloth Blog will not promote this deceptive propaganda by linking to the video. If you really want to see it, ask Google.]
Now, the number of people taking part in this current caravan reportedly ranges from about 3,500 to 7,000. I imagine the odds are pretty good there are some not-so-nice individuals among them.
But based on the Republicans’ argument, none of you with Italian last names should be in America now. It’s pretty likely your ancestors arrived with the waves of immigrants which brought the Mafia to our country – and how many citizens have been killed by those guys over the generations?
So maybe in the 1930s, ads featuring the mugshot of notorious Mob boss Charles “Lucky” Luciano – an Italian immigrant – should have been used to keep our shores safe from that dangerous country.
Of course, by that same rationale we can also use the psycho who massacred people in a Pittsburgh synagogue last week as a poster boy for all white Christian men.
Unfortunately, such portrayals don’t really jibe with images we’ve seen of families and children in the caravan, so the GOP added a new line of attack. This week, commentators at Fox News claimed the caravan is also bringing pestilence into our country.
One idiot actually said these folks are “coming in with diseases such as smallpox and leprosy and TB (tuberculosis) that are going to infect our people in the United States.”
I’m not making this up.
For the record, the last case of smallpox was diagnosed in 1977. Leprosy was eliminated as a public health problem in 2000, with the majority of cases reported in India. I’m not sure of the latest figures for locusts, famine, or the bubonic plague.
But funny thing – this is the same sort of histrionics used to scare real Americans about those damn Irish fleeing their homeland in the previous two centuries. Or for that matter, employed by Nazis to whip up anti-Semitic fervor in Europe a few decades ago.
Normally I try not to react to Trump’s rants – typically attempts to distract you from the Robert Mueller investigation or GOP plans to gut Social Security and Medicare. Unfortunately, we’re talking about people’s lives here.
And let’s not forget – these are people. They’re kids and mothers and fathers and old people and young people who want a better life. Consider for a moment how desperate they have to be to embark on this grueling march.
I mean, check the news footage. These folks don’t have a hell of a lot. Do they seriously look like an invading army looking to overthrow our government?
A lot of them are seeking asylum here in the Land of the Free, so Trump wants to do away with that process.
I realize Sen. Ted Cruz relinquished his political testicles a long time ago, but he’s slinking to a new low if he doesn’t defend this process now. As someone whose own father sought asylum here after leaving his native Cuba, he should have some appreciation for what these people are trying to achieve.
Or at least more appreciation than Trump, who now claims to have very high standards for immigrants – after his mother came to America from Scotland to work as a maid and his wife came here from Slovenia as a fashion model.
Maybe instead of sending 15,000 troops to the border we should send an army of immigration and security officials to process these people, determine who qualifies for asylum and weed out anyone with bad intentions.
But no, despite what you’re being told, the zombie apocalypse is not upon us. Monsters are not at your door.
There is, however, one frightened fella sitting in the Oval Office right now. Only it’s not zombies or even immigrants who have him scared – it’s you.
Because if you don’t vote his way this week, he might wind up with a Congress he can’t manipulate and intimidate, and who will want answers to a whole lot of questions he doesn’t want to provide.
Most of D. Allan Kerr’s immigrant ancestors were white, Protestant and English-speaking, so their arrival was not quite so controversial.
(Nov. 3, 2018)
Follow, connect, empathize, and harass D. Allan Kerr on Twitter @Sloth_Blog