Donald Trump, and his views on immigration, is bringing out the worst of the Republican Party. Unfortunately, it's a strain of hatred and bigotry that goes back to the Know-Nothing Party and its hatred of Catholics, particularly the Irish. Trump, as you know, among other things, wants to deport all illegal aliens, build a giant wall along the Mexican border (and get them to pay for it!) and end birthright citizenship. What is shocking to me is others running for the Republican nomination actually support some or all of this plan.
My views on immigration are far from either the Left or the Right in that I'm in favor of something as close to open borders as possible. In my view, if someone wants to come to America, come on in. I see very little downside and mostly upside to this trade. People coming to America, desirous of work, desirous of making a better life for themselves and their children? Please come and be my neighbor. I reject the call of the Right and the Left to limit immigration to high-skilled workers or only allow in those under a guest-worker program. Let them all in: the tired, poor, hungry yearning to be free. Let them in.
Strangely enough, Americans have had a love/hate relationship with immigrants since our founding. The Irish, the Italians, Germans, Jews, Poles, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Central Americans and Mexicans were all dirty, poor, uneducated, parasites coming here only to spread their diseases, Popish religion, obedience to monarchy. They were unwilling to become "true" Americans; they stayed in their own communities; they spoke their own language; they practiced their own religion; they weren't one us. They were the other, the outsider. This hatred that Trump espouses is nothing new; neither is its vileness.
And in my mind, at least in in the sense that this is an immigrant nation, this hatred of immigrants is unhinged. I understand why this influx of strangers with different customs is upsetting to people and I know I am far removed from the discomfort can cause to established neighborhoods. But still. My paternal great grandparents come to America during the Irish potato famine. And my maternal ancestors came from French Canada. My wife's ancestors also came from Ireland and were Native Americans. I know your ancestors were not indigenous to America. Of the 330 million Americans I would guess less than 1% are native.
What bothers me most about the Trump hatred is the attempt to blame Mexico for many of the troubles in America. Jobs are tough to find? Blame the Mexicans. Factories are moving out of your community? Blame the Mexicans. It's the other. The outsider. The one who isn't like you that is responsible for your woes. All demagogues use the other as a way to avoid responsibility. Hitler was the example par excellence, but Stalin, Castro, Pol Pot, Idi Amin and every other tyrant uses the other as an excuse to gain and consolidate power. And I am quite aware I just compared Trump to mass murderers.
I read this morning in Ben Domenech's "The Transom,"
Many Republicans support an end to birthright citizenship. Mitch McConnell held hearings on it in 2010, and Steve King and David Vitter have introduced the current versions of the legislation aimed at doing so. In the presidential field, Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham, Chris Christie, Rick Santorum and others have backed ending birthright citizenship. In the wake of Donald Trump’s immigration proposal, two more have added their support for the idea: Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal, the latter of which is a birthright citizen himself. In scattered polling on the issue, a minority of Americans but a majority of Republicans support the idea.Have they lost their minds? For God's sake Bobby Jindal was born in America of non-American citizens. Even setting aside the Constitution and the 14th Amendment, it's just common sense: If you were born in America, you are an American. Hard Stop!
While the Democrats haven't been as anti-immigration as Republicans, they too blame the other. It's just that the other for the Democrats are the Koch Brothers and Insurance Companies and Wall Street. Frankly, just as ignorant as Trump and the modern Know Nothing Party.
This is becoming a choice between dumb and dumber.
I'm so depressed.