The Big Issue the Republicans are pushing for the mid-term election is the migrant caravan (invasion!) approaching from Latin America. Shockingly (to me), this has actually gained traction with “base” voters in the Trump Party. Monday’s New York Times (October 29th) quoted Alicia Hooten from Murphysboro, Illinois, as saying it was a “ploy to destroy America, and to bring us to our knees. I’m not going to take it --- not going to go down without a fight.” What is confusing about Ms. Hooten’s statement are the sheer facts that make it ludicrous. The United States of America is a nation of over 325 million people (2017 census estimate). How, under any circumstances, are between 3,000 and 7,000 (mostly women & children) from Honduras and Guatemala going to “bring us to our knees?” This is not an imminent threat by any stretch of the imagination. Most of the Fox News “commentators” (posing as “journalists” – talk about Fake News) have been stoking the fires about this “invasion,” claiming the caravan is rife with disease (while also warning, as Trevor Noah pointed out, of all the “strapping young men” who were bent on raping our women and stealing our jobs or worse!). All of this flies in the face of facts, of course, but that has never stopped our Liar-in-Chief from pressing those racist and xenophobic hot buttons he knows his “base” will respond to.
Surprisingly, Shepard Smith, a Fox News anchor, actually told his audience:
There is no invasion. No one’s coming to get you. There’s nothing at all to worry about. But tomorrow is one week before the midterm election — which is what all of this is about. (HuffPost 10/29/2018)
And he’s correct, of course. (He also pointed out that the caravan is still about 1,000 miles from the U.S. border) Since his announcement about running for President in June of 2015, we know that Donald Trump --- a self-defined “nationalist” (read: white supremacist) --- has been banging on the anti-immigrant/racism drum incessantly and deepening the divisions in this country. The “President” tweeted “Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border” without a shred of evidence! Last week, when asked for proof, he had to roll back on his statement that “Middle Easterners” were among the migrants. But the notion of facts, evidence, or proof are not coin in the realm of Donald Trump and his minions.
In the wake of the pipe bomb mailings and the synagogue slaughter on Saturday, Trump also denied any responsibility for inciting such actions. Yet the evidence is pretty clear: The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism reported that hate crimes in the U.S.A.’s ten largest cities were up 12% since 2017 (New York is down 2% and Chicago is down 14%). The FBI reported that the number of hate crimes also increased nationally, with anti-Semitic crimes rising 55% and anti-Muslim crimes increasing by 25% (Washington Post, Nov. 17, 2017). Are we really to believe that the incendiary rhetoric of our fact-free President has not influenced this rise in hate? Wasn’t it a clear “green light” when the Charlottesville white supremacists marched with their Tiki Torches chanting “Jews will not replace us” and our “President” claimed “there are good people on both sides?”
And now, as if wishing can make something so, the “President” is sending 5,200 troops to our southern border to “repel” this invasion (where the “invaders,” in fact, will apply for admission to our country as refugees!). Wednesday’s NY Times (Oct. 31st) documents a number of problems connected to this “strategy.” #1 – estimated costs are in the $35 million range for the proposed 45-day deployment of troops. #2 – we will have fewer troops to deploy in the event of a natural disaster or special needs (engineers, medical staff, logistical personnel) in a current war zone. #3 – Consuming resources (air transport, food and housing, other vehicles)which might better be allocated elsewhere (or, again, ready for an emergency). #4 – Secretary of Defense Mattis opposed this allocation of troops because they can only provide logistical support to Border Agents and are specifically prohibited from engaging in any kind of combat at the border! In other words, this is “all hat, no cattle,” as they say in Texas. Problem #5 -- the 2014 “Ebola Scare.” You may or may not remember that in 2014 there was an Ebola outbreak in 3 West African countries. Mr. Trump was one of the first to urge our leaders to “shut our borders” at the time, falsely claiming the U.S.A. was at risk of an Ebola outbreak (two U.S. citizens ultimately died of Ebola). It was a raging (anti-Obama, who refused to shut our borders) controversy until Election Day and, after that, the story disappeared. Talk about “false flags!” Finally, #6 – the troops, deployed only until December 15th, might be gone before the caravan even arrives! Still 900 to 1,000 miles away --- and walking on foot, which amounts to about 20 miles per day --- they probably will not arrive at the U.S. southern border until around December 15th, when the troops would be leaving! So, what we’re seeing is callous move by a calculating President to drum up support for Republican candidates by claiming the Democrats have actually created this caravan (ah, yes, George Soros is funding it! Why and how this is so --- facts not necessary to convince Trump supporters) the rhetoric is clearly designed to swing the election. Once again, according to Alicia Hooten of Murphysboro, Illinois: “I think they’re all involved in this (referring to Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mr. Soros). I feel it’s treason.” Of course, the Liar-in-Chief, at a rally in Kentucky proclaimed that Democrats, “want to open America’s borders and turn our country into a friendly sanctuary for murderous thugs from other countries who will kill us all.” His supporters need no corroborating evidence, no facts.
Preying on the fears of primarily white people from the “heartland,” the “President” continues his assault on the Free Press (“Fake News”) while blatantly lying day in and day out. (His latest is the claim that we are the only country that grants birthright citizenship when, in fact, at least 30 others nations do --- including Canada and Mexico). The crass irony of Trump claiming the refugee caravan of 3,000 to 7,000 (mostly) women and children are going to “invade” our country certainly flies in the face of our history. The states that Trump is so dead set on “protecting” --- Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California --- were stolen from Mexico by “Manifest Destiny” driven Americans --- particularly Southern slave owners who saw the potential for several new “slave” states (below the 1820 36-30 line of the Missouri Compromise, which designated “free” northern states from “slave” southern states). It was, in fact, (and appropriately?) a trumped up war based on a phony premise (Mexico “invaded” Texas territory – at best, they entered a disputed section of territory) driven by the belief that White America had a God-given (Manifest) Destiny to settle from “sea to shining sea.” 170 years later, our latter day James K. Polk (a Kentucky Jacksonian Democrat) is stoking the same racist fires, claiming in the same manner that White America must protect itself from these “brown hoards” who want a piece of our God-given pie.
Please vote on November 6th.