I recently read an article by a conservative writer who I normally respect. But this piece brought me up short. In it, he defends the recent immigration edicts of Donald Trump, our so-called president. In doing so, he argues that: 1. We are, after all, at war with Muslims and 2. Illegal Mexican immigration “puts American culture at risk.” Plus, he asserts that there is no prejudice against Chinese and Indian immigrants. I thought I’d share the letter I wrote in response.
To whom it may concern,
This was not, to my mind, an example of your best work. On the positive side, I think that most immigrants from India and China will be pleasantly surprised, indeed shocked, to discover that they have never encountered prejudice here in the USA.
On the negative side, I didn’t realize we had declared war on Muslims. If we are indeed at war, please don’t notify the millions of Muslims in the US and the hundreds of millions in Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia. They don’t seem to have gotten the memo either. If they’d known they were at war, they probably would have harmed us by now. I can only pray that Trump’s hateful actions don’t get them good and riled up, stoking a real war with actual adversaries. That would be very bad for everybody.
Trump minions hate Muslims, but not because we are at war them, which we’re not. They hate Muslims for all the time honored reasons: because Muslims are in the wrong tribe, because they wear funny clothes and because a demagogue has whipped his stooges into a racist frenzy. The problem is, of course, that this frenzy is misdirected. Yes, Islamic terrorism is a danger, but so is getting hit by lightning. In the heartland, there are much worse dangers. Thousands of young people die every year in the heartland from opiate overdoses, yet the minions insist that Muslim immigrants are a mortal threat? If they want to know the real problem (which they don’t), maybe they should take a look in the mirror.
I think it’s interesting that Saudi Arabia was not among the countries included in the immigrant interdict. Of all Muslim countries, Saudi Arabia is the most oppressive and is probably the greatest threat to us. They finance ISIS. Many of the 9-11 perpetrators were Saudis. Osama bin Laden was from a very high ranking Saudi family and had much support among the elite. And yet the Saudis got off scot free. You don’t suppose that Trump has business interests with Saudis?
The absence of Saudi Arabia from the ban underscores the craven political nature of Trump’s actions. I don’t know if Trump himself hates Muslims or not. What I do know is that there are no moral constraints on the depths to which Trump might descend to bolster his power and flatter his own vanity. The ban was nothing but a sop to his teeming minions.
On the subject of Mexicans, I don’t know what numbers you are looking at. It is my understanding that there has been no net Mexican illegal immigration in 8 years. That means that most illegal immigrants have been here for at least a decade. If they did commit a crime in coming here, it was committed out of true need and aspiration for a better life. On the spectrum of heinous crimes, illegal immigration ranks right up there with Jean Valjean filching a baguette. As far as I’m concerned, the statute of limitations has run out, and these immigrants are now Americans, and our neighbors.
Illegal or not, our recent immigrants are, for the most part, true heirs to the ethos exemplified by my Swedish, Irish, and Mayflower forebears. That ethos centers on hard work, thrift, and family. Isn’t that the nature of immigrants? If they weren’t enterprising they wouldn’t come here at all. In fact, they are a lot more representative of what I consider to be true “American Culture” than Trump’s whining minions, pining for defunct coal mines, addicted to disability payments and incapable of getting off their butts and acquiring new skills. True Americans don’t blame scapegoats for their problems. Whatever their country of origin, true Americans take responsibility for their own lives and forge ahead.
I have a modest proposal. Let’s deport the Trump minions and replace them with a whole lot more Mexicans, Muslims, and Asians like the ones I have known. People who work. People who strive. That would be a country that our founding fathers might recognize.