So, a couple of days ago, I posted about how Trump’s American Carnage, a numb-minded utterance from his first speech as president, has borne fruit. Trump described this carnage as derelict factories under the shadow of malevolent elites. While Stephen Miller’s handiwork is all over this, the President breathed angry life into the words that deeply resonated with conservatives.
Much of this carnage has to do with the language itself. It emboldens racists, who then aren’t afraid to express themselves. This racism occurs on many fronts, from anti-African American sentiments, to violence and hatred directed at immigrants.
During his fiery campaign, Trump consistently targeted immigrants by blaming them for most of society’s ills–lack of jobs, crime, etc. It was a convenient playbook he often referred to, and one that his supporters thumb through on a daily basis.
Most recently, he said he didn’t want immigrants from shithole countries, and that ones from Norway would be preferable. The focus was never about jobs, and Trump’s white supremacy shines just as brightly when we look at how he categorizes immigrants from different countries.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions blew on the Fox News horn again, saying that it doesn’t make sense for a country to bring in people (well, that’s not the word he used) who are unskilled. This seems incredibly bizarre since these human beings fill jobs at all ends of the spectrum. To me, it also feels like changing the goal posts. First, Trump claims that they are taking jobs away from Americans, then, he says that that aren’t skilled enough to take jobs away from Americans.
When Trump isn’t nagging immigrants for taking away American jobs, he is associating them with crime. From their “illegal” status to murder, he heaps upon them various harmful labels. This gives Trump’s supporters exactly what they want, an enemy to hate that can’t fight back. In reality, immigrants tend to commit less crime than native born citizens.
Putting aside the legal lens and the current legislative gridlock that prevents Dreamers from living decent lives, it’s important to continue to focus on the bigoted language that took over in 2016 and set the tone for the following year and beyond. Many people are already focusing on 2020, as if Joe Biden or Oprah will save the day. They might be significantly better in terms of leadership (who isn’t?), but they won’t necessarily be able to stop this hyper-racist atmosphere from worsening. It’s also important not to lose sight of 2020, and the midterms. I keep reading that a #BlueWave is coming. Such certainty helped to secure Trump’s victory.
Unfortunately, the anxiety and vigilance have to be kept up, well, pretty much constantly. Complacency got us here in the first place. If this seems too daunting, at least keep yourself slightly revved up until the midterms.