Monday, July 27, 2015

Trump on the border

Donald Trump

     A baseball cap has many uses. It soaks up sweat, it blocks the sun.
     If you're Donald Trump, campaigning in Laredo last week, a baseball cap also protects your fragile superstructure of carefully stage-managed hair from the unforgiving Texas wind.
     And it expresses your campaign philosophy, "Make America Great Again."
     Let's think about that phrase—someone should—because it encapsulates not only how Trump, but also the 15 other Republican presidential candidates he's shredding, view the world.
     "Make America Great Again."
     What does that mean?
     Well, it certainly implies that America isn't great now. It once was. And can be. Again. Our lost greatness regained, by....electing Donald Trump, I suppose.
     And once elected, Trump will help us find our missing greatness ... how?
     By cracking down on immigration, apparently. That has been the main, practically the only thrust of his campaign, from his announcement, tarring Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists (plus, he grudgingly added, a few non-criminals and non-rapists). The immigrants have stolen our greatness. Destroyed our country, really. People who aren't right wing nutjobs may have difficulty understanding just how thoroughly the GOP thinks Hispanics ruin America.
     "We are entered upon the final act of our civilization," writes GOP elder statesman Pat Buchanan, in "State of Emergency," his 2006 call to end all immigration completely. Hispanic immigrants not only steal our jobs and commit crimes, but carry diseases, "diseases that never before afflicted us," Buchanan writes. Like leprosy.
     Trump, echoing Buchanan, focused on the physical threat, citing the "the great danger" that he, Donald Trump, faced by just being near the border for a few hours.
     We are going to have to endure months of this, and so should grasp the underlying mindset, which I call "Lost Eden." It goes like this:
     Once America was Eden. The country was filled with white Protestant pilgrims and they ran the show and everything was fine. Then came The Fall, the arrival of the people who didn't belong and who wrecked everything. First the Irish. Italians. Jews. Slavs. Each in his turn was held up exactly as Mexicans are being held up now, as disease-ridden criminals and slackers. Buchanan manfully tries to explain the difference—"the Italians wanted to be part of our family, millions of Mexicans are determined to retain their language and loyalty to Mexico. They prefer to remain outsiders."
      So saith Pat Buchanan. When people talk of making American great again, I ask which year of greatness, specifically, they'd like to recapture. When was the American zenith? A popular choice is 1945; we had defeated the Germans and the Japanese, and thought the world was our oyster.
     Only it wasn't. Being top dog, in our estimation, did not prevent Communism from overtaking China and all of Eastern Europe over the next several years.. The following decade at home was a miserable, shameful nadir of loyalty oaths and red baiting. Anyone who misses the 1950s wasn't paying attention.
      The truth is always nuanced. The country is always changing, a prospect Buchanan views with horror. "America is being transformed," he moans.
      Two facts about Hispanic immigration you won't hear from either Patrick Buchanan or Donald Trump:
     1) It's done. There are 54 million Hispanics living in the United States, or 17 percent of the population. By 2060, that will double, to 128 million. One in three Americans will be of Hispanic origin. They aren't going home; they are home. How do you think they'll view the current GOP passion to somehow rip them out of the American story and sent them yelping back to their lands of origin?
     2) The Republicans are toast, nationally. They can win white bread Congressional districts, and plenty of big, empty, conservative states like Wyoming to keep them powerful in the Senate. But once you toss out the 17 percent of the electorate who are either Hispanic immigrants or their descendants, you just can't win the White House. The Republicans pause after each defeat, vow to court the Hispanic vote, then return to desperately clawing at the ashes of their imagined past, blubbering in terror and trying to press handfuls of scorched fantasy into something they recognize.
      A great country doesn't crawl whimpering toward an imagined past. A great country stands up and walks determinedly into the future. Even a future with brown people in it. That's America's only hope for continued greatness. Where is the leader willing to take us there?


48 comments:

  1. There you go, writing those pesky "facts" again.

    As always, a nice day-starter.

    Doug D.

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  2. Please, allow me to paraphrase Samuel Johnson and say, anti-immigration is the first refuge of a scoundrel.

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  3. Politicians could do a better job of defining what they mean by "immigration". People who follow the rules should not be confused with those who break our laws by entering the country illegally.

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    1. "illegality" is the figleaf that bigots use for cover. We don't have a working immigration system; that's why so many are "illegal," which is what we want, because we can have them pick strawberries and not give them any dignity or rights. The "anchor baby" outcry gives away the game. All those children are certainly legal. Yet they aren't acceptable either. Why is that?

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    2. You can't solve a problem without first defining what the problem is. When a politician, or anyone else for that matter,talks about the immigration problem I don't know if he's talking about all immigrants to this country or just the illegals. The US immigration laws seem to be working for all our borders except for the southern one. What's the root cause for the problems there? Would we be better off working with the Mexican government to address those issues instead of talking about building walls, etc.?

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    3. The problem is that we have 11 million people living here in semi-serfdom, people punished for the rest of their lives for the misdemeanor of illegal entry.

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    4. There are resentments by some, of the grants being given to these students born of illegals that are then denied to those here legally. And they can overtax a school district and Medicaid facilities. Some have stolen social security numbers which can cause havoc or are receiving government aide. Is deporting them the answer? again no-I don't know what is- both parties have failed to stem the problem in the first place... But we rely on them of course, yet they are being exploited. It's a double edged sword with no easy answers.

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    5. Anon 12:07 PM:
      For your consideration, immigrants living here illegally, have to live somewhere, and that means they pay rent. Included in the price of the rent is the property tax the landlord has to pay, which goes to the county and is passed on to the school district. When a social security number is used by an illegal, the employer deducts from the paycheck and pays to the government, FICA, federal, state, and IDES taxes. The best part is they don't file a tax return, so they don't get a tax refund, and the government gets to keep a little extra money. Is that fair enough for you?

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    6. Well when there are 3 families living in an apt. meant for one, against code, that's not enough property tax being paid, Mr. Bernie.

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    7. Mr. Anon 12:31
      One tenet of this foreign horde, defiling our land with their Roman Popery, is they send most of their children to Catholic Schools. So it doesn't cost our public school districts all that much.

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    8. Very funny, Bernie about the Popery, but not quite. They can't Cath school,in many cases and most are overloading the public schools and in the suburbs too.

      But this isn't the 1840's potato famine problem.

      I have heard of private schools where some parents were upset (my offspring were in public school, so it didn't affect me) that the religious school principal would give them tuition breaks, that weren't happening for other students & parents, even if they had financial problems.

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    9. (can't afford)

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    10. Some immigrants made time to go to community English classes. And look at those who went to the Hull house for Eng. courses.

      Or watching tv in English helped. If we can get some groups off the novellas on TV and onto watching some English tv, that might help.

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    11. So much that's been said about Hispanic immigrants was also said about Italian immigrants, among others. They created Little Italys where they could continue to speak their own language, they crowded into housing more suitable for fewer people, they brought crime, and so on. It seems many groups who came here want to shut the door behind them. Time goes on and all are absorbed into the melting pot. Even the Irish.

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  4. While I certainly don't support either Trump or Buchanan, there is something to be said of past immigrants or todays Polish ones especially, being more willing to learn the language of their new homeland.

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    1. What makes you think Hispanic immigrants aren't "willing" to learn the language?

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    2. Whenever I hear "other immigrants learned English," I think of my grandmother, the only grandparent I ever knew. A dear, sweet woman, but she never learned more than a few broken English phrases, which made it very hard for us to communicate during the ten years we shared on Earth.

      Hispanics will learn English the way other groups "learned" it: By having children and sending them to school here. My mother spoke only Greek when she entered kindergarten.

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    3. I am able to rule conclusively on this issue based on my own considerable experience. A few years back I hired a Polish American contractor to paint my house. His five workers conversed together in Polish and only two of them had any English. Then last year the guys who installed my new roof were obviously Hispanic, but they all spoke idiomatic English. Two of them were even Cubs fan. The irreproachable conclusion: Hispanic immigrants learn English; Poles do not.

      This is confirmed by evidence from a slightly larger sample. All of the teenagers who check out groceries at my local supermarket, which obviously has a large Hispanic clientele, switch effortlessly between English and Spanish depending on the customer, a faculty I don't possess in any two languages.

      You see, it's all a matter of applying the scientific method.

      My mother, a second or third generation American, learned Welsh from her mother, who wrote poetry in that difficult language, and from hearing it spoken by elders in the Welsh church. Only one of my contemporaries did, and we tended to consider it an affectation and made fun of him. It's easy to learn a second language when you're young, particularly if you are "immersed," damnably difficult past middle age.

      Back to the main subject, the Washington Post reports a recent CNN poll reveals that a majority of Republicans believe that all illegal immigrants should be deported, no ifs, ands or buts. All 11 million of them.

      Tom Evans

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    4. During the '80s and '90s, I worked on the Northwest Side. There were many people I encountered who spoke only Polish. When you're working hard to support your family, generally not in high-paying jobs, it's difficult to find the time to take English classes. But, as Bitter Scribe says, their children learn it, and often act as translators.

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    5. Some immigrants learned English by not being enabled. Phone prompts or businesses(except for some ma/ pa gro. store), schools, weren't going to cater to them. I know of neighbors who always have Spanish speaking language channels in their home. That doesn't help. But do I think Hispanics are all bad or should all be deported, of course not.

      Now is it enabling to say if you give birth here, your kids are automatic citizens? Perhaps so. As someone said, the laws have to be changed. Immigrants who came here mid century (not in the early 1900's) had to do it the hard way. There are non Hispanic illegals here too. But the border there makes it easier. Big businesses might want some to exploit. But we can't solve Mex. poverty problems either. Now some other Central American immigrants are coming in from El Salvador and Honduras, Guatamala, and the Mex. govt doesn't want them passing through. There is no easy answer.

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    6. Scribe, that's very interesting about your Greek background. I presume you learned some of the language. Some Greek acquaintances of mine were very adamant that their kids go to Greek school on Sat. or to attend Orthodox Christian lessons. They said that is usually par for the course.

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    7. Anonymous: I really wanted to learn Greek but never had the chance. It's the devil's language to learn if you don't grow up with it. I would get seriously jealous of my parents and other bilingual relatives.

      Coey: That's very true about the kids acting as translators. My mother had her lawn mowed by this guy from Mexico, and my sister befriended the family after learning that their little boy had leukemia. His older sister had to translate the doctor's status reports. What fun that must have been for an 11-year-old. (Happy ending: The kid made a full recovery.)

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    8. Scribe, it's understandable grandma's aren't going to learn the new language. I was speaking of even mid aged ones, who don't want to bother.

      Of course any language with a different alphabet must be doubly hard to learn.

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    9. Yes, in the Ellis island days, most anyone could come in unless they seemed to have a noticable disease or were marked as imbecile. Eye hook checks, anyone?

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    10. My grandmother came to this country in her mid-20s.

      It's not just the alphabet that makes Greek tough. In Greek, as in Latin, nouns are declined, i.e., change form depending on where they're used in a sentence. Ugh.

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    11. Tom, that's good if you can keep Welsh going It could be a lost art. Bet you loved the book, How Green was my Valley. I sure did and it made me angry at the English.

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    12. Yes, Evans is certainly a Welsh name.

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    13. Yes, years ago if one spoke a non English language in a store or at school, it wasn't appreciated. But that also maybe forced people to learn some English. Now it's considered bad if you don't know Spanish.

      I guess the fireman had to learn it too. Heaven forbid anyone be responsible for having to learn English. No, that's not a fig leaf, but reality.

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    14. The Welsh language (Cymric) continues to be spoken throughout Wales, and particularly in the north. Also, road signs are in both English and Welsh. It is probably more of a living language than are it's linguistic relatives, Irish and Scottish Celtic.

      Oddly enough, it can also be heard in the far south part of Argentina, to which many Welsh people migrated in the early 20th Century to raise sheep.

      The people also speak English fluently, and many are, in a sense, trilingual: depending on who they think they are talking to, you might hear them switching from a lilting Welsh brogue to perfect Oxford English. You should go. It's a beautiful country, although "Welsh cuisine" is a bit of an oxymoron.

      TE

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    15. My folks never did learn to speak English very well, but they got by ok and they eventually became naturalized citizens. We came here in 1951 and lived in the Ashland, Division, Milwaukee Ave. area. It was easy for Polish speaking people to get by at that time because all the stores and businesses had someone who could speak the language. Being the oldest kid in the family, I also acted as the translator when the folks needed help. I suspect it's the same for any other group of immigrants now.

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  5. .....millions of Mexicans are determined to retain their language and loyalty to Mexico. They can't do that. Who do they think they are Southern Confederates.

    A.M.

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    1. Until Mexican immigrants start blowing up planes, buildings, bombing public events and shooting on military installations, I'm not going to worry about them.

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  6. I was wondering where the photo on today's page was taken?

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    1. A lot somewhere near the UIC's medical campus, on the near Southwest side.

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  7. Xenophobia is not limited to one party or even nation. Far too many people in my native country also want to seal the borders to keep out the others, an impossible task. It's too bad freedom of movement isn't yet recognized as a basic human right. Immigrants enrich their adopted countries with their skills and knowledge. Yes, as an immigrant, I am biased.

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    1. If you mean France, Philippe, yes, there are news reports that they have problems with certain immigrants in their former colonial areas.

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  8. I think that all these millions of immigrants--including the 180 million white people--need to learn the language here. By which, of course, I mean Navaho.

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    1. yes, unfort some of those native languages were never written

      luckily the Cherokee were ahead on that game, along with a few others

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  9. We need to be more concerned with certain(not all) middle eastern or no. African immigrants or students here on a visa, then we do about those south of the border.

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  10. Mexicans have become the Republican scapegoat, the blame for all things evil in this country. They've replaced Muslims as the bad guy for this election cycle. Fear them, these (fill in the blank) are criminals, rapists, killers! The only way to protect you is to elect a Republican president!

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    1. The good news is though , Wendy, that the Trump fiasco is causing a lot of resentment with other Repub candidates, who get no attention, as our host and Laura Washington states today. Let the infighting begin!

      NS, do you think there is any hope of Sanders winning the Dem. nom. over Hillary?

      It would be nice to get our first Jewish President and someone who isn't cozy with Wall Street.

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    2. Jewish immigrants had it a lot tougher than most other immigrants. End of story.

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    3. No, Bernie Sanders doesn't have a chance in hell.

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  11. If they somehow figure out a way to seal the border from the scary immigrants from the south, notice how it's never about Canadians, we all can forget about paying less than $10lb for most produce, not to mention skyrocketing prices everywhere else. There is a rather large number of packers around here, and I'm pretty sure not all are legal. Kick them out? Bye bye cheap labor, bye bye cheap food. It's not an ideal setup for anyone. Make the process to gain legal entry easier, like it used to be when everyone else's great great grandparents came here. How many of our ancestors would have been able to jump through all the hurdles that are set now? How many would try to get in illegally if they had to?

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    1. Meant pickers, not packers though some do pack the stuff as well I suppose.

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    2. Canadians aren't an issue.

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  12. Perhaps Rush Limbaugh will throw his hat in the ring next.

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