We have heard a lot about the Trump Effect, which is typically associated with how his divisive rhetoric has impacted children and schools. But it is so much larger than that. Thanks to the results of a questionable election, the effect has spilled over… boiled over… hmm… EXPLODED far past the boundaries of school children being bullied. And yes, the election results are highly questionable. Why? Well, the NSA has confirmed, outright, that Russia intentionally interfered with our election process to the express benefit of Donald Trump. Russia claims they were in close contact with the Trump campaign prior to our election on November 8, 2016. Anything that seems too coincidental, almost always is no coincidence at all. Donald Trump is the world’s expert at throwing shade. Everyone knows it. So, when he began screaming the election is rigged and pointing to Democrats, there were a lot of raised eyebrows. The real problem is that it doesn’t appear he really took it seriously. Maybe he toyed around with the Russians but didn’t really believe they could have a true impact. He just enjoyed watching his enemies suffer. He enjoyed riling people up. He fed off their adoration and reveled in seeing their fury directed at his adversaries. But in his head, it was all just a con. It was all a publicity game. He planned on launching a Trump news network and he was building a mass following. All those loving faces turned towards him were dollar signs. So the more he fed to their base fears, the more money he stood to make. And then the most unexpected and terrible thing happened to him He won.
He had awoken a many-headed beast of racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia, misogyny and violent hate. He promoted violence and exclusion. He used innuendo and keywords to send an ill disguised message in his rhetoric, supporting the alt-right, like suggesting his followers could use the second amendment against his opponent. Now that he has won, the Trumpeters are sounding all over the nation. The Trump Effect has exploded into open acts of discrimination, hostility, assault and hate against minorities, women and Muslims in states and schools all over the country. Domestic terrorism has become common, because that is exactly what this is. Inciting fear, violence, and the threat of violence against groups of people because of their race, heritage, gender, sexuality or religious beliefs is terrorism. These alt-right, white supremacist terrorists believe they have a champion in Trump. He used the right words, conveyed the right message and spoke to them. Now they feel empowered and are acting out against the oppression of an equal society which did not recognize them as superiors.
And here is the worst part. Trump never planned to actually do anything he said, because he had never planned on winning. Well, that might seem like a good thing on the surface, like he might not get anything done and we’ll just have four crappy years of stagnation until we can elect someone who knows what they are doing. But that is not the case. Trump sees the beast and without an opponent to direct them towards, all eyes are on him. Now that beast expects to be fed and he, himself, has suggested some pretty graphic ideas of what should happen to a caretaker who cannot feed them what they want. He is sure to backtrack on what he can, but make no mistake, he will feed that beast for his own preservation.
This is why it doesn’t even matter if Trump makes speeches or sends out tweets repudiating violence and hate towards minorities, LGBT and Muslims. The Trumpeters only see that as him “looking presidential,” and assume the wink and nod in their direction. They believe he supports their actions even if he can’t publicly say so and that it will all change once he is in office. Trump is doing nothing to circumvent this idea. Just take a look at those appointed to his transition team and on his short list for his cabinet. Of course, he won’t really oppose them, he can’t afford to turn those eyes back on him.
Because Trump never thought he would actually win, he and his staff are in a state of crisis attempting to create a transition team and hastily draw up those do-or-die policies he promised. Even worse than the campaign promises he plans to make good on, like registries to follow Muslims and immigrants and imprisoning and deporting millions of people, is the fact that he has no real, well thought, workable plan. That means, in order to fulfill the promised dinner, he will implement quickly devised schemes without the necessary checks, balances and research to not only ensure legality, but to prevent human rights violations.
Does Trump even know what it takes to deport an individual or does he simply think you put them in a bus and drive them into Mexico and drop them off? Once these people are kidnapped by federal agents, our government has to prove they do not belong here. Then they have to prove where they do belong. Amazing and fun fact, not every person with a Spanish accent is from Mexico. There are, literally, twenty-two Spanish speaking countries in the world and we have immigrants from all of them. So, once they decide they haven’t illegally apprehended a United States Citizen in their xenophobic conquest, then they have to figure out, are they Mexican? From Chile? Argentina? Guatemala? Cuba? Peru? Seriously, I can keep going. Then, once you know the country of origin, or think you do, then you must contact that nation and arrange the deportation procedure (when and if the other country agrees). This is not an overnight, quick and easy process. Every single person detained is entitled to due process to ensure that people who are here legally or are (aghast at the thought) citizens, are not mistakenly sent to be an illegal alien in another country (against their will). Haste causes mistakes. Usually, lots of them. And then let’s talk expense.
The cost of this, if it could be streamlined as much as possible and no one makes mistakes, to deport three million people is, on the low side, roughly thirty BILLION dollars. That is only if every single one of them is picked up and deported within a week or less. But that can’t happen because of due process. Instead, we will have to house, clothe and feed these millions for weeks, months and sometimes even years while sorting through the actual process. Now that thirty billion is sounding cheap. If you are wondering why it costs so much, let us just reflect on that, things Trump probably didn’t think about.
You have to pay for the resources and enforcement agencies which must isolate and detain the individual. The alleged immigrants must be picked up and transported to a facility. They must be initially interviewed and a file created. There must be a background check. There must be a hearing. The country of origin must be identified and contacted and return negotiated. The government must provide housing, food, sanitation and even medical treatment, if they are sick, during this process and they must be monitored and guarded. If they are deported, there is travel expense. Considering all that is involved, ten thousand dollars estimated per person is starting to sound on the cheap. Some may be less, but most will be much more. Don’t get me wrong, $10,000 per undocumented immigrant is the average cost, but if the system is flooded with millions of detainees, the wait times to process each of them will increase drastically, even if we quadrupled the processing staff and built hundreds of detention centers. That also figures into a much bigger budget. And, by the way, that thirty billion isn’t to deport all ‘illegal’ immigrants, just the first three million Trump has promised to oust his first month as president. There are over eleven million undocumented immigrants in the United States right now. With those wait times and no place to put three million people, how do you avoid human rights violations? How do you ensure health and safety for a population larger than Houston or Chicago? You can’t build a camp and shove three million people in it.
I want this venture to be a failure because I believe deportation on a massive scale hurts our economy (which is supported by the income loss in states which have enacted strict laws against undocumented workers). I believe this is why, every few decades, we need an amnesty program which fast tracks work visas and citizenship without requiring people to leave the country first. It is cheaper, economically sound, and maintains our values of welcoming immigrants to the Great Melting Pot. But it is important to me how it fails. We are on the fast track to people being subjected to inhumane conditions which could result in injury, illness and death. That is not the way I want to see this fail.
But hey! History is on their side, right? I mean, we’ve had mass deportations before without a problem, haven’t we? Oh, wait… no. There was the Mexican Repatriation which was dominant during the Great Depression. Everyone who was Hispanic was considered Mexican, even if they were United States Citizens. Masses of people, including citizens, were raided and sent to Mexico. Those who were not gathered up and bused out against their will were harassed and cities offered to pay for bus tickets for them to leave. Approximately one third of the Hispanic population in Los Angeles was deported between 1929 and 1944. Any Hispanic family receiving public assistance was asked to leave the country and offered a ticket to do so. We are talking about United States Citizens by birth right. So, who cares about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? Real bright moment in American History. Oh, but why were so many here in the first place? That’s right! Because it wasn’t illegal. The United Sates had no restrictions on Mexican migrants and even encouraged them to come as laborers. The first immigration restrictions passed in the United States occurred in 1924, denying all Asians entry and placing limitations on those from Europe. But they did not restrict Mexico or Canada, wanting to keep a close relationship with our neighbors. So ALL the people they raided, more like kidnapped, and shipped out came here and were here legally.
Later, in 1954, (after passing legislation to restrict Mexican immigration) we went after the Hispanic population again. The Notorious “Operation Wetback.” Yes, seriously. That is what it was named. Under the OW (no, I’m not going to keep saying that offensive name) just over one million people were shipped off to Mexico in the first year (Technically it only lasted a few months). Unfortunately, hundreds of them (that we know of) were citizens denied the opportunity to provide proof of their rights. Hmm, sound familiar? And, as difficult as I am sure it is to imagine with a name like that, there were over 11,000 documented cases of human rights and civil rights violations, including false imprisonment, physical abuse, rape and even death. Good job Eisenhower! By the way, the program was a massive failure which quickly ran out of funding, not helped by the agriculture industry who continued to hire the now illegal immigrants to avoid the massive and costly red tape which mortared the Bracero program.
Both of these instances proved to be little more, well in the first singularly, attacks on the Hispanic population in our country. It was purely xenophobia, which seems to creep up and grip our nation repeatedly. Evidently, this is a chronic condition and the United States seems to go off its medication every so often.
But we aren’t stopping with the Hispanic culture. We are going to have a registry for all Muslims. According to Trump’s staff, they are considering the possibility of internment camps for Muslim immigrants. They also want to track all Muslims, possibly even have them wear or carry identification. Hmm, like what? Like an arm band? Oh, I know, maybe we can tattoo each of them with a number! (please denote sarcasm). Or, we could put one of those nifty microchips in their arm like we do our pets! Nothing demeaning to that, after all, we chip them because we love them, right? (Yes, still sarcasm.) No room for abuse with that, is there? And, of course, remember that most everyone arrested for attempting to go off and join ISIS, or some similar group, were United States Citizens, not immigrants. So are we going to tag everyone who is of the Islamic faith and follow them? What is to prevent a terrorist from simply saying they are Christians? Or is it just going to be by race? If you are Muslim decent, then go get your tag! What if you are white, from London, but you practice Islam? Does Trump even know the difference between the Muslim race and the Islamic faith? Does he know that Indians are Asian and not Muslim? Does he know that people can convert their religion? Oh, heck! This is getting too confusing. Maybe we should just make everyone register their religion and ethnic heritage, just to be safe. Don’t really know your ethnic make-up? I hear Ancestory.com has an easy DNA test that can fix you right up. Who knows? Your fifth cousin, twice removed on your mom’s side might be a terrorist!
And you know, why stop there? Aren’t we sending enough of our jobs overseas to China, already? Why do we have so many Asians taking up jobs here, too? Well, our very first legislation restricting immigration was to ban Asians, why not do that again? We could start revoking their visas, denying admissions and maybe just round them up, too. Why not? We have a long history of not caring about civil rights where immigrants and immigration are concerned, or for anyone who looks like they might not be “American.”
This is the road of xenophobia. Once that beast, that angry horde of supremacists starts down this road with their torches and pitch forks, this is what is looks like. It becomes easier and easier to turn away from our constitution, from our morals, from human rights and decency and from our freedom. Because, make no mistake, as they come for one group, they will not stop, they will come for more. And Trump, who only cares that they don’t come for him, will not blink an eye when they come for you.
Donald Trump arose this hungry beast with its insatiable appetite from the ashes of our history, from the remnants of everything we have overcome. It will take every person who values human decency to stand against this behemoth before it consumes us all.
No one is insignificant; no one is too small. We all can help. Every voice matters. We are not just fighting to define our country and its morals. We are fighting to ensure its continued existence as the Land of the Free.
We are One Woman, One World.
photo credit: http://www.commonplaces.com/blog/the-return-of-the-multi-headed-beast-html-and-your-website/
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