I have to admit something I rarely admit to. After last night’s “speech” by Donald Trump, I am afraid. I spent 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard. I have seen some of the most beautiful sights on the planet, like the Aurora Borealis dancing across a clear night sky over an ice flow in the arctic. I have seen some of the most ugly and painful sights on the planet as well. Like the results of a flash flood raging down a mountain into a small town at the bottom and digging through the rubble for victims.
I have seen death and destruction on massive levels caused by natural disasters. I have seen the beauty of a rescue at sea when those rescued told us they were sure they were going to die that day. I have witnessed beautiful scenes of peaceful and calm seas and the horror of howling winds and raging seas as high as 7 story buildings in the middle of a hurricane.
I was involved in risky rescues. Drug interdiction operations. Stopping people-trafficking operations. I know what it is like to be shot at. I know what it is like to face down mother nature in all of her fury.
I have witnessed and experienced all of these things. Sometimes I was worried for my own safety at the beginning of some cases. But, until last night, I was never really afraid.
Donald Trump’s speech was terrifying. Many people who watched it understand what I am going to say about it. Others will continue to cheer it. Others will simply not really understand what they heard.
For the past few weeks, the media was falling all over themselves as to whether or not Trump was “softening” his stance on immigration. Especially if he was softening his stance on deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants. Many now are saying that he didn’t mention that mass deportation. I say, they didn’t listen to what he said.
In a simple phrase he said “no one here illegally is immune from deportation.” That tells me he plans on deporting all undocumented immigrants. Especially when he talks about his “Deportation Task Force” within ICE.
There were a lot of things said during the speech. Much of what he said was either an elaborate exaggeration or simple lies. People caught at the border and released are not released because of some “immigration policy”. They are released by court order. We still do have something called “due process” even for immigrants.
Many were scared by his claims of millions of criminals who are illegally here and killing “thousands upon thousands” of American citizens. That is a huge exaggeration to say the least.
But all of this isn’t what scares me. We have heard this bluster from the very first day he walked off that escalator and declared that Mexicans are rapists and murders. It is that kind of bluster that got him the nomination from one of our major political parties.
The thing that scares me is the simple fact that he is planning to ignore our Constitution and place “ideological tests” on anyone who wishes to immigrate to our country. He claims this is to make sure people we “let in” will be able to “assimilate” to our way of life.
“Ideological tests” is a nice way to put it. It sounds like he really wants to “help” people to come to our country and be successful. But, anyone who has listened to him for the last 14 months knows what he is really saying.
“Ideological tests” is just a xenophobic way of saying “undesirables”. It is saying that he and his cronies have a right to keep out anyone they don’t think fit their description of who should be allowed to immigrate to our country.
We heard him say the same thing before. Only then he called it a “religious test” to make sure that any Radical Muslims can’t get in. You remember his examples. If you believe in Sharia Law you can’t come in. If you believe in “honor killings” you can’t come in.
Our country has seen this kind of immigrant paranoia before. In the 1850s the Know Nothing Party was extremely anti-immigrant. Especially if those immigrants were Catholic.
The Know Nothing Party was extremely anti-Catholic and wanted to force all Catholics out of the country. It was the Know Nothing Party that stole a marble block that the Vatican sent to help build the Washington Monument and threw it into the Potomac River which resulted in the project being suspended.
Their anti-Catholic rants didn’t work well in California that had a huge Catholic population. There the Know Nothing Party turned their anti-immigrant policies towards the Chinese.
In the 1920s the KKK became mainstream. They were anti-immigrant too. They were also against African-Americans, Jews, Catholics, Mexicans, and basically anyone who wasn’t what was known as White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP).
The Jim Crow laws were being enforced with vigor. African-Americans were openly and legally being discriminated against. Jews and Catholics were being discriminated against, only more subtly. Immigrants were hated. Especially the Irish and Poles who were mostly Catholic.
When Barak Obama was elected as our first African-American President, the whole mess began again. It started with the “birther” issue and morphed into the idea that he was a “closet Muslim” hell-bent on destroying our country.
Today we see many states with voter suppression laws aimed at keeping African-Americans, elderly, and young people from voting. Mainly because these groups tend to vote Democratic not Republican.
Muslims have replaced Jews and Catholics as the new hated immigrants. After all, they are all terrorists coming here to kill us in our sleep. Latinos are second on the list because, well they are Mexican and therefore all rapists and murders.
Donald Trump has latched onto the fears and hatred of his followers and made it a major theme in his campaign to become President. He tells his feeble-minded followers that if we get rid of all the immigrants and keep non-white people out, all of their problems will go away.
But they don’t understand what he is saying. Which brings us back to “ideological tests” for immigrants. In his speech he said that “with the right people conducting these tests they will work 100 percent, believe me.”
My first question is who are these “right people”? My second question is “what are the right questions”? My third question is how often are these “questions going to be changed”? My fourth question is “doesn’t this sound an awful lot like Hitler was giving his speech blaming the Jews for all of Germany’s problems”?
The real problem with so-called “ideological tests” is that they never stay constant. They change over time with changing “flavors of the month” of whom to hate the most today.
That means a safe group today could become the next target. It means that not only Muslims but Catholics, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists could be banned as well. Maybe the next target for deportation will be atheists.
If we can have “ideological tests” for immigrants, what keeps us from using the same tests on our citizens? What keeps citizen groups from being targeted as who to blame for our problems and therefore need to be deported?
Are we going to eliminate “birthright citizenship”? Will all parents of newborns be required to provide their own birth certificates before getting one for their newborn baby? Are we going to be required to carry “papers” to prove our citizenship to this “Deportation Task Force” upon being stopped?
Many of you will probably be thinking this suggestion is ridiculous. And it is ridiculous – today. However, once we start down the road of “ideological testing” everything is possible because we stop being the caring, compassionate people we claim to be. A “pure” society requires “papers” to prove your purity.
Trump’s so-called immigration plan has way too many holes in it. For example, he says that E-Verify will be effective all across the nation. But, he left out what punishment employers who hire undocumented immigrants will face. If that punishment isn’t severe enough, employers will ignore the law and keep hiring undocumented immigrants.
Maybe he left that part out because it could affect his own businesses. There have been reports about his company hiring undocumented immigrants. Like his project to turn a Post Office building in Washington, D.C. into a hotel.
Some reports claim that undocumented immigrants have been hired on that project. Trump claims if it is true, they were hired by sub-contractors. Like it isn’t his fault. Only, by law a general contactor is responsible to ensure that sub-contractors follow all of the labor laws. Therefore, it is his responsibility to make sure that isn’t happening.
Or, what about the allegations in the story at Mother Jones about his using young girls in his Trump Model Management Company who enter the country on a visa that does not allow them to work. Yet, they work for the company.
One of the best ways to slow down “illegal immigration” is to take away the jobs they are coming to get. But, that means companies like his own would have to abide by the law. And that would cut into his profits.
He said companies should be required to hire citizens before immigrants. So what about all of the “work visas” that his and his family’s companies have applied for so they don’t have to hire U.S. citizens at their work sites? Are they afraid they would have to hire African-American and Latino citizens and pay a fair salary?
Trump said last night that 2 million illegals will be deported within his first hour of him taking office. He tried to say they were all criminals. I am wondering if in the second hour we will see the Statue of Liberty being removed from New York harbor.
Last night’s speech was very scary. It contained all of the hallmarks of a white supremacy speech. It was full of innuendos, lies, and exaggerations. It told the audience that the only thing you have to fear is all of these damn immigrants.
It could have been given by any of the KKK leaders or any of the new Alt-Right activists. This speech went way beyond nativism. It hurled itself into the realm of utter hate for anyone “different” than you. The problem is that you can one day fall into that “different” category.
I have been following politics for over 50 years. I have seen and heard many political speeches. But, I have never heard such a hateful rant masquerading as a policy speech in my life. Hell, in 1968 even George Wallace wasn’t as openly hateful as Trump was last night and he was an avowed white supremacist.
Ever since the end of World War Two there have been discussions about whether or not Hitler actually died in the bunker or if he escaped. Recently there have been television shows trying to claim he survived and escaped to Argentina.
I only mention that bit because last night we heard the immigration plan or rather the white superiority speech that will lead to the Fourth Reich. Only it won’t be in Germany, it will be right here in America and Donald Trump will be our Beloved Fuehrer.
Trump was right about one thing last night. This election may be our last chance. Let’s hope we are smart enough to save our democracy and our country from tyrants like him.