Hello, you may remember me, the guy who promised to write here more regularly, and then totally wrote less frequently. I have my reasons, but if you are reading this, you probably don’t really care what they are, so I’ll just move along.
It is amazing to me that we are currently having a national “debate” over whether critics of the current government policies should “go back to where they came from.” And that this debate was kicked off by a series of racist tweets and comments either cynically, or ignorantly (or both), issued by the President of the United States. I mean, I shouldn’t be amazed by anything that comes out of the clearly compromised brain of the current holder of the presidency, a man for whom “bottom of the barrel” and “bar cannot be lowered” comments keep coming, as things just get worse and more unhinged.
Speaking of which, the hypocrisy from the party of Trump continues unabated. The man ran for president on a platform of criticizing the existing government policies, but no one from the Democratic Party suggested that “if he didn’t like it, he should leave the country.” No one suggested that he “go back to where he came from,” whether that be our common native borough of Queens, his mother’s native Scotland, or his brothel-owning, draft-dodging grandfather’s Germany (from whence grandpa was banished…OK, technically, Bavaria…for the crime of draft dodging, which apparently is genetic). To the contrary, he was permitted to run his racist, nativist, generally incoherent other than self-aggrandizing and bullying, campaign, and got elected by appealing to the worst instincts of a portion of the electorate and, with Russian assistance, sneaking through a quirk in the Constitution that probably has the Founders spinning wildly in their graves. At which point, like most authoritarians, he decided that dissent was only OK for him and his ilk, and his opponents were un-American and should go back to where they came from, despite the fact that most of those who were the targets of his ire have roots in this country that long pre-date his.
Not to mention that it is hard to really believe that someone who “hates America” would expend the time, effort and money that it takes to get elected to Congress. I’d argue that, in fact, they love America so much that they want to be involved in running it.
Of course, he tried to use his rhetorical jujitsu, claiming that it was his critics who were bigots, and that his targets deserved to be silenced because they said things that were un-American, or anti-Semitic, or racist (all things, of course, that he, himself, has done regularly). And this led to another fight, among his critics, about whether or not it was OK to criticize Rep. Omar, or Ocasio-Cortez, etc., leading to the kind of whataboutism and confusion that helps to obscure the fact that the President of the United States is a bigot.
My take on this whole situation is that the racist tweets, statements and tweets should be called out. And that individuals have the right–even an obligation–to point to their disagreements with even other Democrats on policy or strategy, but to recognize that they have every right to have their opinions. I’d argue that it is much, much less dangerous for a Congressperson to have an opinion about Israel that I might disagree with, or a belief that the United States is currently ready to pass sweeping environmental laws, which I think needs to be better explained and executed, than for the President to be attempting to stifle debate. And to those who argue that publicly differing with fellow Democrats is a “win” for the racist tactics, I disagree. I think that we can do both, and in criticizing the attempt to demonize dissenters, shine an even harsher light on what he said–it is both racist and authoritarian. Or, to put it another way, un-American.
As for our featured song, I’m told by the Internet that it was originally more pointed, and was meant as a satire of anti-immigrant policies in Britain back in the day. The more things change…..