Sometimes I despair

By now, most USAmericans who pay attention to politics are probably aware of The Donald’s inane idea to build a wall between the U.S./Mexico border. Ya know, to keep out all those rapists, murderers, and drug dealers that he’s worried are pouring into this country (a belief he holds and has no qualms about sharing despite his failure to produce supporting evidence):

Donald Trump said he would force the people of Mexico to build his vowed border wall to keep immigrants out of the United States, warning that if his order was not fulfilled, he would do something “severe.”

When asked how he might force the country to build this wall, Trump said in an interview that aired on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, “you force them because we give them a fortune. Mexico makes a fortune because of us. A wall is a tiny little peanut compared to that. I would do something very severe unless they contributed or gave us the money to build the wall.”

The 2016 presidential candidate added: “I’d build it. I’d build it very nicely. I’m very good at building things.”

I wonder-scale of 1 to 10…how big is his ego? Hell, it’s probably so big it breaks the scale. In any case, the idea has been called moronic, unrealistic and costly, and ridiculous. Trump has given no consideration to the difficulties in constructing a wall more than 1,900 miles long*, across a varied topography, and through a fair amount of private land. But that’s not what he’s concerned about. No, for him, the important thing is preserving the United States for “us” by keeping “them” out. Trump’s frothy mix of xenophobia and racism has found purchase with some of the brightest stars among the dregs of humanity including:

(check out Media Matters for more far-right extremists who support Trump)

While The Donald has said he neither wants nor needs the endorsement of the likes of David Duke, the fact remains that he’s speaking the language Duke (and those like him) want to hear. These are people who are rabidly xenophobic and racist. They want none of “those people” in the United States. “Those people” being immigrants. As nativists, they think this land belongs to them and no outsiders are welcome (and of course they think that all the bad stuff happening in the US is due to immigrants), which is funny given that this country was stolen from the Indians. Trump’s rhetoric against immigrants has been echoed by another 2016 GOP presidential contender: Scott Walker.

The current Governor of Wisconsin thinks a wall along the United States/Canada border is a good idea. Apparently he thinks the U.S. is having a problem with cross-border terrorism:

The Republican presidential contender said the idea of a northern border has come up while he has campaigned in New Hampshire.

In an interview for NBC’s “Meet the Press” available online, Walker said his tough talk to securing the borders and enforcing U.S. laws extends to the 5,525-mile Canadian border as well.

It’s a shift from most campaign-trail rhetoric, which has focused on the United States’ border with Mexico, where millions undocumented immigrants have entered the country.

“Some people have asked us about that in New Hampshire,” Walker said. “They raised some very legitimate concerns, including some law enforcement folks that brought that up to me at one of our town hall meetings about a week and a half ago. So that is a legitimate issue for us to look at.”

“Some people have asked that…[…]”. Is it too much to hope that a presidential candidate might formulate evidence-based policies? In the case of Walker (and Trump), I guess that’s asking too much. Where is the evidence of all these ne’er-do-wells spilling into the US from Canada? Why aren’t his advisers informing Gov. Walker that a wall covering 5,000-plus miles is even more impractical than one covering 1,900-plus miles? Dammit, I forgot we’re talking about white supremacist rhetoric. It doesn’t make sense because it’s not grounded in reality (y’know, with facts and evidence-the kind of stuff anathema to the GOP). I suppose the only sensible response to nitwits like Gov. Walker and Donald Trump is to meet their nonsense with truckloads of snark:

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—As America’s bridges, roads, and other infrastructure dangerously deteriorate from decades of neglect, there is a mounting sense of urgency that it is time to build a giant wall.

Across the U.S., whose rail system is a rickety antique plagued by deadly accidents, Americans are increasingly recognizing that building a wall with Mexico, and possibly another one with Canada, should be the country’s top priority.

Harland Dorrinson, the executive director of a Washington-based think tank called the Center for Responsible Immigration, believes that most Americans favor the building of border walls over extravagant pet projects like structurally sound freeway overpasses.

“The estimated cost of a border wall with Mexico is five billion dollars,” he said. “We could easily blow the same amount of money on infrastructure repairs and have nothing to show for it but functioning highways.”

Congress has dragged its feet on infrastructure spending in recent years, but Dorrinson senses growing support in Washington for building a giant border wall. “Even if for some reason we don’t get the Mexicans to pay for it, five billion is a steal,” he said.

While some think that America’s declining infrastructure is a national-security threat, Dorrinson strongly disagrees. “If immigrants somehow get over the wall, the condition of our bridges and roads will keep them from getting very far,” he said.

Good show Mr. Borowitz. Good show.

Alternately, another presidential candidate has an idea for protecting our borders that doesn’t involve building a wall. Who? None other than homophobe-cum-transphobe-cum-misogynist himself, Ben Carson!

Ben-Carson-and-evolution-with-TARDIS-and-Jesus-riding-dinosaur

Carson has floated the idea of using drones to defend our borders** :

The retired neurosurgeon, asked about the use of military drones, was quoted saying, “I’m suggesting we do what we need to do to secure the border whatever that is.” Carson reportedly added, “You look at some of these caves and things out there – one drone strike, boom, and they’d [be] gone.”
Since national candidates don’t usually make “boom” references when talking about using military resources over American soil, CNN pressed Carson for some kind of explanation over the weekend. He responded:

“Read my lips. Listen very carefully to what I am saying. I said there are caves. There are caves that they utilize. Those caves can be eliminated. There are a number of possibilities. [Drones] could be one of them.

“I am not talking about killing people, no people with drones.”

So, a President Carson might use military drones to strike on American soil, but only to blow up caves, which hopefully won’t have people in them.

I guess we’re supposed to be charitable and give him the benefit of the doubt that he’s not talking about bombing these caves with people in them. Unfortunately, when you look at some of his other views, such as his disdain for LGBT people and his belief that there’s a war on what’s inside women (but not a war on women-however the fuck that’s supposed to work), it becomes clear to me that Ben Carson is not big on humanizing people who are different from him. Is it any great stretch to think he’d be indifferent to the deaths of immigrants in any hypothetical cave bombings? I don’t think so. So he gets no benefit of the doubt from me. Perhaps one day when he demonstrates that he gives a flying fuck about other people, I’ll change my mind (don’t worry, I won’t be holding my breath).

Something else that’s rather funny–Ben Carson must be pretty desperate if he’s trying to appeal to The Donald’s white supremacist fan-base. I know Carson is one of this nation’s most famous Uncle Tom’s but surely he knows that Donald Trump’s racist supporters aren’t going to back him no matter how much he tries to show that he’s one of them (and how fucked up is it that he’s reaching out to the same people who’d be happy to see him lynched).

That the ideas put forth by these candidates have found purchase among many in our society is scary. Scary, because it represents several steps backwards for our country. The 20th century was a time of great turmoil, but much of that turmoil led to advances for minority groups. Women gained the right to vote during the 20th Century and the work done by countless feminists destroyed barriers that kept women from participating fully in society. Black people were recognized by the United States government as full citizens who were protected under the law. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people across the country felt confident enough to come out of the closet and be themselves openly. Minority groups were protected from discrimination by civil rights legislation. Our culture shifted and allowed so many marginalized people to come out of the shadows. Unfortunately, some sort of cultural backlash has occurred. Where once the odious ideas put forth by the likes of Trump, Walker, and Carson would have remained on the fringe in society, today these politicians (and more) feel free to espouse the most abhorrent opinions (this, despite the fact that “PC” culture is supposedly silencing so many people). Worse, they have the support of the more extreme elements in society. FFS, we have white supremacists openly backing presidential candidates. Worse still, these formerly extreme views have made their way into mainstream discourse. People are actually discussing the merits of building a wall. There are people talking about “defending our borders” by shooting and killing immigrants.

This is supposedly a country that embraces enlightenment ideals of freedom, liberty, and justice for all. As the legends go, we’re supposedly a country that believes itself to be composed of exceptional individuals who believe in democratic ideas. If that’s the case, then where the fuck is the repudiation of abominable opinions from major political players? Not a handful of politicians either. I’m talking about huge numbers of them. And I’m not just talking about political figures! Where is the media outrage over talking about bombing caves that could have human beings in them? Why so much silence as candidate after candidate talks about robbing gay people of their newfound right to marry? Where is condemnation of the heavily edited anti-choice videos that attempt to paint Planned Parenthood in a poor light? Yes, there are many online media sites that are shaming conservatives for their putrid views, but what about CNN? ABC? CBS? NBC? I know FOX “News” is a foregone conclusion. Hell, they’re a major part of the problem. They’ve helped shift the Overton window to the right such that xenophobic, homophobic, and misogynistic conversations have become the norm in this country. But these other networks? Where are they? I know where they are- they’re too concerned with appearing fair to all comers. They want to balance their presentation of ideas in our society. And yet not all ideas are equal. Not all ideas deserve to be entertained. Not all ideas are worthy of consideration. When you’re talking about building a wall to keep out people you don’t like…when you’re discussing ways to fuck over the lives of immigrants simply because they’re different from you…when you talk about wiping away a woman’s right to choose…when you advocate for policies that would harm LGBT people…when you think that vast swathes of people from another country are criminals-these views do not deserve coddling. They don’t deserve kid gloves. They should be denounced. They’re antithetical to the ideals of this country–a country that claims to believe in fair and equitable treatment of all humans!

To make things worse, it’s not just politicians and media outlets who are the problem. Everyday citizens are too. We have people embracing Donald Trump. 20,000 people come out to support this racist shitstain. There are people who support Scott Walker, apparently hoping he’ll do for this country what he did for Wisconsin (yeah, see…that would be disastrous). People support Ben Carson, apparently happy with a man who doesn’t believe gay rights are the same as civil rights (yes, the fuck they are). And people continue to support politicians who want to roll back women’s rights. Our country is made up of a metric fuckton of people who have no problem rolling back the hard-fought rights of millions of citizens. These are people who see no problem with robbing USAmerican citizens of basic human rights to life, liberty, and security of person.

ARGH!

There are days I’m hopeful of a better world. A world where bigotry of all sort is dramatically reduced. And I see so many people working towards that goal. But there are times…sigh…there are times when I look out at the landscape of USAmerica, and find that the spark of hope I have for a better world is damn-near extinguished.


*To be fair, The Donald might have thought Superman IV: The Quest for Peace was a documentary.

 

**Hopefully he never learns of the weapon of mass destruction devised by two KKK members for the purpose of eliminating the “enemies of Israel”:

They appeared in court on Wednesday and a federal magistrate ordered that they remain in jail until a detention hearing on Thursday.

Neither of the men spoke during their appearance.

A criminal complaint said the men wanted to integrate the device into a mobile, industrial-grade X-ray system that could be turned on and off from a distance and could avoid detection.

Crawford, who authorities said made the boast about Hiroshima, is a member of the United Northern and Southern Knights of the KKK, the complaint said. He referred to Muslims as “medical waste,” the complaint said.

Federal authorities said they became aware of the plot and later began working undercover, after Crawford walked into a synagogue and asked for help with technology that could kill enemies of Israel while they slept.

The synagogue declined, and both the synagogue and another Jewish organization approached by Crawford told the FBI, the complaint said.

The plot began in April 2012, and the men sought parts for the weapon this spring, the complaint said. Crawford once traveled to North Carolina to ask for financing from a suspected KKK member, it said.


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Sometimes I despair
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