Huddled MassesI'm trying to think about this shit storm we currently have going on with undocumented immigrants. I'm trying to think about it as clearly and lucidly as I can, without emotion. It's hard, because, you know, we're not just detaining and deporting any more. Now we're rounding up undocumented immigrants that have long established lives here in the U.S., who have paid taxes and obeyed the law and worked hard here for years. Who have established families here.
We are arresting these people without any kind of warrants. We are imprisoning them in, let's face it, concentration camps, for indefinite periods of time, without any kind of due process. We are doing this to them on the flimsy pretext that they are not American citizens, and therefore, Constitutional protections need not be afforded to them.
But the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence don't say anywhere that basic human rights only apply to American citizens. Basic human rights and civil liberties should belong to all human beings. What the tribal among us have always tried to do is limit the definition of 'human' to their own tribe only, and that's what's happening on a grand scale here. Not a properly documented American citizen, or, at least, resident? Not human. No human rights or civil liberties for you.
That's not the Soup Nazi, by the way. That's just a Nazi talking. An American Nazi in this case, but, still.
Now, Trump didn't really start this. Obama was doing it, too, while working hard to carve out exceptions for the children of illegal immigrants who had been born in America. To me, that's not enough of an exception. To me, the law should simply say -- if you've been here a certain amount of time, you've paid a certain amount of taxes, you've contributed to our civil society in a positive way, boom, you're a citizen. Because that's the kind of citizen we want here.
But because our elected officials have to worry about the votes of the toxically hateful, the law can't be that simple and gentle and merciful and sensible and civilized. So Obama set ICE loose to round up 'illegals' -- a horrible phrase you'll note I'm trying to be careful to avoid, as human beings can't be illegal in any civilized society, only their behavior can -- while trying to protect their kids. A lesser evil, but still an evil.
Trump moved from lesser evil to a steadily and apparently infinitely increasing set of greater evils almost instantly. ICE became a ravening wolf pack howling across America, dragging the undocumented out of their schools, their places of work, off the streets, and out of their homes, sending them by busloads to, well, concentration camps, there's no more accurate word for it, without any kind of warrants, without any kind of due process. The people who are locked up in these concentration camps are horrifically abused behind walls, in secret, with no judicial oversight.
And few of us noticed or cared. I've mentioned several times on social media that what Trump was doing to undocumented residents who had committed no anti social acts was extremely similar to what Hitler did to the Jews, and nobody listened. "They aren't really concentration camps." "This isn't really the same thing." "These people are criminals, they are here illegally, they are not American citizens." As if any of this excuses treating decent human beings who have done no moral or ethical wrong in this way.
So now we're stopping undocumented immigrants at the border, we're locking them up in concentration camps, and we're taking their kids away from them and locking those kids up in separate concentration camps.
Now, everyone is paying attention. Abused brown adults -- beaten and raped men and women, kept in miserable living conditions, starved and denied basic medical care -- well -- that wasn't really the same thing, those weren't really concentration camps, they're criminals, they're here illegally.
Crying children -- uh, okay. Yeah, we'll overlook their brown skins now. Because they're kids.
When human beings treat other human beings like shit, when we deprive them of their liberties and freedoms and basic human rights to live where they want to, say what they want to, do what they want to -- when human beings do this to other human beings, they'd better have a damn good reason. It better be because the other human beings are violent offenders, anti social to an unacceptable degree, because they keep using their freedom of movement and speech and action to cause death and destruction and misery. And it should be the last thing we do to deal with this.
When human beings treat other human beings like shit and the reason is that they've broken some law, I think it's important to look at the law, and the reason it exists, and what breaking that law entails. The law these undocumented immigrants broke was a law detailing the proper procedures for entering the United States of America. And, seriously? If your kids were in danger of starving to death, dying of some preventable disease, or being killed by gang violence, and the government said no, no, you can't put your kids in your car and drive them to a better place where they'll be safer, no, no, you have to fill out these forms and send them in and get them approved and stamped and maybe we'll let you come to this safer place and maybe we won't because we don't like the color of your skin, would you do it? Would you comply? Or would you just load up your kids and drive the backroads to get to that safe place?
See, if Americans felt they had to flee to Canada to save their children's lives, or just to give their children a shot at a better life, and Canada said "oh no, here's all this paperwork you have to fill out first" -- Americans would find every conceivable way to bypass that bureaucracy and get across that border. And they'd call it courage and American ingenuity and doing what had to be done because that's what Americans do!
But Mexicans, or Central Americans, or South Americans, or other foreigners -- well, that's different. THEY'RE different. They're not Americans, they're not human beings at all. They're lice, they're vermin, they're rats, they're sneaking and skulking and shooting up our streets and running drugs and raping and trafficking in sex slaves! They're infesting our country and WE MUST STOP THEM!
Our immigration policies should not keep decent, hard working people out of our country. We want decent, hard working people here. Our country was founded by a bunch of spoiled rich white guys who came here from Europe so the Church and the Crown would stop fucking with them, but, hey, the principle there is the same -- they wanted a place where they could live better lives. How dare any of us who call ourselves Americans deny anyone else the same option?
The only justification for what we are doing to these other human beings is that they are breaking a law. It's not a law about theft or assault or murder or arson. It's a law that defines an imaginary line across the world and that says if you want to cross this line you have to, basically, kiss our asses first. Breaking that law does not, by definition, make you a bad person, a violent person, someone who we can't afford to let walk around loose on the street.
And there isn't ANY law in any civilized society that anyone can break that justifies them being rounded up without a warrant and imprisoned in some vile hellhole without due process for an indefinite amount of time.
And there really isn't any law that justifies doing all this to little kids.
We're supposed to be better than this. We're supposed to be the good guys.
That's what America, and being an American, is supposed to mean.