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We Pissed Il Duce Off

The President called me, and hundreds of thousands like me, a member of the “radical left.” Finally, I have something about which to thank the nincompoop-in-chief. He was playing golf in New Jersey while we rallied for immigrants and immigrant families all over the U.S., and all that the racist of the green fairways could do was call us names: It really hurt (“Thousands march against Trump and family separations policy,” Guardian, June 30, 2018)! Recall that name calling is a favorite pastime of bullies: Nixon called protesters “bums” before the massacres at Kent State and Jackson State. James Rhodes, then the governor of Ohio, called us “brown shirts.” Name calling by bullies can end with violence. A segment of the population armed to the hilt is always ready to heed the call to arms. And they heed that call with a certain regularity these days and that hate has found its way into the offices where journalists labor.

Hillary Clinton is so damn upset about Trump’s immigration policy that she offered this opinion: “I was hopeful that I wouldn’t see the worst of my fears come true. But it has been worse. I have to tell you, even I did not believe this would happen” (“Interview: Hillary Clinton: ‘What is more uncivil than taking children away?’” Guardian, June 29, 2018). Whoa, Hillary, there you go again. Remember, it was your boss, Barack Obama, who was the grand deporter-in-chief before Trump took office. But neoliberals like to make believe and posit the baloney that Trump was like the phoenix of ancient mythology, rising from the ashes of anti-immigration policy. Not so, not so! This was a bipartisan policy and it involved an administration under which you served.  Perhaps the shock of losing while winning has impacted your memory? Isn’t this a great system? A person can lose while winning and then go on and shovel a bunch of, well, we’re well-acquainted with that on the left by now.

It took The Real News Network to straighten the whole mess out in “Media Coverage of Trump Immigration Policies Ignores Democrats’ Complicity,” June 29, 2018). I’m surprised that the Statue of Liberty hasn’t flipped upside down with all of this misinformation. If it did, then perhaps Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus” might finally break off and this nonsense about giving us “your tired, your poor” and welcoming them with a lifted lamp could be seen for what it really is in the immigration bipartisan debacle that’s been over a decade in the making.

Most functioning people know by now that Trump is a racist lout, but his policies are not new. They’re part of the bipartisan agenda. Unlike Obama, however, Trump like any narcissistic dictator, uses immigrants as a means to the end of his reformation of this government to the far right and the redistribution of wealth ever upward. It’s that simple. He knows that some of his base of white supremacists and fellow traveling louts will rejoice in the cries of mothers, fathers, and children, but those supporters are really not the beneficiaries of Trump’s revolution. In fact, those that are laughing at that base are headed en masse to the bank before Il Duce falls from grace.

In the relatively small hill town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, hundreds gathered, for a second demonstration that expressed outrage at Trump’s immigration policy. At some level, those marking what may have been the largest protest in the town’s history, may have forgotten the bipartisan design on immigration in the U.S. Much spirit was in evidence at this rally, as was (and at about 750 other demonstrations) the spirit of hundreds of thousands of people  across the country. Again, protest without resistance only has marginal effects on those in power. We seem to reinvent the wheel again and again among some on the left and among liberals. And Hillary deludes herself into thinking that the repression of immigrants all started with the orange man.

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Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He is the author of Against the Wall: Memoir of a Vietnam-Era War Resister (2017).

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