With Fresh Eyes


The Changing Landscape

“A Monument to Fear.” This is how one commentator describes Trump’s obsession with constructing a “big, beautiful wall” on our southern border. Spouting mistruths about threats to our security has been the course taken by this administration on the border issue, an approach devoid of any benevolence toward those seeking refuge. The families searching for a better life have been wrongly vilified, then maltreated by severe family separation and deportation policies. Refugees fleeing from violence in their native countries are deserving of a better fate. Dehumanizing tactics such as family separation are a draconian, cold approach to this issue.

A shaming message underlies these policies, directed at our non-white residents and neighbors. It is a message of a fear of others, that there is an “invasion” underway that threatens our way of life, our well-being, our values. It has emerged as a central piece of a Trump doctrine, played out through persistent missives centered on the degradation of “others” – from the call for a Muslim ban to the “good people on both sides” claim after Charlottesville to the “why would America want immigrants from those s...hole countries” comment.

The facts invalidate Trump’s claims that there is a national emergency on the border. His statement that ports of entry are not the primary transport point for drugs are refuted by a 2018 report by the Drug Enforcement Administration. The DEA concluded that “Mexican drug cartels transport the bulk of their drugs through ports of entry using passenger vehicles and tractor trailers.”  Statistics also show a steady decline in unlawful border crossings from Mexico since 2000, coupled with a decrease in violence.

The columnist Meg Hobbins from The Baltimore Sun suggests that “the way to stem the flow of people fleeing persecution is to stop the persecution.”  She states, “The U.S. must dramatically shift its attention to constructive engagements in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, implementing a Marshall Plan for the region.  Families will continue to flee until the violence forcing their journey abates.” It is her adamant conclusion that we must address the root causes of migration, promoting economic development, investing in anti-corruption efforts, and bolstering programs against organized crime. Until then, though, the fearmongering that emanates from this administration must cease.  Our humanity as a generous and caring country must be heard.

The Wall has been nothing but a front for a racist, hateful message.  It’s the politics of fear, and it’s shameful.

The demographics of this country are changing. More women and people of color are on the front lines of policymaking. The mid-terms this past November resulted in the largest number of women ever seated in the U.S. House of Representatives. The make-up of the new Democrat-controlled House is a diverse mix of gender, race, and religious belief. With such change comes backlash, fueled by those who feel most threatened. Some fret over the shift in the power structure. I would, instead, argue it is reason for celebration that the varied faces of America are now taking their rightful place at the main table.

Contact Rich at richmskgn@gmail.com