June 30, 2018

Immigrants Aren’t the Problem

Now for a migratory, border wall busting edition of…

SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!

This one is for just about anyone blaming immigrants for, well, anything.

We’ve all heard it. “They’re taking our jobs! They’re committing crimes! They’re costing tax money! They won’t even learn English or assimilate!” And so on.

Just stop. It’s been the same complaints over and over, ever since those horrible immigrants were Irish and even in other places. And it’s not clear why some of these complaints are specific to immigrants, as native born citizens are guilty of whatever the complaints are as well.

Oh, “they took our jerbs?” So are you saying that if you lost your job to a non-immigrant citizen it’d be fine? Wouldn’t you be just as without a job?

“They’re bringing drugs and gangs!” Right, because there aren’t any homegrown gangs? Trust me, even if all traffic in and out the country stopped, these things would continue.

“But it’s illegal immigrants that are the problem! They’re illegal!” So let’s make the path to legal citizenship easier then- Oh, you’re grumbling at that now? Okay, so somehow I don’t think the legality is what you’re so worried about. But I already knew that given all the jaywalking and neglecting to use turn signals that you do.

“But they don’t understand or care about American values!” Do you?

There’s no real backing to any of these usual anti-immigrant complaints, yet people are screaming bloody murder about them coming here as if this is life or death. No, you imbecile, it’s life or death for those who are coming here. They’re not leaving their home countries for shits and giggles. They are leaving because the situation at home has gotten extremely dangerous, such that their lives are on the line if they stick around.

So they come here to the US. And we should be PROUD of this! That when other countries unfortunately have problems and their people need someplace to go for safety, they see us and think “hey, that place looks great!” And they come here and become part of us and flourish. Isn’t that what we’re all about?

At least they would, except right now we’ve got dickheads in charge who recently decided it’d be a good idea to break up the families of those trying to seek asylum here. As in snatching small children from their parents and locking them away in their own camp, without any real means of being able to reunite them, all because these people had the gall to -gasp!- try to come into this country and HOLY SHIT this is a real thing that is happening in my country and how the fuck is anybody okay with this?!

Except for Jeff Sessions, who gleefully declares it a means of deterring these desperate people from trying to come here, because, well, it’s already obvious he has no soul, but I think his presence also saps the life force of anyone in his general vicinity. This is just plain raw evil right before our eyes, as this country’s Attorney General, and he does this believing there is a base to appeal to with this behavior. That the people who share in this evil, who are all for it and genuinely believe it’s good for the country, are the only people in this big diverse country worth appealing to.

And, you know, even if all the above paranoia about immigrants were true, and even exclusively so for immigrants, how is this sadistic backlash justified? How is ripping a terrified toddler from his mother’s arms and locking him up hundreds of miles away without any means in place of returning him no matter what happens with the rest of the family even remotely an appropriate response? Or, since that practice was finally ordered to halt a few days ago, locking them all up indefinitely? Why is there such a deep-seated fear of immigrants, be they Latin Americans or Syrians or whoever else, that anyone could believe them so deserving of the most horrific treatment for simply trying to come here? That this attempt to migrate here is deserving of swift and terrible retribution? What the fuck kind of country are we to behave this way, and what the fuck kind of people do we have here who look unflinchingly at this and think “this is fine”?

I don’t have an answer for that. Other than that it may be apathy or simply not knowing what to do or what can be done. Or in the case that they do truly believe all this is fine and good, and there is a fair share of them, they’ve been lied to for a long time. Because it’s not like such people feel this way due to specific incidents with immigrants. Even if they lost their jobs or were victims of some crimes due to illegal immigrants, somehow they had to be convinced it was the illegal immigration aspect to blame rather than anything else. Somehow they’ve been convinced not to look at the hiring practices and motivations behind those who might take an illegal immigrant employee over a citizen, that they might perhaps see an excuse to pay this person less and threaten them with deportation if they complain about treatment. It’s like, why blame those in power who create the problem when you can blame the powerless desperate migrant who has so much more to lose?

And that’s the core of it all here. Those screaming against immigrants are doing it because someone wants them to and is happily stoking the paranoia. Someone pointed to the immigrants, said they were the reason for the economic hardships of much of our population, and that population swallowed this right up and watches the indefinite migrant detentions with glee. Without a care for the long-term effects, be they personal for those migrants or for all of us for being citizens of the country responsible for it.

Immigrants aren’t the problem. Whoever is trying so hard to make you believe they are is the actual problem.

This has been Day 38 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 18.

June 14, 2018

Internal Threats

Filed under: 100 Days of Summer,Decrees!,Sports! — Katrina @ 1:54 pm

I hereby decree…

Colin Kaepernick is an American hero.

So a few weeks ago, NFL owners banned players from kneeling or otherwise not overtly respecting the flag during the national anthem. Or they could just stay in the locker room during it. That way they are out of sight and their lack of participation in athletic patriotic theater doesn’t have to offend anyone. Any non-compliant players and their teams would be fined.

Now there’s a ton to unpack here. For one, how many of these players do we keep finding out have been beating women and children? Yet they just get to keep on playing as long as they stand for the flag.

Why do sporting events have these patriotic and military displays to begin with? What do they even have to do with each other? Well, it seems the Pentagon has been paying teams for these displays for a long time, although apparently they’ve finally stopped. It explains why the games have them, but there’s the other troubling question of why the Pentagon has been doing this in the first place. Perhaps the pageantry is supposed to inspire a feeling of blind loyalty?

That may be the case. After all, Kaepernick and all the others who have taken a knee are doing it because things within the country we love aren’t that great, namely, as these guys are about, police brutality and the racism that perpetuates it. They don’t hate the country itself. They hate something seriously wrong that is happening in it and are using their public platform to call attention to it.

But calling this attention to something wrong in the country ruffles a lot of feathers. For one, so many miss the important distinction between calling attention to a serious wrong in an otherwise loved country and hating the country. The message is supposed to be “please stop killing black people!” but some keep reading it as (or claiming to read it as) “I don’t support the troops!”

It’s a weird stretch to see a perceived lack of reverence for the flag and the national anthem as a slight against the military. Perhaps it’s mostly a guilt trip, that these soldiers went out and died for this country and that flag while not showing proper reverence for that flag somehow diminishes their sacrifice. It’s a bullshit guilt trip, of course. I mean, the Star Spangled Banner is literally about the flag surviving a war, but apparently it can’t survive a football player kneeling?

It’s also bullshit because the point is to silence the kneelers’ message. I mean, I get being indignant when it seems like someone is raining on your celebration, where you want to enjoy the bit of tacky showy patriotism, only for someone to be like “okay, but a lot of bad shit is happening”. We’re all permitted our escapism, and watching football is most definitely that. But the military promotion is kind of in and of itself flying in the face of that, because it’s like we all just want to chill and watch a game, and there they are being like “but don’t forget, war is a thing!”

You know, they go on about the sacrifices these soldiers have made and celebrate them and the country, but gloss over any justification for why those soldiers were wherever they were in the first place, why they had to die, or, which would drive their point home more but they nonetheless avoid it, how mind-blowingly horrifying war is. But of course that’s how they sell it. They want more people to sign up and keep promoting doing so as something heroic and glorious, and a lot of us eat it up. I mean, if it were always just causes, sure, but the reality has a lot more shades of grey.

Maybe this is why it ruffles so many feathers to see a black man kneeling instead of saluting, calling attention to the senseless murders of other black people in a society that sees only white people as important or worthwhile. They don’t want their attention called to serious problems within the country these soldiers are making the ultimate sacrifice for (and they certainly don’t like a black person calling attention to a failing of white society). They don’t like this perceived slight against heroes.

But then again, Colin Kaepernick is himself heroic. I mean, he’s not at a literal war, true, but he’s speaking out about an important issue at great personal risk.

I’ve mentioned before about the difference in perception of members of the military and social activists, where the former are considered heroic and deserving of unquestionable praise while the latter are troublemakers who should sit down and shut up, something that is clearly playing out here. But the social activists need to be recognized as the heroes they are, because what they work on are internal threats, which are often even more dangerous than anything from the outside.

For example, September 11th was touted by some as an attack on our freedom. But what ended up happening was we curtailed our own freedom in response. The horrific attacks happened but alone did nothing to change how free we were or weren’t. Everything from reduced civil liberties to Islamophobia we did on our own. None of that could be fixed by sending troops to Afghanistan. These were at home internal threats that domestic activists had to rectify, knowing it would destroy us to let them go unabated, all the while being called unAmerican.

Let me say this again. These internal threats would destroy us. Racism is destroying this country, as are sexism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, and the rest. These are not mere inconveniences for certain affected populations, but a serious problem that can and will destroy us. After all, those affected populations are just as American, and more importantly just as human. This country belongs to them at least as much as to any privileged white people who get to debate this as a distant rhetorical game rather than live it on a daily basis. When you truly understand that, then you’ll understand how urgent the problem is, and how much deep shit we’re in as a nation when we not only don’t effectively address it but mock and vilify those who do. And you’ll understand it’s nothing you can point the military at. It’s all within.

I’d like to point out also that I do like our flag and our national anthem. I can feel that way while recognizing how dangerous it is to make them mandatory.

This has been Day 22 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 18.

June 8, 2018

All for This

Filed under: 100 Days of Summer,Sports! — Katrina @ 7:27 pm

Sometimes you find that time after time, year after year, you hit your head against the same wall. Or you put your hopes in something that continually disappoints and does so hard. Sometimes you find yourself hoping and yet knowing the result will be the same. Sometimes you go or end up into something where it’s pretty much guaranteed you’re staring down hurt and frustration and disappointment and the subsequent depression.

This can be said for a lot in life.

Here in DC, the hope gets shattered in October and in May and sometimes in January, if any of those gets that far. When they do, they are shut down and hard. Every time there seems to be hope, a possibility. Maybe this time, it is said time and again, followed by maybe next year. Maybe next year. Maybe next year.

And why? What is even the point? Why be set up just to be knocked down? Why endure the nervousness only to feel it replaced with the icy rush of defeat flowing through your blood vessels? Why keep coming back? Why?

Because…

That tiny little possibility that it really just might be different this time.

Because…

Somehow…

Sometimes it is.

6/7/18 – NEVER FORGET

This has been Day 16 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 18.

Powered by WordPress