The Single Greatest Threat To Democracy: Brown People??
We’ve all heard about the asylum seekers at the border being tear gassed by border patrol. Most of these folks come from countries that the United States has destabilized through various actions- El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. But what are our officials so afraid of? After all, this country was built on immigration.
Conservative officials and pundits talk about things like abuse of welfare benefits, but the reality of welfare is that you do have to be a citizen. Conservatives also talk about job loss, but again the reality shows that a very high percentage of Latino immigrants end up as farm workers or other menial jobs. I grew up in the Napa Valley, and I never heard even one of my friends, when we got old enough to work, say that they were going to try to get a job picking grapes. Instead, we all wanted to work at the record store or the video (rental) store.
This is nothing new, however. This country has a very long history of racism. No, what these asylum seekers represent, to those on the right who are so concerned with immigrants they want to build a multi-billion dollar wall, is, like the title says, the single greatest threat to democracy today. Why? The answer is simple: Latinos (and blacks) generally vote on the progressive side. So, how can conservative officials possibly be okay with a caravan of liberal voters coming across the border. No, these people won’t be voting until they’re citizens, but that’s what (I believe) conservatives see- a caravan of future liberal voters.
Conservatives want, very deeply, to protect the power that they’ve gerrymandered and suppressed so many votes to attain. So when they see a migrant from Guatemala, they see a threat to democracy. And when I refer to democracy in this way, I am of course referring to which group, or groups, of people hold the wealth in this country. These folks want to hold on to their family wealth. They might use phrases like “take our money” but what they’re really concerned about is a return to policies that make it difficult for them to accumulate wealth, or even scarier….. (gasp!) socialism!
And yet, their own policies of exploiting Central and South American countries, the support of dictators and drug lords, the School Of The Americas*, these are the policies that created such unstable and dangerous situations in these countries that people are desperate to leave and risk coming to a country that claims 1 out of every 7 people living in poverty in the world**.
Democracy simply cannot work if one group of people is able to stifle, control or silence the voices of another group of people. Few conservatives would use the phrase “An America for white Americans”, but that does seem to be what they are trying to protect. If too many brown and black voices are allowed, power (and thus wealth) will drain out of white America and be shared. Thus the constant fear rhetoric regarding immigration, the gerrymandering of districts to minimize the political impact of votes from people of color, the voter suppression laws and the illegal purging of hundreds of thousands (or more) of black people or people with Spanish last names***.
This bears an unmistakable similarity to what’s going on in Israel right now, between the Israelis and Palestinians. The Israeli government is Zionist, and Zionism believes in an Israel for Jewish people****. Israel had to be recreated in 1948, though and there were a whole lot of Palestinians living there. There’s far too much history, and very complicated history at that, to get into here, but Israel claims to be a democracy, and yet a true democracy would give equal voice to the Palestinian residents.
Zionists in Israel (and in the U.S.) can’t have Palestinians ever in control of the Knesset (Israeli parliament) or worse, the Prime Minister position, so something must be done to control Palestinian voices. And I’m not trying to blame Israel completely for the struggle between the two peoples, or the violence. Its very complicated, and involves corruption on the part of Palestinian leadership and hegemony on the part of several outside nations as well. But one thing is clear: if the Palestinians are in the majority, and one person gets one equal vote, Jewish sovereignty over Israel would be threatened. This may give motive to the forced relocation of so many Palestinians from what should have been a neutral zone, and the rapid construction of Israeli homes in that same neutral zone, in violation of international law. Thus Zionism and democracy are incompatible, the same as right wing ideology in the U.S. is incompatible with democracy.
Are brown people the single greatest threat to democracy? Of course not! If anything, the coming of more migrants that become citizens and vote progressive may actually overwhelm some of the unfair measures mentioned above (voter purges, gerrymandering, voter suppression laws) and bring us a true democracy for possibly the first time in this country’s existence. If you live in another country, and want to come to this country, I don’t envy your journey but I welcome you with open arms. Please come. Thanks for reading.
* - The School of the Americas is a school, run by the U.S. Department of Defense, that has trained many of the strongmen and drug lords that have plagued Latin America. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_of_the_Americas_Watch
** - Based on a recent study by Credit Suisse, 2018
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