The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.
– Leviticus, 19:34
The xenophobic Brown Shirts of Murietta, as well as others like them around the country, have horrified decent people everywhere with their vitriol and rage directed at Central American children, who are trying to escape torture and murder in their home countries. It’s easy to understand and perhaps blame the level of angst American workers feel when they imagine their “standard of living” challenged by low wage labor (despite support for the Right-to-Work (For Less) laws), and to pin it on narrow-minded nativism, a tough economy, scarce resources, and tribalism.
But, as Salon points out, there’s something else going here. There are words that I’m hesitant to roll out, because I feel they’re overused and their real meaning watered down by misuse — fascist (I prefer feudalist or some variant thereof) and evil among them — but for this situation, those words are well earned:
These are kids whose desperate parents are sending them away on their own to escape horrifying violence in their home countries. According to the New York Times these countries have been overrun with gang warfare, with kids as young as 6 and 7 being kidnapped and tortured to death.
And what is the response of the right wing? The protests in Murrieta, California, over the past week show scores of Americans screaming and spitting at busloads of kids and mothers with infants calling them diseased and worse. Major right-wing groups and media organizations are demagoguing the humanitarian crisis as an invasion of dependent leeches coordinated with the Democratic Party to bolster its voter rolls. (If only the Democrats were that far thinking …) And not to put too fine point on it, they are now calling for the president to rescind his executive order halting deportation of kids who would qualify for the Dream Act. Those are people who’ve spent their lives in this country and are as American as any of us who hold the passport. Talk about collective punishment.
This is the issue that the GOP will be carrying to its grave. The right to punish children, for trying to escape from violence in their homeland. The right-wing is already beginning to eat its own; conservatives not exactly known for their generous stance towards immigrants are being called out and tore down by the political right, including Brit Hume, who has been roundly chastised by conservatives for suggesting that the kids deserve to be treated with decency, and, of all people, Glenn Beck:
“Everybody is telling me I’m seeing subscriptions down; I’m seeing Mercury One donations down,” Beck said, growing emotional. “I’m getting violent emails from people who say I’ve ‘betrayed the Republic.’ Whatever. I’ve never taken a position more deadly to my career than this — and I have never, ever taken a position that is more right than this.”
Beck’s unforgivable crime? Planning to take food and supplies down to the border to help. And I absolutely agree with what he’s doing.
The right-wing response to the crisis has been nothing but unmitigated cruelty and, yes, absolutely unrepentant evil. What other words can you use to describe a desire to punish children — children — for trying to escape from violence?
This overtly cruel behavior by major right-wingers and their followers has been evident for some time. One could go back to the debates over the war on terror to see the outlines of it, with the vice president of the United States declaring that using the centuries-old form of torture known as waterboarding was a “no-brainer.” (Or the president reportedly wondering who authorized giving pain medication to injured detainees, for that matter.) Granted, war is hell and cruelty is a built-in characteristic, but this country had up until then at least paid lip service to the international prohibitions against torture. The breaking of that taboo was remarkably easy in a time of conservative dominance.
Of course, as Salon goes on acknowledge, their wanton cruelty doesn’t stop at the border; they’re more than happy to spread their evil and misery to people who are already in the country, as well. From Todd Akin, to the hard core right enthusiastically agreeing with the idea that people without health insurance should die; the cry to privatize social security and the attempts to dismantle disability insurance; there’s little left that resembles humanity on the political right. Just festering hatred deep inside of rotted souls laced with necrotic resentment and cancerous entitlement:
At one point, a man with a sign saying he has Parkinson’s disease and needs help sat down in front of the reform opponents. Several protesters mocked the man, calling him a “communist,” with one derisively “throwing money at him.” “If you’re looking for a handout you’re in the wrong end of town,” another man said.
And the name of that town? Either Sodom or Gomorrah, although “Sodomite” is much more satisfying to use against the homophobic right.
The greatest irony in all this is that their hatred, xenophobia, and rage is all wrapped in religion, which they use to shield themselves against criticisms (and to nail themselves on crosses when the criticism hits too close to home). They should know that the shortest verse in the Bible is “Jesus wept.”
They should also take note that the god they represent does not weep. That’d imply a degree humanity that their psychopathic god is not capable of.