Maribel Hastings y David Torres
As part of the theater of his re-election campaign, our “genius” president now wants to deploy elite Border Patrol forces to sanctuary cities in the interior of the country in order to detain undocumented immigrants. It seems that the spirit of the failed “Punitive Expedition” that Woodrow Wilson ordered to capture Pancho Villa in 1916, utlizing 12,000 soldiers who came back completely empty-handed, has been reincarnated in the most sinister fantasies of today’s leader.
It is a fact that the “Bluffer in Chief” continues to be fortified after being absolved by the colluding Republican Senate, and he is using immigrants as scapegoats and red meat in the Roman circus that he offers to his base at every opportunity. The hails to the “new Caesar” from his own town square are legendary and reflect the level of degradation to which a democracy that believes itself to be perfect, but has been turned over as a minor prize to those who differed completely from the concept of the “power of the people,” can fall.
And nothing changes. His audience continues to be his base and toward this are directed all the initiatives he is attempting to finance the wall, take over land for this very purpose, or send border guards to the interior of the country to assist ICE. It’s all just a system of punishments, more than a plan to strengthen the republic, with immigrants as the obvious targets.
But we should point out that the show has a double intention. On the one hand, it tries to satisfy the anti-immigrant thirst of Trump and his base, something that to this moment he is achieving. On the other hand, it’s trying to generate terror and panic in immigrant communities and, at the same time, challenge the leaders of so-called sanctuary cities that have become his obsession, the stone in his shoe. And for that, he returns to plans that seem copied from Hollywood movies, with Rambos, Robocops, and Terminators in his anti-immigrant imagination searching for the “delinquents,” the “bad men.”
That attitude is very Trumpian: looking for a way to exact vengeance on those who challenge and confront him. Because Trump is really careless about his public policies. He only operates to further what is beneficial to him, personally and politically speaking, even if his promises later result in nothing. He has turned the White House, in reality, into his House of Fantasies.
That happened with the wall, which he is attempting to revive this electoral year at any cost to demonstrate to this same base that he will follow through on his 2016 promise. A wall that has already been put to the test by intense gusts of wind that exposed the weakness of an object that has no other purpose than to continue placating those who seek nothing more in the short term than promises to satisfy personal agendas of hate.
And since he is so connected to the drama of the reality shows, he is now looking to generate attention by sending border patrol agents further than 100 miles from the border where they supposedly operate, and he hasn’t even defined exactly what they will do. It’s just a political marketing strategy to find out how the potential customer reacts and maintain, in the background, the possibility of making good on his threat, depending on the circumstances.
However, it is difficult to ask the immigrant community, which has been constantly attacked, to see this move from Trump as only that of a politician trying to get re-elected, because the fear is real. And this act, as a tactic of intimidation, is also real. Because as a representative of power he has all the resources, economic and human, to inflict not only psychological damage as he is now, but also physical and familial damage, something he seems to enjoy like a sociopath relishes the anguish of his victims.
And this is not an intimidation tactic uniquely directly at immigrants. In 2020, an electoral year during which the decennial Census will also take place, the intention of this government is to ensure that migrants and people of color do not participate in the accounting, and come November, create an image of invincibility to discourage us from participating in the electoral process, because “the die is cast.” This is all the more difficult, but in the long haul will have a boomerang effect that will determine the fate of those who now exercise dominant power instead of a constitutional government.
One has to confront Trump’s theater, his world of “make believe,” with a dose of reality that leaves do doubt at all. It only remains to be seen, essentially, whether these nearly four years of intimidations, bullying, attacks on migrants, people of color, women, and so many other sectors and institutions, generate a massive movement to the polls that put an end to the sad spectacle that is the Trump presidency.
To read the Spanish-language version of this article click here.