These truly are not normal times. And in this abnormality, an infinite number of offenses have aggravated the most basic standards of social coexistence and human integration: from direct and public bullying of less-favored immigrants to the separation of families at a border that has become a shameful scar, and where migrant children have borne the brunt of the pain.
Anyone who has failed to note this surely has been living in an “alternate reality,” out of convenience, and has imagined himself permanently interacting in a fragile bubble created by a papier-mâché leader who supports supremacy.
And things continue to occur that surprise each and every one of us while the electoral gap closes dizzyingly, with scarcely three weeks until we can try to rebuild the battered image of a nation outraged by racism and xenophobia, once more in its history, with the bulk of its citizenry trying to at least shake off, for once and for all, that cross that has defined it socially and anthropologically speaking.
We see, for example, a president who, as part of his re-election campaign, declares himself “immune” to the coronavirus, after testing positive days before, trying to project a misleading image that fits perfectly well with the imagination of the group that follows him with eyes closed and idolizes him to the point of delirium, as if he were a being with unimaginable super powers; and who gives cover to his followers left and right who, paradoxically, come to see him without respecting the necessary social distancing to avoid becoming infected.
We witness, astonished, the confirmation hearings of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, at a time when the Senate should not be working on that and when the entire country should be totally focused on the political reality with the most relevance for any democracy, the presidential election on November 3.
We listen, likewise surprised, when this judge refuses to answer whether it’s morally wrong to separate children from their parents in order to deter other immigrants from coming to the United States, as Senator Cory Booker asked during his time.
We receive, perplexed, the news that the Supreme Court finally flexed its muscle to prevent the continuation of the Census to the end of October, establishing a strict end date of Thursday the 15th, putting at risk a full count of minorities and undocumented immigrants, with its consequential impact on the distribution of districts and resources.
We read, with terror, that new and even more severe strains of COVID-19 are expected this fall, reactivating and encouraging fears among the Latino immigrant community, especially the segment of workers considered “essential,” who have suffered already between infections and deaths, never mind that lack of health care that affects millions of undocumented immigrants.
We learn, anxiously, about the looming officialization of the policy that permits ICE agents to arrest and deport, in an expedited manner, undocumented immigrants who have been in the United States for less than two years, without the right to go before a judge, a practice that immigration authorities already showed to be effective a couple of weeks ago with the arrest of more than 120 immigrants, most with criminal records, according to the official report.
It has also been especially unsettling to know that members of ICE in New York are pretending to be police officers or members of an anti-narcotics squad in order to terrorize Latino neighborhoods, with the goal of arresting immigrants. About that, the city’s own mayor, Bill De Blasio, underscored that “these types of activities jeopardize the willingness of immigrant New Yorkers in interacting with the NYPD on crucial matters involving public safety and local law enforcement.”
And so the list of dangerous aberrations goes on as we get closer to Election Day, not forgetting the cryptic message the leader of the United States sent during the first presidential debate to his most violent followers—those whom he avoided condemning for being part of white supremacy—just telling them to “stand back and stand by.” Or the absurd and anachronistic electoral strategy of equating one’s enemy with “communism” or with “the left,” as if those terms really have any place in a dynamic socio-economic system that reproduces itself every day, including its inequalities and the widening gap between rich and poor, and where all is reduced to the law of supply and demand.
But if something defines the contexts in which every society develops, it’s the common thread that recreates them. In such a way that if the majority of the population has already realized the anomaly that “Trumpism” represents for the dignity and advancement of this country constituted as a system, it would not be difficult to recuperate normality. In fact, more than 11 million people have already voted early in at least 38 of the 50 states in the nation, 7% of them Latino and who, according to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), have backed Joe Biden by 67% compared with 24% for Donald Trump. But it’s not just about recovering the normality that we breathed someway before the era that asphyxiated us, but one that continues to pave a new road in which all are included, as the current demographic and multicultural reality of this nation, and in which promises made have been kept.
Otherwise, it would be awful if we lost this historic opportunity.
To read the Spanish version of this article click here.