In a new Medium post, America’s Voice Executive Director Frank Sharry assesses what’s driving President Trump’s turbocharged attacks on immigrants and refugees and what’s at stake as we head toward the 2018 midterms.
Check out excerpts below:
…why this relentless focus on immigrants and refugees?
Because this is the core of Trump’s political strategy. It worked for him in 2016 and he hopes it will work in 2018. He appeals to angry voters who want to blame somebody else for the disruptions of the modern world. He gives voice to fear and loathing. His endless efforts to demonize, dehumanize and “other” immigrants and refugees is the glue that holds together his coalition. It’s the animating force of his ethno-nationalism. It’s the rally chant that still echoes. It’s the tail that wags the GOP dog. It’s the issue which has most free-market, pro-immigration conservatives fearing his wrath, coddling his voters, and aping his nativism.
Trump mobilizes his aggrieved followers by pitting “us vs. them,” with the “us” being the embattled and forgotten white people of America and the “them” being the threatening hordes of all the others. That’s why he has declared war on California; he seems to think that a culture war with a progressive and diverse state will play well in flyover land. That’s why he wants to ask for the citizenship status in the Census; he wants to dilute the political power of states with diverse populations. That’s why he wants to kick out and keep out Latinos, Asians, Africans and Muslims and increase immigration from, say, Norway; it reinforces that notion that America is engaged in a zero-sum, us vs. them, if-I win, you-lose battle.
How should those of us who believe deeply in the American creed of E Pluribus Unum — Out of Many, One — respond?
…We need to articulate and advocate for a vision of America that is more powerful and more competitive than rank appeals to hate, resentment and exclusion. Our vision is written in our founding documents. Our vision is realized in the struggle to make our ideals real in the lives of one and all, regardless of the color of one’s skin, the gender of one’s body, the place of one’s birth, the religion of one’s choice, or the person one loves. Our vision is an aspiration that is an invitation. It may not be realized yet, but it’s a fight each and everyone of us can join and wage. Our vision is inclusive, not exclusive. It’s us and them, not us vs them. It’s E Pluribus Unum, not “Build the Wall.”
Our vision? It’s the American way.