Glenn Mollette’s June 23rd column was sneaky. He begins by evoking things that all Americans value and can agree about. We all want good jobs, good healthcare, good roads and bridges, a peacful life, and so on. Mollette then, in mid-paragraph, suddenly shifts to the question of immigration. What else do all real Americans want? “A good wall, strong security forces, and deportation of those who come unlawfully.”
Note how Mollette moves from things about which everyone agrees to propositions not everyone accepts. What, for example, is “a good wall”? Does everyone approve of ICE and its strongarm tactics? Do we all agree that mass deportations are necessary?
Mollette then goes on to say that we can’t live in the past, that we have to move forward. “None of us living today can change anything that our nation did a hundred years ago.”
What the author is doing here, obviously, is anticipating the objection that most of us had ancestors who were immigrants to this land and that the white European sort practiced genocide against the original inhabitants. In the eyes of the Native Americans, people who looked like Glenn Mollette were the “invaders.”
Having thus sneakily planted his defense of the Trump administration’s draconian measures for dealing with Latino migrants and asylum seekers and having, he imagines, disarmed his critics, Mollette comes full circle in his last paragraph, trotting out a list of platitudes, things all good people affirm as good: “Work hard. Treat others the way we would like to be treated. Help each other in this nation. Work to live at peace in the world,” etc.
Here’s my answer to the sneaky, xeonophobic Glenn Mollettes of this country:
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Nothing sneaky about those lines. Very American.
Kelly Anspaugh, Ada