Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Nostalgia Is Just Amnesia Turned Around

If only we had a President like this today: classy, compassionate, inclusive!  That is what a lot of diehard Obama cultists are still saying in social media, conveniently forgetting his actual record.

The quotation is authentic.  Also, "Obama said this year’s influx reflects 'the desperation and the violence that exists in some of these Central American countries.'"  That was true, as Obama knew well, for he had encouraged and supported the violence in some of those Central American countries - Honduras, for one, which suffered a military coup followed by state killings of dissidents.  But he has a history of smirking disdain for the suffering inflicted by the US and its proxies, to say nothing of his embrace of dictators around the world.

Even if the US had no share of responsibility for the violence and desperation these refugees are fleeing, we would still have an obligation to help them when they arrive.  Refugees are not illegal immigrants: under the law they have a right to seek asylum here.  And given the US' reluctance to honor that right, it's hardly surprising that many of them would try to bypass the official process -- especially since, as the ABC story admits, many of them have relatives here, including parents, who could take them in.  The whole aim of US immigration policy for the past several decades has been to make it more difficult for immigrants, or migrant workers, or refugees to cross the border safely.  That so many risk death anyway doesn't speak badly for them, it speaks badly for the US.

Comparisons to the Holocaust are distasteful to many, and aren't really necessary to condemn Obama and Trump, but it's worth remembering that many Jewish refugees found it difficult to escape Nazi Germany or occupied Europe, not only because the Nazis wouldn't let them out, but because other countries, including the US, wouldn't let them in.  That's as much a stain on our history as the internment of Japanese American citizens, though it's less remembered now.  It should be remembered: it's as relevant to current events as the concentration camps.