Fuck Off, Tired, Poor and Hungry!

« July 2010 »

Memo to anti-immigrant forces: YOU ARE DUMB.

It's become painfully obvious that 2010's official Big Bugaboo is going to be illegal immigrants. Each election year, roughly six or so groups compete to see who's going to get demonized the most by the right in their attempt to convince people that voting Republican is the only way to protect themselves from the Enemy.

The past decade started with terrorists riding high. Then gays took over, followed by socialists, who made a resurgence after changing from their maiden name, communists. The poor and minorities have fallen a bit since their heydays as welfare queens and Willie Horton, respectively, and that's because their place may be the one American job illegal immigrants can claim to have legitimately stolen.

Illegal immigrants have it all. They're poor, they're minorities, AND their undocumented status gives their opponents plausible deniability when their blind hatred seems a bit too race- or class-based for comfort. This is why you frequently see people responding to suggestions that their motives may be less than pure with "What part of ILLEGAL don't you understand?"

I understand illegal just fine. I understand that speeding is illegal, for example. And while I understand that, in the aggregate, an excess of speeding can lead to an overall small decrease in societal safety or a small increase in societal harm, I also know that, for the most part, any one speeder, any hundred speeders, any thousand speeders are just going about their business whipping past me in the left lane, and otherwise leaving me alone.

But illegal-immigrant-opponents act like every single illegal immigrant washing dishes or picking lettuce is an affront to America's very existence. Which is why you get things like Jan Brewer making up shit about them decapitating people in the desert, Lou Dobbs making up shit about them bringing leprosy, and a couple of wingnuts in Utah publishing a list of names and private information, including children's names, of 1,300 people they thought were illegal immigrants.

Word is the assholes worked for the welfare department, dug out a bunch of Hispanic surnames from the databases there, and mailed them to immigration officials, law enforcement agencies, and the media demanding that they be deported. If they did that, they are deeply fucked, because they're fired at the minimum and imprisoned at the maximum. But the fact that they thought it was a good idea in the first place speaks to the depth of the current anti-immigrant sentiment in America, and the willingness of right-wing politicians to drum it up and feed off of it.

On the vaguely positive side, we've found an anti-immigrant action that, so far, no proper right-wing commentator or columnist has been willing to overtly defend. So that's where the line is drawn now. Oh, sure, there's the usual yammering about "heroes" and "patriots" from the deep wingnut comment threads, but when you really need to watch out is when the people with the megaphones try to normalize this behavior the way they did with torture, and racial profiling, and so on.

It hasn't happened yet. But the election's still more than three months off. There's plenty of time.