Here on the left, we like to think that because we believe in the better angels of humanity, that people aren't as vile as they so often seem. We can find peace, we like to think, in places where there will never be peace. Or we think we can find compromise with people who would rather plunge off a cliff than take our hand. "We are better than that," we say, referring to how people behave in certain situations, thinking that their initial reactions will not be borne out by their further actions.
It is the foolish net that we trap ourselves in time and again when the truth of the matter is that, as a nation, not on an individual basis, but as a conglomerate of the whole, no, we are not better than that. At best, we are exactly what we are.
Charles Blow, in today's New York Times, writes about "The fight over how to process and care for masses of children from Central America who have crossed into this country." He details some of the responses, from outright hostility to farce, like when Republican congressional candidate Adam Klansman...sorry, Kwasman protested a busload of kids heading to the Oracle, Arizona YMCA for camp because he thought they were filthy immigrants.
Blow Laments, "This is not the best face of a great nation. This is the underside of a great stone, which when lifted sends creepy things slithering in all directions. We are better than this. We are more compassionate than this. We are more honorable than this."
To which one can only say, "Have you met us lately?"
Now, the Rude Pundit admires the hell out of Blow and generally agrees with him. But this kind of wistful belief in the intrinsic good of Americans is simply not reality. Reality reveals that we're assholes (again, as a whole, not on an individual basis, although, you know...), that any good we stumblefuck into doing is accomplished only after much turmoil. The belief that, as a counter-protester in Oracle said, "We are better than that" is as much a myth for the left as the belief on the right that we can return to some kind of utopian past that never existed.
Obviously, anti-immigrant movements in the United States are not new. They go back at least to when those fuckin' Irish wanted to come here and fuck up our nice and totally not Indian nation. "But," you might respond passionately, "these are children. Children, goddamnit." Ah, yes, and that's why the fuckery of the anti-immigrationists has become even more intense. They can't just be child refugees who are fleeing horrific violence in order to avoid being killed, forced into gangs, or die from extreme poverty.
No, they must be secret drug criminals sent here to destroy our nation or they are disease-ridden creatures ready to bring Ebola to Texas. They must be wide-eyed invaders, here to establish a beachhead that will open the shores for the even more insidious influx of their, gasp, parents. They are political pawns of Democrats who want to push an amnesty bill through Congress, even though Congress won't do jack shit on immigration, so Democrats are tweeting, tweeting, motherfuckers, for undocumented children to come rushing through the border so they can grow up and vote Democratic, just like all those Cubans in Florida back in 1980, oh, right, they vote Republican, too, it's why we have Marco Rubio, but, hey, it must be evil Obama wanting to prove a point about his imperial power. Or some such shit.
Either way, there's hordes of mostly white people willing to bodily block buses carrying these kids and teens. There's people claiming that Jesus hisself would demand it. "It’s a gross mischaracterization of Christianity to apply it to tolerating the mass lawlessness, death and damages involved in illegal immigration," said one guy named Who the Fuck Cares. The fat ass Minutemen have declared "Operation Normandy" to stop the invaders (although someone should point out that if they're the guys on the shore firing at Tom Hanks on the beach, that makes them...oh, fuck it, don't tell 'em).
Yes, yes, there will be acts of kindness, no doubt, no doubt. Many are occurring right now. Many believe that we need to follow the law on how we treat kids from Central American countries and give them a hearing to see if they need asylum.
The Rude Pundit wishes we were better than we are. But we're not. In fact, chances are that we're far, far worse than that. We are now in the midst of one more moral test. Frankly, if this ends without a call for all the kids to be lined up and shot, it would be a fuckin' miracle and we can call it a wash.