and sitting through President Trump’s address to Congress was
arduous, to say the least. There are so many things that can be said
about the speech, not the least being how many inaccuracies
were mouthed by Trump. I wish I could say that was the most
disturbing part, but it was not.
speech was the most xenophobic speech by a US President that I can
remember. If you took him seriously, barbarians are approaching the
gates and it is everyone for themselves. I actually wish that we
could afford to make fun of him and his rhetoric, but there was a
deadly seriousness to what was offered.
was not just that Trump went after immigrants from the global South
as the alleged sources of crime. Nor was it that he reiterated the
misinformation that terrorism in the USA is mainly perpetrated by
people coming from outside the USA. It was the cynical manipulation
of the relationship of African Americans and immigrants from the
global South that really caught my attention.
things first. At no point did Trump mention the Russian mafia. This
is remarkable because they constitute the most feared criminal
organization in the USA, an organization that has carried out
multiple killings in the USA. In listening to Trump, one would have
the impression that crime originates south of the Rio Grande. It is
also remarkable because crime carried out by immigrants, whether
documented or undocumented, does not constitute the major source of
crime and violence in the USA.
second point is that President Trump is a bit fast and loose when it
comes to discussing terrorism. The major source of terrorism in the
USA, since 11 September 2001, has been right-wing, white supremacist
individuals and organization rather than Muslim terrorists. To this
we must add that most acts of terror carried out by Muslim terrorists
have been the acts of individuals legally in the USA.
Now, however, let’s
get to the cynicism. Trump nuanced the xenophobia through playing up
the alleged threat that immigrants from the global South constitute
for African Americans. It was no accident that Trump used examples of
alleged criminal activities by immigrants against African Americans.
as the Trump administration is working overtime to split up organized
labor, in the speech to Congress evidence was displayed of an effort
to create a wedge between African Americans and immigrants from the
global South, suggesting that such immigrants are our competitors as
well as being a threat to our very existence. This was smooth and
well-choreographed, but clearly something that flies in the face of
facts and, as such, was quite demagogic.
are not closing down factories and other workplaces. They are not the
major sources of crime and violence in African American communities.
The immigrants that Trump wishes us to focus upon are those from the
global South, many of whom are coming to these shores as a direct
result of the economic, political and military policies (and actions)
of the USA. This contrasts with why East Europeans, for instance,
would come here. And the fact that Trump never seems to get around to
mentioning European immigrants is not representative of a memory
lapse, but rather a calculated effort to focus the attention of
non-immigrants on immigrants from the global South as our alleged
enemies rather than focusing on the multi-national corporations and
the capitalists who run them.
we are not foolish enough to be played.