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Tom Engelhardt 198

September 13, 2016
Tomgram: Aviva Chomsky, Deportations "R" Us

For the sake of this discussion -- of any discussion of Donald Trump, in fact -- what our language needs is an extreme vetting. Certain words and phrases arriving from dangerous linguistic zones and threatening to upend The Donald’s world really should be banned. And I’m not just talking about “Sharia law” or “Syrian refugee.” The dangers to his thinking process are endless, even though setting up Cold War-style extreme-vetting tests for words that might emigrate into The Donald’s universe with mayhem in mind would take time and effort.

Let me just give you a sense of what might be involved with a single word: “irony.” (Think of it, for safety’s sake, as the I-word.) We’re talking about the man who, having just met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, promptly gave a 7,000 word, 10-point stemwinder of a speech in Phoenix, Arizona, on what to do about “illegal immigration.” It began with him magnanimously hailing “the great contributions of Mexican-American citizens to our two countries, my love for the people of Mexico, and the leadership and friendship between Mexico and the United States.” And then moved on to point one: “We will build a great wall along the southern border. And Mexico will pay for the wall. One hundred percent. They don't know it yet, but they're going to pay for it.” (The suckers!) And oh yes, somewhere in there -- I forget which point it was -- he suggested deporting Hillary Clinton for, like an illegal immigrant who has committed crimes in this country, “evading justice.”

Lurking terroristically in the vicinity of the speech threatening violence, however, was that I-word. After all, it was given by the man who personally chose to hire undocumented Polish workers to tear down the building that was replaced by Trump Tower. He reportedly worked them “in 12-hour shifts with inadequate safety equipment at subpar wages that their contractor paid sporadically, if at all.” One of the points in his Phoenix speech, by the way, was that illegal immigrants of the sort he hired are taking away good American jobs. (They aren’t.) But -- shhh, no I-word allowed -- he himself made a point of hiring “guest workers,” mainly from Romania, for his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida; hundreds of them, in fact, while, according to the New York Times, hiring only 17 local residents from among the hundreds who applied.

A second word in need of a Trumpian vetting is “contradiction,” but don’t get me started on that, especially since yet another reason for extreme vetting is laid out today by TomDispatchregular Aviva Chomsky. She makes clear just how dangerous it might be if a phrase like “American history” were allowed to enter the immigration debate right now. It might terrorize us all with a vision of an urge, deep in the country’s make-up, to create an all-white America. Tom
Is Trump an Aberration? 
The Dark History of the “Nation of Immigrants”
By Aviva Chomsky


Liberal Americans like to think of Donald Trump as an aberration and believe that his idea of building a great wallalong the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent immigrants from entering the country goes against American values. After all, as Hillary Clinton says, “We are a nation of immigrants.” In certain ways, in terms of the grim history of this country, they couldn’t be more wrong.
Donald Trump may differ from other contemporary politicians in so openly stating his antipathy to immigrants of a certain sort.  (He’s actually urged the opening of the country to more European immigrants.)  Democrats like Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton sound so much less hateful and so much more tolerant.  But the policies Trump is advocating, including that well-publicized wall and mass deportations, are really nothing new.  They are the very policies initiated by Bill Clinton in the 1990s and -- from border militarization to mass deportations -- enthusiastically promoted by Barack Obama.  The president is, in fact, responsible for raising such deportations to levels previously unknown in American history.
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