The Consequences of Fearmongering
Since the early days of his election campaign, President Trump has utilized fearmongering tactics to terrify, and subsequently galvanize, a very specific subset of American voters. While he claims that his aggressive actions, racist tweets, and bumbling speeches all part of his “Make America Great Again” plan, the reality is that it’s easier for a weak political leader to stay in power by frightening people into submission and otherizing a convenient target – in this case, the Mexican and Central American migrants seeking legal access into the United States.
The anti-immigration rhetoric that embodies this administration has affected every person in the country. When a country is led by fear, there will always be people who act out in incomprehensible and violent ways. Trump is trying to please his foreign, corporate, and political allies, but his actions have ultimately scarred the country.
Mass Shootings Shock the Country (Again)
Last week, the country was horrified as two mass shootings occurred in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, killing over 30 Americans. Many right-wing politicians and news sources have failed to properly acknowledge the increasing political divide (and racist rhetoric) that reportedly motivated these tragedies, and instead placed the blame on video games, marijuana, and the – admittedly lacking – state of mental health care in the United States.
On August 7, 2019, President Trump visited the surviving victims of the shootings, and was met with protestors demanding gun control reform and a general shift in rhetoric to end the culture of violence that continues to harm our country. Trump reacted by criticizing each city’s mayor and tweeting about “Radical Left Democrats,” including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and how “Fake News” sites are negatively portraying the reception he received at the hospitals.
As Asawin Seubsaeng of the Daily Beast writes, “It underscored a reality that’s become obvious to anyone who has ever worked or even casually observed Trump: He’ll find a way to make nearly any national tragedy into an airing of his personal grievances, and neither he nor virtually anything else will change in the process.”
The President Addresses the Nation
Last Monday, President Trump addressed the nation by hypocritically condemning white supremacy and, like his cohorts, blaming mental health laws and violent video games for the two shootings. Of course, the president who panders to white supremacists at election rallies, disparages multiracial political leaders, and calls Mexican immigrants “criminals” and “rapists,” graced the country with the following statement in the aftermath of this tragedy: In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul.” Ironically, Trump blamed “Fake News” for “contributing greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over the years,” instead of reflecting on his own controversial and anti-immigrant policies.
President Trump also called for gun reform laws, but, considering the NRA is one of his greatest political and financial supporters, it’s no surprise that he sidestepped any details about this crackdown during the televised address.
Fortunately, the president didn’t vocalize his tweets from that morning that haphazardly attempted to marry firearm sales to immigration reform. Representative Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, commented on the president’s tweets and televised call to arms by cautioning, “What’s the connection between background checks for guns and immigration reform? That we have to keep guns out of the hands of invading hordes of less-than human people coming across our borders? That’s the implication. That’s disgusting. It reminds me of the 1930s in Germany.”
Unfortunately, Trump blamed mental illness in general for the events in El Paso and Dayton, furthering stigmatizing the 46 million Americans who are diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder, and other non-aggressive conditions. In fact, according to Aaron Blake of The Washington Post, only 3% of the violent crimes committed in America can be attributed to people with serious mental illnesses. Trump is perpetuating a dangerous and harmful narrative by making claims like, “mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.”
Quint Forgey, a breaking news reporter for Politico, noted that Democrats are unlike to agree to a deal that pairs “immigration measures with new gun action,” and recalls that “House Democrats passed a bill earlier this year to mandate federal criminal background checks on all gun sales, with some Republican support, but Trump vowed to veto the measure if it reached his desk.” In his article, he also took care to remind his readers of how the president “warned of an invasion” of Central American Migrants and laughed when an audience member shouted, “shoot them!”
The Trump Administration’s dangerous rhetoric is casting a dark shadow over our country. The only way to remedy this sociopolitical landscape is for the president to stop demagoguing legal immigration and criminalizing migrants for the purpose of fundraising his election campaign. The presidential office also needs to distance itself from the gun rights lobby that prioritizes profit over human lives.
Restructure the Narrative by Pursuing Your Immigration Goals
We can’t “Make America Great Again” by going back in time. The world may seem topsy-turvy, but it’s important to remember that you also have power: by voting in local elections and the 2020 presidential election, you can remove political opportunists from office and promote new leaders who look to the future and are immersed in their respective, multicultural communities.
However, if you’re attempting to legally immigrate into the country, are seeking asylum, or have questions about your immigration status, contact the immigration attorneys at Guerra Sáenz, PL today.
Call Guerra Sáenz, PL today at (888) 936-3228 schedule a confidential consultation.