I have just turned off the second segment of Ken Burns’ documentary on America and the Holocaust because it was too depressing to see newsreels of public meetings in America during the 1930’s where speaker after speaker got up and exhorted the audience to fight against letting Jews from Germany emigrate to the United States after Kristallnacht.
My mother and her parents, my grandparents, came to the United States from Eastern Europe in 1923 – their boat docked at a pier in Brooklyn just two months before the law went into effect that would have kept them from getting off that boat. Had their ship arrived in New York harbor 58 days later than it did, they would have had the choice of either floating around the world hoping to find some other country to take them in, or they could have gone back to their shtetl outside of Kiev which had been destroyed by a pogrom in 1921.
The immigration restrictions that Trump and his shithead, self-hating Jewish acolyte Stephen Miller tried to enact in 2017 was effectively a legislative return to the 1923 legislative regime except it was aimed primarily at Muslims, not at Jews. It was also aimed at Christians if they were Christians trying to get into the United States over the border from the South.
I notice, by the way, that the alleged new GOP electoral strategy Commitment to America, which went up and then went back down on Friday, mentions something about making the country ‘safe’ by funding technologies that will prevent ‘illegal’ border crossings, but Trump’s beloved Mexican wall has disappeared.
For that matter, the whole immigration issue is still floating thanks to the bizarrely stupid and flagrantly political stunt pulled by Ron DeSantis who shipped some immigrants up to Martha’s Vineyard and then tried to fly a planeload of poor unfortunates to Delaware except the plane never took off.
And this schmuck wants to be President? Well, after Trump, why not?
Anyway, going back to the Ken Burns documentary and how America responded or didn’t respond to the Holocaust, for all the talk about sending us ‘your tired and your poor,’ for all the wonderful views of the Statue of Liberty at the beginning of Godfather II, for all the talk about how immigrants have made the United States so great, the truth is there are a lot of Americans who don’t like the idea that every time they walk into a convenience store to buy coffee, a lottery ticket and a ten-dollar pack of cigarettes, the guy behind the cash register has a brown face.
On the other hand, let’s not overdue all this so-called antipathy towards those ‘hordes’ trying to sneak into our country who don’t have a job or a place to live. When I drove across North Dakota in 2005, I noticed that in just about every, crummy little farm town the ubiquitous Chinese take-out had been replaced by a store whose menu was now a combination of Chinese and Thai. And this was in North Dakota, not Brooklyn or Queens, New York.
There are always going to be shitheads who think that White equals right and everyone else can stick it you know where. But what I think we need to do is get all the groups together who believe in transgender sex, or a women’s right to choose, or the freedom to take a piss in whichever toilet has a shorter line and let’s spend a couple of years promoting the idea that anyone can come to America whenever and for whatever reason they damn well please.
What equality means to me is that we are not only all equal, but nobody is better than anyone else and the only thing that matters in terms of who lives where is how people behave. And if you behave in a normal kind of way, even if you occasionally say a curse word to yourself or give someone the finger as you drive by or even lay a little fart in a crowd, the world isn’t going to come to an end, and we’ll all get along with each other whether we should get along or not.
All I know is that my mother and my grandparents came to this country and had a good life. Why should that opportunity be denied to anyone at all?
As I said above, we’re all human beings which means we are basically all the same.