Tuesday, February 21, 2017

¡Fuera de acá!

I hate to even admit this.


I'm not TOTALLY hating on the totally-expected roundup-the-wetbacks directive from the new Administration.

Yeah, yeah, I'm a Trumpkin. I want to Make America Great Again. Ugh. I know.

Bear with me for a moment, though.

Now. Don't get me wrong. This thing will suck for millions of people whose crime is trying to get a piece of the American Dream for themselves and their families. I hate that on a purely personal, I-don't-like-to-make-things-suck-for-innocent-people level. As a person, I hate it.

As a citizen, as someone who thinks about politics and governing...well, let's start with this; to be a stateless person, a non-citizen, in a foreign nation is not a good thing.

It's not good for the person, who has no civil rights, who is outside the protection of the civil law, and who is, therefore, hideously vulnerable to all sorts of malefactors.

And it's not good for the nation, that has this indigestible mass of non-citizens within it prey to crime and violence, exploited by employers and living in fear of taking part in the civil life of the community.

So. The bottom line really is; if you are a citizen of Mexico, or Ireland, or Bali...you belong in Mexico, Ireland, or Bali unless you are a legal resident or visitor of where-ever-it-is-you-are; in this case, the United States.

In case you're interested, I wrote a loooooong post at this joint three years ago where I discussed what I see as the vast, almost insoluble complexity of this problem, which concluded with the following:
"The real issue - the one Which Dare Not Speak Its Name - is that the institutional poverty, misgovernance, and social maladjustment of most Latin American countries is so profound and so destructive that to address it would take every penny that the U.S. has spent on poorly planned foreign adventures and more. Much more.

So instead we get this idiotic argument that all we need to do is fence these little heatherns out and everything will be Good. God will once again be White and in His Heaven, the food will magically get harvested, processed, cooked and served by "Real Amurikans" (that is, legal citizens) who will suddenly, magically, want to work for the pittance we want to pay for these jobs to prevent our food, clothing and service costs from reflecting what it would cost to pay humans actually living wages to do these things."
But this post isn't about those things; it's about the Trump-promising-to-deport-the-beaners-and-going-ahead-and-doing-it.

As opposed to the ban-the-raghead rule, which really was poorly thought out and complete geopolitical foolery, the idea that the United States should police its borders and return those who have entered the country illegally to their homelands is not, on its face, as freakishly boneheaded as most Trump stuff.


(...and you KNEW there'd be a but, here, right, because, well...Trump.)

Here's the problems I DO have with this.

First, I can see a gajillion ways that this is going to be a fucking total shitshow. American citizens will be grabbed up and deported by mistake. Sweeps will result in a seething mob of people shoved into FEMA trailers without any sort of organization or preparation. Screening will be a disaster. The optics - "jackbooted ICE agents handcuff adorable tiny Latino kiddies" - will make the Land of the Free look like the Land of the Assholes. People will get stranded in Mexico City airport with nowhere to go and no hope of relief.

I can see about a dozen ways this will be a smoking crater - it's Trump, for one thing, who seems to have a gift for employing people who couldn't run a child's birthday party - that will make the Iraq War look like VE Day.

Second, I can also see how this could turn into something far nastier and far worse, along the lines of the Japanese internment of 1942. There's always been a hell of a strong strain of race hate and xenophobia in America (as there is in about...well, pretty much everywhere humans live...) that could take this from a calmly conducted law enforcement process into a screaming ratissage against every person or group of people that every whacko wingnut hates and freaks out over (Hello? Alex Jones? Hello?).

And, finally, I think that, even if this isn't a dumpster fire, that the results will be at best underwhelming. The promised Day of Alien-Free Jubilee will turn out to be a quiet monotone of unpicked crops, uncleaned hotel rooms, unwiped asses, and uncooked meals.

The result of all this huge slug of spending - surely paid for by a tax hike, right? - will be, outside of personal hardship for those involved, a vast expanse of...very little.

What do you think?


Syrbal Moore said...

I think large portions of the economy runs on undocumented labor. Until this is honestly acknowledged and addressed from the employer side? No ban of necessary labor, much of it that Americans quite frankly won't do for wages offered, is going to solve the problem.

FDChief said...

My guess is that this will quietly peter out when Big Ag starts silently screaming in the Trumpkins' ears. Until then it will cause a great deal of misery, though.

I should add that another reason I hate this personally is that it's not really being done for the reasons I listed as "good reasons not to have a significant number of non-citizens semipermanently residing in your country" but for stupid, mean, racist "I HAAAAAATE having to press one for English!!!!" reasons.

It's one thing to do an assholish thing for good reasons. To do it just to be an asshole? That's...well, being an asshole.

Podunk Paul said...

Please allow me to disagree with your analysis. There is no historical precedent that gives those who occupy a certain territory eternal swatting rights. We took and others took before us. Thanks to the generosity of my daughter, I currently live in a world of McMansions and Porches. But those accoutrements count for little against the needs of men and woman have to feed their families, to educate their children and for a chance at the life they see on tv. What drives history is not about retention of a certain language or holding on to possessions. Those who suffer the most will, over the long run, have their way.

FDChief said...

Hmm. This is an interesting comment because there's so much to unpack inside it. Let me give it a shot, tho, and see where we end up. OK, first:

"There is no historical precedent that gives those who occupy a certain territory eternal swatting rights. We took and others took before us."

I'm not sure where the appeal to Clio, Muse of History, comes from. I'm not trying to assert some sort of grand "land of our Fathers" argument here. Westphalian nation-states are based around borders, and control of those borders. The persons, or groups, that control the state control those borders and those who (or that which) cross in and out of them. That really has nothing to do with "rights" or "who took what". It's the simple fact of possessing temporal power. If you want to get poetic you can refer to Thuycidides' comment about the strong and the weak. That's pretty much what's going on here; the non-citizens have no power. The citizens - and , in this case, a group of quite xenophobic, racist, asshole-citizens, do, and are currently "swatting". If the power parameter changes, they may well get "swatted" in turn; that's the nature of power and politics.

"Thanks to the generosity of my daughter, I currently live in a world of McMansions and Porches. But those accoutrements count for little against the needs of men and woman have to feed their families, to educate their children and for a chance at the life they see on tv."

Again...let's remember that whole "the weak suffer what they must". Is ir "right" that these people who, as I said, are only trying to work for better lives for themselves and their families, are going to be made more miserable? Of course not. But, as noted, the current situation - a minority of people within our nation without civil rights or a way to enter into the civil life of the nation - is not good, either. I'm not saying I agree with what the Trumpkins are "doing about that"; my "plan", were this mine TO plan, would be to find some way of figuring out a path to citizenship for the long-term immigrants who have played by the rules.

But what I AM saying is that the status quo is not sustainable over the long term. So I'm not furious that the Trumpkins want to do something about that. I'm furious at the WAY they want to do something about it.

"What drives history is not about retention of a certain language or holding on to possessions."

What drives history is those who write it and, as we know, the victors write the history. There is absolutely no proof that the "arc of history" must bend towards justice or anywhere else, for that matter.

Language or possessions or, indeed, history have nothing at all to do with anything we're discussing. Castro famously said "history will forgive me" but, in fact, history did little to condemn or absolve El Maximo Lider. That remains to everyone whose lives were affected by him and his actions, for better or worse. The same will, eventually, be said about this. As I wrote above, I think that for all the human misery this will entail that the actual social and political result will be a great deal of nothing. The biggest driving force behind this is the Trumpkins' conviction that eeeeevil rapist Messkins are the cause of all our social ills. That's ridiculously untrue, and after they succeed - IF they succeed - in deporting a shit-ton of illegal immigrants they are likely to find that very little has changed except the price of Willamette Valley produce.

"Those who suffer the most will, over the long run, have their way."

I'll bet that the bone ashes of Treblinka, the tens of thousands lost in the mfecane, the butchered of the Mongol invasions of Europe, or in Timur's sack of Baghdad, or the smallpox-dead of the Northern Paiute would be genuinely surprised to hear that.

Podunk Paul said...

I’ve been thinking of how to respond to your rebuttal, but have failed. We come from different places, you and I. You appeal to Thucydides (“The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must”) and my experience has been otherwise. A Tunisian fruit vendor initiates a revolution, a Baptist minister challenges centuries of white dominance, a crucified Roman prisoner becomes a god, those intrusions in the zero-sum calculations of who has the most divisions speak loudly. This is because the real struggle, the struggle than takes precedence against more immediate struggles, is the fight to overcome pain. Pain that Schweitzer called Lord Pain, is our most ancient enemy. In defense we have built hospitals, animal shelters, and embarked upon other less effective projects, such as consumerism.
As part of that struggle we give preference to victims – transgendered persons, those of color and, for the present discussion, people who are called “illegal.” How can a mother’s child, new to the world, be illegal? Will that destroy your zero-sum power matrix? Probably it will.
Let me add that in warfare, which is the expression of the most unbridled hostility, concern for victims remains in play. As Martin Van Creveld wrote in 2004 in reference to the war in Iraq:
“In private life, an adult who keeps beating down on a five year old…will be perceived as committing a crime…In international life, an armed force that keep beating down on a weaker opponent will… end by losing the support of its allies, its own people, and its own troops. … In other words, he who fights against the weak – and the rag-tag Iraqi militias are very weak indeed – and loses, loses. He who fights against the weak and wins also loses. To kill an opponent who is much weaker than yourself is unnecessary and therefore cruel; to let that opponent kill you is unnecessary and therefore foolish. As Vietnam and countless other cases prove, no armed force however rich, however powerful, however, advanced, and however well motivated is immune to this dilemma. The end result is always disintegration and defeat; The end result is always disintegration and defeat.”
ICE agents who hand-cuff terminal hospital patents for deportation might have second thoughts.

FDChief said...

Just to start off (re: the Creveld quote) I see your Iraqis and raise a Tamil Tiger. Creveld's dictum holds true for a very specific time and set of circumstances; a Western polity fighting imperial cabinet war.

Did all this sympathy for the beaten child help the Chechens? The Tamil? Did it halt the Armenian genocide, or the Rwandan?

So...no. Weakness is just that. Weakness. The actual weak force in Iraq was the American. Weak in knowledge and understanding of the battlefield and the objective. Weak in casualty-averse. Weak in trying to fight an imperial war without an imperial populace. To use your terms; the Iraqis were willing and able to accept far more pain in defending what they saw as theirs than we Americans were willing to suffer to take it.

You'll note also - as I've said here before - that the crucified prisoner becomes a God...and within ten generations His worshipers are imprisoning and murdering in his name.

Human history is as full of shameful massacres of innocents as heroic resistance to injustice. I would caution against being confident of winning the War of the Flea lest you find your oppressor is happy to make a wasteland and call it peace.

FDChief said...

And it's worth noting that the critically ill person? Is still in the lockup, not the hospital.

I'm not arguing that We the People SHOULD be indifferent to suffering. I'm saying that many people ARE, and some even revel in it...provided its "those people" who suffer. If we start from the position the the meek will inherit and the the arc of history bends towards justice it's entirely too easy to accept this assuming that the Good People of the U.S. will spontaneously rise against it.

They won't. It's up to us, those of us who hate this for the low hatred of its inception and the vile stupidity of its execution to fight and force our fellow citizens to lend their strength to the fight against this, as they did to the fight for civil rights...

Podunk Paul said...

I should have been more circumspect in asserting that the humanity of the opponent stays the hand of the executioner. The criminal justice system and my own personal experience in the military show how easily individuals can be snuffed out. And those who do the snuffing do so with gusto. Massive extinctions are more difficult to mobilize. But we can see hints in the treatment of immigrants and Muslims of that what might come.

You attribute the defeat in Iraq to lack of intelligence and avoidance of causalities. But that does not explain why so many veterans of that conflict killed themselves. Young men were exposed to something that made living impossible. Is Creveld correct in supposing that those suicides were motivated by guilt?

FDChief said...

No. He's wrong. The pain of war stops hurting - if it ever does - long after the war itself for some. And, for some, that pain is simply too great to bear. That's been true since Cain ambushed Abel. Postwar suicide was a feature for U.S. troops after WW1 and WW2, Korea, and Vietnam. No special guilt involved across those wars, just that for some "only the dead have seen an end to war..."

I note in passing that the ICE and Border Patrol appear to be jumping in enthusiasticly. A Chicago man was held three days despite presenting valid citizenship documents, and passengers on a domestic flight were met by BP officers who demanded Papieren bitte!> before deplaneing.

If there is a massive groundswell of resistance to this bullying I do not see it.