'Murica and Murrietta: Xenophobia and Racism in 21st Century America


Ask a Republican about the good old days.   

No really, do it.  There's nothing more enlightening for a progressive than to hear about what life was like back in the day.  Odds are the narrative you hear will go something like this:  First and foremost, there was a trusted man in the White House, usually with the first name Ronald and the last name Reagan.  There was a harmonious family life, where the husband made a decent wage and the mother stayed home and raised he kids.  The neighborhoods were free of gangs, the schools were all good, and everybody went to church on Sundays.  The local communities were full of mom and pop stores and you grew up the same town where you would eventually raise your own family.  As long as you worked hard, you would be able to go to college, get a good job, find a spouse, and start a family of your own.  You'd buy a nice home with a decent patch of land where you raise your kids and babysit your grand kids.  This was the America that Republicans all knew and loved.  

And it was an America that never existed.

Yet for millions of Conservatives, this phantom utopia is what drives their worldview to this very day.  It is that sense of false nostalgia that permeates their being and causes them to buy into the hate and paranoia that right wing radio and talk shows provide for them.  It provides them with convenient scapegoats for the ever-changing world that they are living in.  Never mind that society will always change and progress, for Conservatives today that idea of change is scary because it means the unknown.  For the majority of us, change and progress is exciting and vibrant yet for Conservatives the notion of change means that something new will come in and alter and dismantle the status quo.  When that happens, there will be chaos because everything that Conservatives mis-remember about the good old days will change and that change will inevitably lead to a scary and dangerous world.

This is why Republicans are scared of our nation's changing demographics and our changing societal norms.  If a woman decides to join the workforce then who stays home, does the dishes, washes the clothes, and raises the children?  If our schools are integrated, then how do we know children won't join a gang or smoke drugs with the wrong crowd?  If we let two gay people marry, how do we explain that our our children and grandchildren that our neighbors across the street have two moms?  And if we let outsiders into our communities, how can we continue to call ourselves American if there's a different language being spoken on every street corner?

For modern Conservatives a world in which you have to answer all these questions is a very scary world. 

And when people are scared they choose to instill fear in others.  For every Louie Gohmert rant to the actions of mayor Alan Long and the anti-immigration protests in Murrietta, CA, the modern-day Republican Party consistently spits vitriol to appease its very own xenophobic base.  The Conservative base have become to hate-filled and paranoid that even when Glenn Beck's heart miraculously grew three sizes when he recently expressed a willingness to bring supplies to the immigrant children at Mexican border, the very rapid Conservative base that he helped create responded to his actions by sending him death threats.  When Glenn Beck is now too compassionate, Conservative America has officially reached a tipping point.  

And yet, the Republican Party as a whole refuses to show compassion for anyone who doesn't share their modern-day values (read:  skin color).  As immigration reform continues to be held up in the House, Republicans seem to be perfectly content to lose the Latino vote for a generation to come.  This week's latest misadventure:  Claiming that President Obama's $3.7 billion emergency spending request is too costly.  Yet for some odd reason, the House GOP seemed to be perfectly willing to spend $227 billion on a business tax cut measure this past Friday with no mention of paying for or offsetting that amount.  Because well, White millionaires can always use an unpaid tax break but when it's money for child refugees, well that's when we have to be careful about our spending.

Hypocrisy, thy name is GOP. 

So while Republicans stumble around in a dark room, repeatedly tripping over each other but refusing to see the light (literally) on immigration, our country is left spitting in the wind.  Our immigration issues involve more than the 50,000 child refugees we have seen this year alone.  It involves more than the undocumented day laborers who do the jobs that everyday Americans refuse to do.  It involves more than the 11 million undocumented immigrants who live in the shadows, who are either afraid to unable to reach their potential in their homeland.  It involves more than the hundreds of people who have risked their lives only to perish before they even reach the American border.

No, it is because of Republican xenophobia and racism that America in the year 2014 fails to deliver its promises from Holy Scripture to the Statue of Liberty herself.  We as a nation have forgotten to love our neighbor and to openly accept the tired, poor, huddled masses who yearn to be free.  In an effort to maintain an idyllic America that never existed, Conservatives have created an America so hostile that we would openly scream and yell obscenities at child refugees fleeing from drugs and violence from a failed drug war that we created.  Because you see, in Conservative revisionist history, immigrants were never a viable part of American success even though we ourselves are all immigrants in some way, shape, or form.  In their Leave it to Beaver world, to be a "true American" meant that you, your pappy, and your grandpappy were all born here in America and that is what makes you a true 'Murican.  To deviate at all from this narrative, is something Conservatives just aren't willing to do.

Because without the false narrative they themselves have created, Conservatives have to admit that they just plain don't like the brown folks.

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