Tag: anchor babies

Wishing and Waiting

I’ve edited over 100 books, from thriller novels to dense histories to self-help diatribes. Only a few of those books have lodged in my memory.

Among them was a manual written by a prepper. If you don’t know this term, it refers to someone who makes active plans to survive a catastrophic disaster, typically by stockpiling food, ammunition, and other supplies, and/or by creating some kind of well-protected shelter.

Preppers anticipate calamities ranging from a worldwide economic collapse to a military coup d’état to a Katrina-style cataclysm to, well, just about anything big and scary.

The book was well-written, and the author was intelligent and polite. And even if I found his worldview to be a bit, shall we say, paranoid, it would be incorrect to write him and his peers off as lunatics.

After all, if there’s ever an extinction-level asteroid impact or a zombie attack, then preppers will have the last laugh.

 

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But what struck me about the author’s mindset wasn’t his fear-based attention to detail and insistence that sooner or later, all the shit will hit all the fans.

No, it was my realization that at a certain point, he was no longer preparing for a worst-case disaster. He was actively hoping for it.

You see, if his doomsday predictions never materialize, he has wasted a great deal of time, money, and effort for absolutely nothing. Indeed, he will have squandered a solid chunk of his life, while pinning his very self-identity on nonsense.

So a lot of preppers aren’t just waiting for end times. They are counting on catastrophe to justify their life’s work, even if this wish is subconscious.

How does this relate to the current political climate?

Well, look no further than the renewed demonization of immigrants and, by extension, all Latinos.

We have major political candidates (who shall not be named) who imply hordes of Hispanics are swarming into this country for the express purpose of raping and murdering Americans — that is, when they’re not pumping out “anchor babies” and stealing jobs.

Of course, fear-based campaigning — especially among conservatives — has a long and effective history.

 

And it’s tempting to dismiss GOP shrieking as a side effect of the party’s reliance on religious fervor and apocalyptic thinking. Keep in mind that about 20 percent of Republicans honestly believe that Obama is the antichrist.

But while building upon those ignoble foundations, this new conservative mindset amounts to something else.

You see, those on the right wing who despise Latinos (and there are many) aren’t just motivated by personal gain. They are true believers, who sincerely think America is doomed if Hispanics continue to increase their political, cultural, and demographic influence. To this contingent, the “browning” of America is the beginning of its end.

 

But what if this never happens? What if recent Latino immigrants become an integral and beneficial part of American society, just as so many other immigrant classes have?

 

In that case, a lot of conservative leaders have wasted a great deal of energy on nothing. Their predictions have failed to come true. And all that screaming and ranting and raving added up to nada.

Nobody wants to see his or her life’s work rendered irrelevant, or worse, dismissed as histrionic, wrong-headed idiocy.

To prevent that, many conservatives have morphed into extreme preppers, warning everyone of the coming Armageddon, while secretly hoping that it will arrive right on time to prove them correct.

The good news for right-wing preppers is that they have an inexplicable degree of influence in this country. So instead of working to prevent the coming apocalypse, they can help to usher it in, via self-fulfilling prophecies and overt policy decisions.

For example, Latinos have lower graduation rates than other ethnicities, so rather than improve public education, right-wing preppers try to gut it.

 

Hispanics have higher rates of poverty, so rather than balance the playing field, right-wing preppers reinforce an economic system that is rigged for the upper classes.

 

Latinos have limited socioeconomic power, so rather then look at institutional barriers, right-wing preppers deny that racism even exists.

Yes, there’s lots of ways to ensure that we get the America that some conservatives envision — the future that they supposedly fear but are weirdly attracted to at the same time.

Fortunately for me, I’ve made back-up plans. You see, I’ve recently built this secret bunker stocked with guns and water, and when the time comes…

Never mind, I’ve said too much.


Big Talk

When I was a kid, my mom volunteered to get the ERA passed. She was disappointed (actually, quite pissed) when the Equal Rights Amendment ran out of gas near the finish line.

The ERA was fairly popular, but it couldn’t get past the high hurdle that proposed Constitutional amendments face: Two-thirds of both chambers of Congress must pass it, and then three-fourths of the states have to approve it. There’s an alternative method of approving amendments that involves a Constitutional convention, but that route is less common.

In recent months, we’ve heard that another change to the Constitution is imminent. Yes, conservatives have their hearts set on revoking Amendment 14. This pesky amendment, among other things, establishes that people born in the United States are full citizens.

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Anchors Aweigh!

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The Fourteenth Amendment

U.S. Constitution

It’s probably not a shocker that I’m a liberal person. Still, I always had a healthy respect for the libertarian viewpoint. I thought it was based on principles (e.g., less government, fewer regulations, control of one’s reproductive choices, etc) rather than the virulent fear and hatred that fuels so much of the modern Republican Party.

I even tried to give Senate candidate Rand Paul the benefit of the doubt for his truly idiotic and potentially dangerous statement that private businesses can discriminate based on race.

“He’s just being a hardcore libertarian,” I thought. “He can’t be that racist.”

Then Paul let loose with his latest conservative broadside. He said that the children of illegal immigrants who are born in the United States should not be granted citizenship.

With that comment, it’s difficult to ignore Paul’s implication that, in his opinion, the United States has way too many Latinos. There is no principle here.

Paul, and anyone who agrees with him, has to be willing to ignore the Constitution’s unambiguous statement that everyone born here is a citizen. They also have to be eager to overturn decades of court precedents, an action that would require a decision from a monumentally activist judge (one of those guys I thought conservatives hated).

Still, plenty of conservatives have championed the anti-birthright position in recent years, despite the right wing’s oft-stated love of the U.S. Constitution.

By the way, here’s a study question for all social conservatives: If forced to chose, do you revere the words of the Constitution or the Bible more? As a follow-up, have you read either one?

But back to the topic at hand, which is anchor babies.

Randy Terrill, a Republican state representative in Oklahoma who is trying to get an anti-birthright bill passed, says that in a worst-case scenario, “Children of invading armies would be considered citizens of the U.S.”

I must admit that I had never thought of this. In Terrill’s grim assessment of our future, invading armies (from some unknown or unnamed country) send brigade after brigade of pregnant soldiers to charge our front lines. Hesitant to fire upon the rampaging moms-to-be, our soldiers let them overrun the nation. Support troops, perhaps infantrywomen in their second trimester, manage to crawl under the barb wire or hop the fence without putting pressure on their swollen bellies.

Mere months later, the soldiers start giving birth. These pseudo-citizens are then granted citizenship, and the United States falls to the invading hordes. It’s truly evil genius.

Now, I’ve written before about the concept of revoking citizenship upon birth, and I expressed my support for amending the Constitution … as long as we really go for it. That is, let’s reject citizenship for everyone born here, whether the parent is an undocumented worker or a ninth-generation American. Every child is a legal resident, but can’t become a citizen until he or she passes a basic test – the way naturalized citizens do.

For some reason, this idea has never caught on.

The truth is that we just don’t want Maria from Mexico to give birth to a kid inside the California border, then have to call the offspring a citizen. So by all means, let’s ignore those sections of the Constitution that we don’t like.

But could we try not to pretend that there’s anything like principles or consistency on display? They are simply not present in this debate.


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