muslims praying The new menace.

Rhetoric has changed; menace now Muslims

Great unwashed Mexican migrants are off the hook — for now

I’m always the first to admit when I’m wrong. Well, perhaps the second. Or third. Whatever. In my November 24 op-ed for Mexico News Daily, entitled “Pew bombshell won’t change the rhetoric,” I botched it big-time.

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In that piece I described how the Right’s – and in particular Donald Trump’s – bigoted rhetoric against Mexican immigrants would not change despite the latest Pew research indicating the U.S. is experiencing a net loss of Mexican immigrants.

My reasons were essentially twofold, and based both on the hard and social sciences. First, through the process of evolution by natural selection, we have been hard-wired to exhibit xenophobia and tribalism, to be naturally suspicious of groups different from us (such as Mexicans), and to blame others for our self-made problems.

Second, fear sells. As I’ve said before, you can’t keep it on the shelves. In this case, the fear of the brown-skinned “others” who may be taking our jobs, raping our women and introducing our children to drugs. You know – the Ann Coulter-type racist polemic.

Well, when I said the rhetoric wouldn’t change, I was wrong. It has more than changed, it has completely disappeared.

After the Islamist Paris and San Bernardino attacks, the GOP found another, even more threatening menace to the Norman Rockwell American way of life: Muslims! It seems that Mexicans are off the hook (for now). Instead of selling the fears of job losses and social degradations at the hands of America’s great unwashed Mexican migrants, we’ve stumbled upon a new fall guy to distract our attention from our self-caused endemic problems.

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Namely, Muslims who want to impose sharia law, whose goal is to create a new caliphate in Middle America, who are striving to instill terror on us infidels to the point of forcing our women to wear bags, our men to grow beards and profess allegiance to Allah and his prophet Mohamed.

Gone is the Orwellian Trump-speak of building “big beautiful walls” or deporting 11 million undocumented workers along with their American citizen children. No, sir. There’s a much more succulent scapegoat to roast over the spit of ignorance. Now it’s about banning all Muslim entries into the U.S., requiring Muslims to register with government authorities, and turning back all would-be Syrian refugees.

But to give credit where credit is due, Trump and his acolytes aren’t just shooting from the hip: within the vade-mecum of the GOP there’s plenty of historic precedent for these policies. For example there’s the return of a thousand asylum-seeking Jews aboard the MS St. Luis in 1939, where a quarter later died in death camps. Or the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War and the confiscation of their property. The Donald has done his homework!

Now, I’ll be first to admit that Islam has a problem. Unlike some of my fellow secular humanists (with whom I’m engaged in perpetual debate over this issue), I’m no fan of the tenets of Islam. It’s a backwards, repressive, too-often violent, Bronze-Age mythology that should be relegated to our prehistory.

Luckily, most American Muslims are nominal believers, not unlike Mexican Catholics. It’s more about cultural comfort than the literal belief that the Prophet flew to the heavens on a winged horse or that a cracker literally turns into the body of Christ.

So I won’t go out on a limb again by predicting that the hyper-partisan rhetoric against American Muslims or Syrian asylum seekers is here to stay. Indeed, if the aphorism that history repeats itself holds any truth, then we might expect those dirty Italians or drunken Irish to take their turns on the block of flapdoodle and pestilential public policy ideas once more.

Among Trump’s semi-literate hillbilly base, an enemy will always be needed: trying to sell the nuanced discussion of facts to people with only a dozen working synapses is tantamount to trying to sell a sensible Volvo to someone only in the market for a sexy, hopped-up Camaro.

If there is a more accurate condemnation of the once drolly and now hectoring preachments of a politically cynical and capricious GOP, I am at a loss to explain what it might be.

Until next year, wishing everyone a happy holiday season.

Glen Olives Thompson is a professor of North American Law at La Salle University in Chihuahua, a specialist in law and public policy and a regular contributor to Mexico News Daily.

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  • Meximom

    Why would anybody care what YOU think about Donald Trump or anything else for that matter? I really wish publications with the word NEWS in the masthead would stick to NEWS.

    • PintorEnMexico

      Like Fox NEWS, Mexico News Daily has an “OPINION” tab in its masthead. If you mouse-over that tab Mr. Thompson’s name appears. It’s really not that hard to understand.

    • cruz_ctrl

      if YOU don’t care then why do you read it and take the time to comment how YOU don’t care? most “publications with the word NEWS in the masthead” run op-eds…

  • Brasscheck TV

    Brilliant analysis of Señor Boca Grande. If he could make a buck maligning UFOs, he’d be on that too.

  • TioDon

    “…semi literate hillbilly base”??? Really? I don’t want to hear you complaining when someone uses the term “lazy Mexican”. See how that works?

    • cruz_ctrl

      “”…semi literate hillbilly base”

      i think that’s an overstatement.

      • PintorEnMexico

        I would agree with you in that the pejorative is too strong. However, older whites with incomes under $50,000, and with a high school education or less are overly represented in Trumps following. Not all them, but a lot.

  • Voice Of Reason

    When did MSNBC buy Mexico News Daily? So much for unbiased reporting. Mr Thompson, you are as bigoted and uninformed as your subject matter.

    • PintorEnMexico

      It’s OPINION, not reporting.

  • Güerito

    “Trump’s semi-literate hillbilly base” ??

    “Voters Like Trump’s Proposed Muslim Ban”:

    Among all voters, 46% favor a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, while 40% are opposed.

    Fifty-nine percent (59%) of voters believe it is too easy for foreigners to legally enter the Untied States. Only 10% believe it is too hard, while 23% say the level of difficulty is about right.

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/immigration/december_2015/voters_like_trump_s_proposed_muslim_ban

  • Smartalex

    I greatly appreciated your well-written and amusing article, which I understood to be an “opinion” piece in the first place.

  • Patrick Johnston

    It is nice to read such a well thought out and well written article. The only thing is you are “preaching to the converted.” There are few Americans that can read at that level, let alone understand what you are saying. But thanks for trying.

  • PintorEnMexico

    god’s record is pretty crappy as well.

  • Blanca Julia Garza Araujo

    The article is great! I loved it! But, really, the comments always surpass the articles. It is unbelievable how people can be so … ignorant… Arguments always ensue and the majority of times they are really dumb and stupid. 🙁

  • cruz_ctrl

    “the only one who will be able to solve the world’s problems is God”

    hoo-by, god help us if that’s the case…

  • Hailey Mannering

    Perhaps the US people living in Mexico are the cream of the crop, as many certainly contribute much to their Mexican communities. I bear in mind President Eisenhower´s warning to beware of the military industrial complex. Since his time the US has been made afraid of Communist spys, the USSR, China, Cuba, blacks, Arabs, marijuana, gays, Mexicans, Central Americans, Muslims and on and on. In most cases, I suspect the fear is generated by someon with a political or financial agenda. Watch Canada in the next fours years. See how they do when sell marijuana as they do alcohol and when the Muslim population reaches 10%.

  • Gring Go

    What if millions of illegal immigrants streamed across the southern border of Mexico, took up residence, took jobs from Mexicans, used free public services like healthcare and others, and the numbers continued to grow year after year?
    Would Mexican citizens think this was just fine?

    Why does Mexico have troops patrolling its southern border?
    The hypocrisy of Mexican politicians is shameful. Mexico uses troops to patrol its southern border, and has very strict laws against illegal immigration – including prison. Why can´t the Americans do the same? Why the double standard?
    What if there was a 50-foot wall on the US-Mexico border, US troops patrolling the border, and strict enforcement of the laws, not allowing anyone to cross illegally, prison if you were caught? What if the US “opportunity” option of illegally crossing the border suddenly ceased to exist for Mexicans?

    Mexico is a country rich with resources, wonderful, resourceful people, and everything it needs to prosper without US assistance. Why can´t Mexican politicians deliver prosperity to their citizens? It´s no surprise that Mexican Presidents past and present scream about “THE WALL”. If the wall is built and the border is closed, Mexican politicans will finally be held responsible for their failure to deliver jobs, security, and prosperity to their own voters and their country.

    Isn´t it time for Mexicans to wake up, forget about going north illegally to find “opportunity”, and demand opportunity in their own towns, states, and country?

    And stop with the double standard – illegal immigration north is just fine, but we don´t allow it in Mexico.
    How about the same standard for both countries – who can argue against that?

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