Purveyors of Cruelty

It’s very easy to be cruel. All you have to do is pretend that persons not like you are lesser beings for whom you have no responsibility or duty. You are not your brother’s keeper, after all.

There is a large subset of Republican conservatives who behave in exactly this fashion. They are blatant racists, who denounce whole categories of fellow human beings as lesser persons, criminals, lazy, worthy of great scorn. They look for someone to blame for their own problems, and find people they have never met to fill the role. This is called scapegoating. Hitler was a master at it.

A subset of Republicans are blatant racists,
who blame others for their own problems.
Hitler was a master at such scapegoating.

The politicians among them proclaim their devotion to justice and equality for all, but their every action moves us in the opposite direction. Their political achievements worsen inequality, and result in the erosion of income and wellbeing for the people they claim to be defending. The NC legislature has been the champions of late, with a string of absurd and cruel laws designed specifically to punish. The latest is unemployment benefits, which are now the shortest and lowest in the country, and will cause the state to lose millions in federal assistance. And why? Because all those people whose skin is darker than ours want nothing more than to spend their lives in lazy luxury on the $300 a week that unemployment provides for a family. Sure.

A long string of voting laws have been proposed or enacted in Republican-controlled states, whose entire purpose is to prevent “undesirable” (i.e., non-white) people from voting. It’s the New Jim Crow. These laws are all promoted to prevent “voter fraud”, which simply does not exist except in Republican fantasy, and probably in shady Republican manipulation of certain critical elections.

It doesn’t seem to matter how many times these Republicans are proven wrong by the facts. They live in a fantasy world based on items of faith that no amount of evidence can shake, because they never look outside their own creed. That creed is the absolute antithesis of the Christian faith they all claim, and excuses any cruelty toward “those people”, meaning anyone whose skin is not as pale as theirs. Ironic that Jesus had skin color pretty close to “those people”, isn’t it?

States with Republican governors
and legislatures have passed many laws
whose sole purpose is cruelty.

Southern states have an especially good record of cruelty in recent years. Radical and punitive laws on immigration and border “protection” have been passed, a number of them clearly unconstitutional, all of them to punish non-pale persons for problems that either do not exist or they did not cause. Under Obama, ICE, the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, has been particularly evil. Last year, 400,000 such persons were rounded up by ICE agents, others by such monsters as the much-admired Sheriff Arpaio in Arizona, who believes that all such persons he captures are evil criminals, whether or not they are undocumented. So he mounts midnight raids that round up middle-aged house cleaners and a few crop workers, and subjects them to degrading and cruel imprisonment in the heat of the desert next to a sewage treatment plant.

ICE makes constant raids on workplaces where some of these undocumented people eke out a living of sorts. They are then separated from their families and whisked away, to be hidden for months at a time. Their fingerprints are submitted to the FBI. If there is a match for any reason they are treated as guilty. Eventually they are dropped of in some country to the south with a few dollars in their pocket. Their families often have no idea where they are.

And why are there so many undocumented immigrant workers (although their numbers have fallen in recent years)? Because the US makes it all but impossible to get documents.

Now conservatives want an Iron Curtain on our southern border for “security”. It doesn’t matter that national security has never been affected by activity at the southern border. They hold immigration reform hostage, demanding that many billions of tax dollars be used to “seal” the border so we can be “protected”. In reality, all this iron border construction is just a goody bag for contractors, who salivate over the idea of constructing hundreds of miles of expensive wall, and supplying things like drone aircraft, military vehicles, and lethal weaponry.

There is no voter fraud, and there is no need for more border protection. Nor do the perpetrators of injustice want to help bring a better economy to peoples to the south of us, which would keep all these nasty brown people at home. Instead, we continue all the practices that caused the problems in the first place—which is the subject of other articles.

No matter how many times
they are proven wrong,
they never give up their cruelty,
which is the antithesis of the
Christian faith they claim.

If a brown American citizen is picked up in any of these states, and is unable to immediately provide a passport or birth certificate, he or she may be incarcerated in secrecy for months at a time, after which he or she may be deported. Call it the crime of being Norteño while brown. In Arizona alone last year, 82 American citizens were held incognito without bail until judges determined that they were legal citizens. One study found that nationally in 2012, 834 U.S. citizens and 28,489 legal permanent residents were detained and flagged by ICE for deportation after their fingerprints showed up on an FBI data base that is never up to date and often inaccurate. Several of these were deported to places they had never been and did not speak the language. Some, after being rescued by the US embassy services, have returned home only to be deported, again, sometimes multiple times.

This is not a productive program. First, documented or not, immigrants are financially beneficial to the country in several ways, and ICE and the over-financed and dangerous border vigilante groups are money wasters who have themselves caused deaths of a number of unarmed people. Among their cruelties is destroying water caches that humanistic groups place, hoping to prevent some of the many desert deaths. Second, very few deportees are criminals, and among those who are, their crimes are usually minor. Third, deportation of these people has nothing to do with national security. No terrorist has ever been found trying to cross the southern border. These practices are simply cruel, counterproductive, and anti-democratic.

Treatment of immigrants is simply cruel.
Call it the crime of being Norteño while brown.

Immigrants without proper papers are not a drain on our society. They in fact make significant contributions to tax revenue, Social Security, and Medicare, and many of the things we buy are more affordable because of them. Immigrants are much more entrepreneurial than native-born citizens, and help the national economy far more than the rest of us do. The main reason some immigrants do not have papers to begin with is that papers are not available. And if House Republicans have their way, they will not become available because they will do their best to defeat the desperately needed immigration reform bill now before them. If they do, it will prolong the disaster for years.

States with Republican governors and legislators have been very busy passing cruel laws that violate the very Christian tenets they profess. They seek to deny food to poor children, medical care to all poor people, and seek to punish all non-whites. They pass “right to work” laws, whose sole purpose is to deny working people the right to bargain for their own financial wellbeing, and laws designed to prevent “those people” from voting. There is no way to describe it other than cruelty.

 

[PS: House Republicans have broken new ground in the annals of political cruelty. By removing nutritional assistance (Food Stamps) from the agriculture appropriations bill, they have at a single stroke assured that many thousands of poor children will go hungry, thereby compromising their ability to learn in school, making them less likely to succeed in life. Good job, guys! Fortunately, none of the millionaire corporate agriculture interests were harmed. As Gail Collins noted, one Rep. Fincher got really upset about those children who expect food but won’t work for it. That apparently doesn’t apply to Fincher himself, who has received $3.8-million in pointless cotton crop subsidies. Hypocrisy thick enough to plow with your quarter-million-dollar John Deere.]

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