I'm Undocumented and the Problem Is Much More Than Trump
Just a month into Trump’s presidency and the controversies are beginning to mount. From his unreleased tax returns to allegations of Russian collusion and the resignation of his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, detractors smell blood. But is calling for the end of a Trump presidency the right thing to do?
Well, it’s complicated.
If we could all take the time to close our eyes and imagine what it would feel like to be violently impaled by a large trident, we’d all understand the issue a bit better. I’m sure we’d all agree that it’d be quite uncomfortable as far as maritime experiences are concerned. Taking a painkiller or two seems like a natural course of action to help alleviate the excruciating torment we all might find ourselves in, but that does very little to rectify any of the other complications that might arise from trident impalement.
In this way, the political climate of this country is very much like a day in the life of an Ancient Roman secutor facing a retiarius in a gladiatorial bout or a very unfortunate turn of events during maritime activities.
The truth is that Trump is a symptom of a much deeper problem, and that problem is a symbolic trident driven into our country with little more than some vitamin C and lots of sleep as our only medicine. We in this country have cultivated a political climate where it is acceptable to debate things like basic human rights with people who pursue policies and legislation that seek to harm and sometimes kill people.
People like me.
Long before the Trump administration took the reins of our country it has been our policy to weigh capital and profit over the lives of people. The fight to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline precedes our current administration and the inaction of the Obama administration did not benefit the native populations fighting to protect their water and home; it actively harmed them. Our country has repeatedly chosen to force people to fight for their way of life against multimillion-dollar corporations that seek to profit over the potential suffering of indigenous peoples.
As an undocumented person, I know that even if I had the power to vote it wouldn’t liberate me, and that I still wouldn’t be fully recognized as a person.
That’s why fighting against Trump is not enough.
Do you think that the movement that put Trump in office will just dissipate without him? Those who support Trump have a strong foothold in our political system and the power that they build will continue to exist after Trump is gone. The politics of bigotry, hate and profit over people is part of the way our government works. That’s the way it has been since long before Trump took office. If you are just noticing it now then you have been willfully averting your eyes from the pain of your neighbors.
During his tenure, President Obama deported approximately 2.5 million people. This is more than any other president in U.S. history. People fearful of what Trump may do to immigrant populations need to acknowledge that he will be utilizing the deportation machine that was passed on to him by the previous administration.
As long as we continue to dehumanize and marginalize our most vulnerable populations, we are contributors to their oppression. We need to bring an end to a political climate that finds it acceptable to make compromises when it comes to human rights and the lives of people.
That same disregard for human life extends to our foreign policy, which carries a significant body count. In addition to the seemingly perpetual state of military engagements in the Middle East, we have begun a shift away from ground forces to inhumane, indiscriminate bombings.
This is an attempt to put the strains of warfare away from the U.S. public and their families, but it does very little to help the families losing their lives overseas. Last year alone the Obama administration dropped at the very least 26,171 bombs. That’s an average of 72 bombs every single day. The brunt of these attacks were received by majority Muslim countries Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. With ten times more drone strikes than George Bush, and painting all military age men as ‘combatants,’ Obama’s efforts in the Middle East can be called anything but peaceful.
Some argue that if it is all in the spirit of defeating Islamic terrorism, deaths are unavoidable and necessary, but the U.S.’s stance against Islamic terrorism has been frustrating, confusing and driven by unrelated forces. Take for example our country’s relationship with Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is a close ally of the U.S. but has also been proven to be the #1 source of funding for ISIS, Al-Qaeda and various other terrorists groups. The U.S. has done virtually nothing to address this, despite knowing this for quite some time. In fact, if the U.S. sees an opportunity to profit by destabilizing non-allied governments they will fund some of these very same groups like they have done in Syria.
The fact that the U.S. seeks geopolitical power and access to profitable markets at the expense of foreign and sometimes U.S. lives is sickening beyond comprehension. Their should not be a human life to oil conversion rate but U.S. foreign policy seems to disagree.
Trump’s administration looks to simply continue what has always been the U.S. status quo. The only thing that is new is that his racism and fear mongering are overt instead of neatly hidden like many of us are comfortably used to. His recent travel ban is outright Islamophobic and will do virtually zero to make the country safer from foreign terrorism.
You currently have a 0.00003% chance of dying in an attack by a foreign-born terrorist. You’re much more likely to be struck by lightning, but the president has yet to take any steps to ban clouds from entering our airspace.
The countries affected by the travel ban were chosen because they were deemed ‘high risk.’ This is simply not true. Zero refugees from the included countries have killed anyone in a terrorist attack on American soil. The point of the travel ban is not to make America safer, it is to appeal to the xenophobia and bigotry that exists in this country and it is only the beginning.
Fascism is a nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization that is marked by racism, xenophobia and Nazism. Some of Trump's most prominent supporters are fascists who have aligned themselves with him because they see their hateful values reflected in our president. People like Richard Spencer and Milo Yiannopoulos have used Nazi imagery and ideology blatantly while serving as the poster children for the fascist movement that has been rebranded as the “alt-right.”
Our current situation is not a story about the successes of people who have espoused the merits of genocide, but rather a story of those who have failed to stop them. There are far too many people who are willing to let Neo-Nazis organize and build power as long as they do it in a suit and tie on college campuses. There are people who are so opposed to taking a strong moral stance on the value of human life that they would give away our rights instead of taking the opportunity to shut down these people—like what recently transpired at UC Berkeley.
First Amendment rights are important and people should not be silenced, but if someone seeks to harm others with what they say it is our moral responsibility to move against them.
There are many things you may find yourself arguing about with friends, including (but not limited to) whether you prefer burritos or sandwiches, your unpopular critique of an acclaimed cinematic masterpiece or about the maximum amount of times you can play Bad and Boujee at your cousin’s quinceanera without having your AUX privileges revoked.
The humanity and rights of other people, however, should never be debated. Framing racist ideas as simple issues of policy opinions makes discrimination a legitimate political stance.
The platform of discrimination is already built and the speakers are interchangeable. Do you really think Mike Pence is less bigoted than Donald Trump? Any politician who has sold out those it represents in order to make profits or appease bigots is culpable because they have contributed to a system that has allowed too many marginalized people to suffer at the hands of unjust legislation and practices.
Shock therapy to ‘cure’ LGBTQ folks is unacceptable. Separating a mother from her children because of where she was born is unacceptable. Giving a platform for fascists to espouse hate and target minorities is unacceptable.
Unfortunately, this is the established and entrenched oppressive nature of our systems. Regardless of leadership, people will continue to be oppressed, killed and treated as less than human because hate is seen as an opinion and not the detestable toxic waste that it really is.
There is no room for debate on the value of human existence. Some people are not inherently more deserving of the protections and civil liberties our government tries to take from so many of us.
To be uncompromising is something that is difficult for many people, but there are some things that should never be up for debate.
There are too many people who are willing to appease fascists and racists with a smile on their face at the expense of people like me. Too many who base my humanity and right to live on wether or not I’m a successful product, worker or otherwise exploitable entity.
These very same people are the ones confused about why we are in the state that we are in right now.
I urge those people to stand up and fight back and, if they won’t fight back, to please stand out of the way of those who will.