It’s no mistake—U.S. president is racist and un-American
My Japanese car finally gets fixed in Iowa and I am back on the road to make it to Washington, DC for my one-man show, “Emil Amok: All Pucked Up” at the Capital Fringe.
Iowa wasn’t the most hospitable place. And I’m not running for president. Surprisingly, the least friendly was a Catholic Church, were the two priests I met there greeted me, a stranded motorist, with remarkable indifference. Cordial, but unwelcoming. The common passive way people say, “Leave at your soonest convenience.”
It reminded me of a news story in 1942 of Filipino Americans and their Japanese American wives and children who left California to resettle in Iowa. Only the reaction then was more direct, racist and exclusionary: “You aren’t welcome. Please leave.”
This was in my mind already when I finally rolled into DC on the weekend. And even the nation’s capital felt like an unwelcoming foreign country—not like the America we know and love. The White House Resident has the nation on edge with ICE looking for the undocumented, and everything is hot and steamy— not just the weather.
The political rhetoric has flipped. President Trump is actually “defending” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from four vocal minority congresswomen who continue to push the Democratic leader to be more progressive in the fight against the current administration.
Trump is leveraging all that, coming to Pelosi’s defense. They are on the same side? The new American traditionalist politics? What a meld of the anti-norm of Trump with the cautious moderation of Pelosi. That sure mucks things up for the Democrats. An embrace from Trump? The kiss of death.
But It was also in how he said it; with Trump saying the most outspoken progressive congresswomen led by Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez should “go back” to where they came from.
You mean New York?
Or Michigan, as in the case of Rep. Rashida Tlaib born in Detroit to Palestinian immigrants.
Or Massachusetts, as in the case of Rep. Ayanna Pressley born in the American Midwest and raised in Chicago.
Only Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota was born outside the U.S. in Somalia. But all four are American citizens.
Exactly where do Americans go back home to when America is no longer like America anymore? But Trump keeps hammering in his truth-optional manner. Go home? Or simply just get out of the way?
“These places need you badly,” Trump said, referring to what he presumed were their foreign ancestral homes. “You can’t leave fast enough,” Trump tweeted. “I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements.”
Nixon had his tapes. Trump has his tweets.
“So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrats Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly …and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government should be run.”
That was over the weekend.
And of course, Trump just likes to make things worse. On Monday, Trump acknowledged what he did, but instead of showing any signs of remorse, he hit back even harder.
“If Democrats want to unite around the foul language and racist hatred spewed from the mouths and actions of these very unpopular and unrepresentative Congresswomen, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I can tell you that they have made Israel feel abandoned by the U.S.”
As if the divisive front-end rhetoric isn’t bad enough (is Trump boasting that his hateful talk is less hateful?), he ends with a casual and simplistic Israel zinger attacking the congresswomen as anti-Semitic.
A nuclear tweet. The dude loves to play with fire. And so we have Trump on the attack against all people of color, and the accuracy of your status doesn’t matter. Great to know with ICE on the warpath.
It boils down to this: If you’re different, if you dare speak out, you’re un-American and unwanted. Get out of the country. Besides, as Trump has said publicly, the country’s too full.
Sounds hateful and un-American, and it’s coming from mouth of the president of the United States. Inspired hate for his base?
The art of politics has always allowed for grace. That’s the art of the hateful non-deal. But when you wear your hate on your sleeve, the next step is obvious.
When you make the leap from “immigrants go home” to “Americans go home,” you are sticking your dagger into the heart of our democratic values. Three of the four congresswomen are native-born Americans. Rep. Omar from Somalia is a naturalized American.
When you really mean “American go home,” you’re talking the next step toward tyranny and the end of free speech and civil liberties. Dare you disagree? Go home, get out. Shut up, Trump says. Are you un-American? Note that one of Trump’s mentors was McCarthy-era lawyer Roy Cohn.
The congresswoman took the high ground. Trump is xenophobic and bigoted, Rep. Pressley said. But she would not be deterred by the hate. “Do not take the bait,” she advised.
Sunday was the beginning of the ICE raids, which so far haven’t been as bad as feared. But don’t overlook Trump’s not-so-subtle transition to this “American Go Home” theme.
He goes after the undocumented first. But when that becomes normalized, it’s the rest of us. And then the fight really hits home.
Make no mistake. It all starts by Trump seemingly empowering white supremacy and encouraging a nativist race war. That makes him an undeniable racist as we have reached a new low for this administration.
There’s simply no reason to euphemize the hate coming from our country’s most un-American president.
None of what’s happening now is new. Raids. Deportation, self and forced. Nativism. White ethnic purity. What do you think anti-miscegenation laws were about—the anti-intermarriage laws that prevented Asians from marrying whites. If there were a Rush Limbaugh back in the 1930s, you’d hear him spouting about trying to stop the “peaceful penetration” of another race. And it all was on top of the skewed men to women ratios, 14-1 for Filipinos. That was enough to make a red-blooded Filipino male go amok.
I talk about it all in my show “Emil Amok: All Pucked UP—Harvard, NPR and More” from July 20-28 at the Capital Fringe. Check times and dates and buy your tickets here.
Special: I’ve got a limited number of “Buy One, Get One” coupons. Contact me for the code at my website, http://www.amok.com
Emil Guillermo is a veteran journalist and commentator. He writes a column for the Inquirer.net’s North American Bureau. Twitter @emilamok.