Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Will the end result of a Trump administration be a good thing for immigration reform?

Yes, we can draw frightening parallels to history (“Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lies, their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion fact depends entirely on the power of man who can fabricate it.”--Hannah Arendt)  and I continue to swing wildly between outrage and bafflement at a White House  in which logic defies logic in an effort to support lies (White House deputy press secretary points to the many media stories about Trump's claim of Obama wiretapping as proof that it must have happened, despite the fact that the media was only reporting that Trump made a claim without any evidence). And we should be vigilant and aware and outraged. 

But couldn't a case be made that Trump's election on an anti-immigration platform and ensuing fabrication of facts may just have been  and continue to be the best thing to mobilize people into action for and in defense of undocumented immigrants? 


Did we become complacent about what was really happening to undocumented in the U.S. In the last eight years either because 1) we didn't want to criticize our first black president, or 2) we elected a good guy so expected him to be a good guy on all areas of human rights including immigration? 


Under Obama, did anything go majorly wrong? Under Trump is anything going right? 


I'm trying and sometimes failing but still trying not to spend time fueling my own outrage over every Tweet or Facebook post with yet another outrageous Trump statement or action or lie. I know I cannot sustain this. 


But more important for me is to not "take refuge in cynicism." In a it-takes-one-to-know-one kind of way, maybe Hannah Arendt can teach us something: 


"In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true. Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not particularly object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie anyhow. The totalitarian mass leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.” ― Hannah ArendtThe Origins of Totalitarianism

While I don't think that there is much danger in the Left, the Dems, or those of us in the liberal UU church going so far as to admire our leaders for falsehoods, I do think there is a danger of becoming an audience ready at all times to believe the worst and to become complacent about the truth because we stop expecting it. 

Now that, even in this young administration, the parallels have been drawn, I find those that are responding rather than reacting to be more effective in working toward a kind and just community. 

Not that the end justifies the means at all, but that is where the optimism springs from that the end result could be a good thing for immigration.