How will America respond to Donald Trump’s proposal to purify America with a border wall, or iron curtain, along the American/Mexican border?
Regardless of party or presidential winner, The Donald raises key questions: what to do with “illegals” who are here? What to do with the birthright citizenship of their children? What to do with the hoards of people wanting in? And what to do with the flow of drugs across the Mexican border — especially heroin — into U.S. communities, especially those that then come to Minneapolis?
Trump’s platform has only one plank so far: immigration. In crises past, the U.S. pattern and practice has been exclusion: sequestering African slaves on Southern plantations, sequestering Native Americans onto reservations, and sequestering Japanese into concentration camps after Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. It continues today with the economic and policy walls around our urban ghettoes. And what about the growing number of camps in the Middle East due to top nations saying, as Trump, immigrants are ruining their culture and economy and taking their jobs?
Regardless of party or candidate, the questions remain: Who gets in? Who pays for those who get in and for those already here, and at what price to African Americans and our communities as we are pushed further back in the minority bus?
The Donald knows what he is doing. He has effectively pushed the buttons of fear and anger about “others,” worsening the atmosphere of intolerance across the American landscape. He appears to want to round up illegals to deport them. Would he also use roundups to fill American concentration camps? We haven’t forgotten the tragic example of Germany’s World War II holocaust of 11 million murdered, nor the 71 million in 20th century camps of Russia and China.
In January 1942, this country, by executive order and congressional legislation, showed to the world that citizens born here and certified as American citizens did not have constitutional protection after December 7, 1941, despite the Constitution’s 14th amendment. The push today is to reverse birthright citizenship, as a frenzy of fear, anger, and resentment drives intolerance.
A friend of mine said whether or not The Donald is serious about his campaign, he is very serious about keeping immigration front and center. If elected president, would he continue the tradition of former Chief Justice Earl Warren, who, before becoming Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, was the Marshall Law administrator for the West Coast, responsible for rounding up Japanese in 1942 and putting them into concentration camps away from the coasts? Their lands, bank accounts, and other properties were seized, with most never returned.
They had to wait 60 years after World War II for this country to say sorry for violating their constitutional rights. We in Black America are well aware of how quickly constitutional guarantees can disappear despite being “inalienable rights.” Minnesota was a part of that dark history, with a concentration camp along the Minnesota River at a place called Savage, Minnesota.
The Donald must not be dismissed as a billionaire clown. He reflects the fear, anger, concern, and demand for action across the spectrums of different complexions and religions. We must not forget what happened in Europe in the 1930s, when so many perished, fled or disappeared. Those who didn’t believe the storm clouds rolling across Europe were forced to board trains for concentration camps.
Is The Donald a man seeking to fix a problem or a man wanting to take advantage of fear, anger, and resentment to purify the United States through such roundups of exclusion?