I can be silent no longer on Ann Coulter’s and Donald Trump’s continual bigotry and lies. I typically try to ignore such people; not wishing to give them any more airtime or spotlight. Some however have a large enough following, are persistent enough, and extreme enough I feel I must speak out. As Ella Wheeler Wilcox so eloquently said: “To sin by silence, when we should protest, makes cowards of men”.
I am quite honestly fearful of the rhetoric I am hearing from Ann Coulter and Donald Trump. Fearful of the amount of hatred they are stirring up within certain segments of the American Electorate. We have seen this phenomenon of stirring up hatred for “the other” play out throughout history and it always ends badly.
Coulter and Trump are stroking the fears of people and inciting the inner prejudices within them against already persecuted and marginalized groups. They are adding fuel to people’s anger and reinforcing and justifying their extreme beliefs. They are inspiring the worst within people, the worst within politics, and the worst within America.
Ann Coulter gets on the media and shouts immigrants are drug dealers, child rapist, murderers, terrorist, and any other class of criminal that invokes the most societal anger. She is trying to make immigrants, Latinos, blacks, Muslims, etc… synonymous with criminals in people’s mind. She knows exactly what she is doing and she seems to have taken a page out of the playbook of xenophobic and racist figures throughout history. Even for Ann Coulter this is scraping the bottom of the barrel of the ugliest kind of rhetoric and politics.
Donald Trump meanwhile is capitalizing on other people’s pain to try to use to further his own bigoted agenda. He is taking tragedies and trying to use them to stir up hate. Then he has the audacity to go after John McCain’s service to his Country. As much as McCain and I may disagree on many issues and he is not the most likable person by far I have nothing but respect for his service to his Country and admiration for his bravery as a POW. Trump’s comments were simply below the belt and unjustified. His rhetoric against immigrants is nothing less than ugly and despicable. I look forward to the day the GOP primary voters say, “Donald you’re fired!”
I am tired of Ann Coulter and Donald Trump continually stereotyping immigrants in the worst and ugliest of ways. Suggesting they are disproportionately abusing the system, abusing welfare, abusing drugs, abusing children, and abusing the public at large. They seem to be on a race towards the bottom of how ugly and despicable they can get. Truly some of the ugliest and most hateful rhetoric I have heard in a long time.
Being born in Arizona and having lived here all my life, I have grew up around a lot of Mexican born migrants. I have also grew up around many 2nd and 3rd generation Latino American families. Mesa, the city in which I have lived since I was 4 years old, has had a significant Hispanic population during the last 27 years I have lived here. As more Latinos have moved here and more whites have moved further out to East Mesa or the suburbs in the Phoenix Metro Area, downtown and West Mesa has an ever greater Latino presence and influence.
I currently live in the heart of downtown Mesa in a working class neighborhood and the vast majority of my neighbors are of Mexican descent. There is many shops and restaurants around that are owned by Latinos and cater to that demographic. Businesses in general tend to have a significant Hispanic workforce. The Spanish language is spoken frequently here and many things are written to be bilingual. Spoken from experience it is getting harder and harder to live here and not be fluent in Spanish. The area increasingly has a more ethnic flair to it. The traditional American Culture I was raised in is increasingly being replaced by Latin American culture.
These changes have in all honesty been difficult for many non-Latinos to accept, the older ones in particular. Even I as someone who is only in my early 30’s have recognized this City is not the one I knew in my childhood. I have had to accept I am a minority within a minority here and will likely only continue to be demographically marginalized. That my culture is not the dominate culture. Rather than do as reactionary conservatives have done and became angry and depressed over it, I have tried to embrace the changes.
I have increasingly been learning about Latin American culture. I have tried to stay current on issues that are important to the Latino community. I have been vocal in my opposition to anti-immigration sentiment, racism, and xenophobia that has been all too common here. I am working on learning Spanish and about the history of the Latino community. I am getting to know my neighbors better.
In a sense it is as if non-Latinos here are having to assimilate in the communities they were born in, due to the huge demographic shifts. It may be opposite of how it has traditionally worked but it is what will be required to prevent the kind of divisive political and social battles we have seen here for too long. Though it will require the same kind of efforts of assimilation among Latinos living here for it to work best. This is what America should be, not this separating ourselves and trying to fight for cultural dominance.
I have seen and heard more than my fair share of bigotry in Arizona. I have seen a lot of right-wing extremist politicians come and go. Growing up I was bullied a lot so I have experienced what it feels like to be labeled “the other”.
I have grown very tired of the fear, distrust, anger, bigotry, prejudice, racism, and xenophobia that has frequently shown up in our society and politics here in Arizona. I do not fear immigrants bringing crime, disease, and societal ills. I do not buy the rhetoric Ann Coulter, Donald Trump, and others are selling as I have heard it again and again here in Arizona politics and it has been proven time and time again to be lies, half-truths, and misrepresentations.
The vast majority of immigrants come to America for a better life and to find employment not to harm others and milk the social-welfare system while being physically and mentally able. Immigrants are far more likely to be victims of crimes than to commit crimes. Most jobs that immigrants take are ones that most Americans don’t want as they often require a lot of physical labor, pay little, and have little if any benefits. History has proven the belief that immigrants bring disease is much more myth than reality. Immigrants do tend to have higher birth rates but with family planning services and education families can be kept to a size in which the family has resources to provide for them. The argument immigrants use taxpayer provided services is true but so too is the argument most of them pay taxes. The argument immigrants send all or most of their money back to the Countries they came from is way overblown. Immigrants have to buy shelter, food, daily necessities like everyone else and they also have proven to be strong consumers of American goods and services as evidence by all the corporate ad dollars spent to attract such consumers and corporate profits. All things considered immigration is a large gain to the United States and its economy.
Ann Coulter and Donald Trump do not speak for most Americans. They speak for the reactionary portion of the electorate who like to look for scapegoats for their problems and the Nation’s problems. They speak for the portion of the American Electorate who have not woken up to reality yet of the new America in which we are living and will continue to live in. America is not going back to how things used to be no mater how much these reactionaries whine, kick, and scream.
Immigration and migration was essential in building up this Nation, will be essential in rebuilding it, and keeping America strong in the world. Our Nation’s diversity is what allows us to communicate with, relate to, understand, do business with, build trust with, have a large influence in; the rest of the world. After human rights, freedom, value of the individual, and economic opportunity; it is our Nation’s acceptance of diversity why people all over the world want to come here. Even in the darkest of times when America is not at its best people still risk everything for a chance at the American dream. Even if only a dream, it is a beautiful dream and one we never should stop believing in.
Alan Curtis Montgomery