JIM HIGHTOWER: Fomenting the fear of foreigners
Gosh, has it been two whole years since Republican leaders vowed to reach out to Latino voters with “a more welcoming, inclusive message” and “positive solutions on immigration”?
My how time flies when you’re having elections. The GOP’s “outreach” was on full display by their candidates this year during the midterms.
The general message was: “Elect me, because I’ll lock down the whole Mexican border to protect you from those illegal hordes of diseased, drug-connected Hispanics and Ebola-carrying Islamic terrorists coming to kill you and live on welfare.”
Tom Cotton of Arkansas, for example, won a U.S. Senate seat in part by fomenting fear of foreigners. Lying right through his teeth, Cotton warned of a murderous mass invasion by two stereotypical boogeymen: “Groups like the Islamic State collaborate with drug cartels in Mexico,” he said excitedly.
Then Cotton delivered his comic punch line: “They could infiltrate our defenseless border and attack us right here in places like Arkansas.”
Yeah, the secret dream of every Middle Eastern jihadist is to conquer Pine Bluff. And this guy is going to be a senator now? Lord have mercy.
It’s bad enough to campaign on such twaddle, but a gaggle of right-wing senators actually hopes to act on it. The president of the Senate Twaddle Caucus, Ted Cruz, recently claimed on Fox News that the 2014 elections were a referendum on amnesty. According to him, “the American people overwhelmingly said, ‘We don’t want amnesty.’”
Actually, they said no such thing. Exit polls show that 57 percent of voters favor letting undocumented immigrants get legal status, rather than deporting them.
But forget facts — and forget inclusivity — Republican lawmakers have decided that bashing immigrants is good politics.