Border control in New Mexico

Homeland Security diverts all traffic from a New Mexico interstate highway into sheds where agents ask, “Are you an American citizen?” I drove through this border check when I was recently heading west on Interstate 10 between Las Cruces and Deming, New Mexico.

The border agent took me at my word that I am indeed a U.S. citizen. The agent didn’t ask to see my drivers’ license. Apparently, she profiled me as an Anglo, not a Latino. It was unlikely, it would seem, that I was an alien without papers.

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Strangers in their own land

Many white Americans feel like strangers in their own land. These are white folks who stem from European origins.

They feel betrayed. They mistrust both political and judicial institutions.

They feel marginalized in American culture. There is a Black History Month, a Women’s History Month, but no white history month.

Their common religion is electoral politics, and they constitute the American right wing.

These white Americans overwhelmingly voted for Donald Trump for president of the U.S. They form his loyal base. They cheer him on and are exhilarated by his rallies.

Some of these whites are full nationalists, not just patriots. A few of President Trump’s base are even white supremacists. They are all cut from the same cloth, though, and generally feel alienated in the U.S.’s political economy.

Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh are members of this right wing brain trust. Limbaugh, who tongue-in-cheek styles himself as a “doctor of democracy,” speaks about “the way America is supposed to be.”

What is America supposed to be? Of, by, and for European Americans, according to people on the right.

The nationalists focus on one enemy: liberals and the left. By the nationalist right’s accounting, the left is almost demonic. Liberals, according to nationalists, want to destroy America.

Liberals stand for everything that’s wrong with America. Nationalists stand to oppose the left with all their strength. Rush Limbaugh declares that if you want to know what “we stand for” – it’s the opposite of whatever liberals stand for. This is quite simple.

So I’ve gleaned from experiences of the last couple of years.

Also, see the book Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild, New York: The New Press, 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A national emergency: an imperial president

U.S. President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border. However, his security advisors did not suggest that there is indeed a security threat at the border. These advisors recently delivered a report to Congress to delineate the real threats that the U.S. faces.

Based on his putative emergency, President Trump claims that he can and will divert funds from accounts outside the Department of Homeland Security to build a 250-mile border wall.

The real emergency is that the president is disregarding the U.S. Constitution:

All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives … (Article I, Section 7). No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law … (Article I, Section 9).

In 1976, Congress granted the president the expediency of quickly directing funds for recognized emergencies like hurricanes and wild fires. We see thereby that Congress still has the authority but has granted the president a small share of the “power of the purse.”

It’s now almost Shabbat and an opportunity to tune out the President’s noise.

And to drink a cup of hot tea with sugar.

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This calls for a cup of hot tea with sugar.

(The return path for this reader looks dangerous, so I’m not posting or following it.)

Scotland and the Brexit mess

Although Scotland voted to remain in the European Union by a margin of 62 percent to 38 percent, it’s heading to leave the EU at the end of March 2019 as part of the United Kingdom.

William Booth of the Washington Post writes:

Any future vote on Scottish independence would collide with new realities. If England is outside the European Union and Scotland inside, what would their relationship be? Would there be a hard border across Britain? Tariffs on trade? Would a Scottish citizen need to show a passport to travel to London — or live or work there?

Members of the Scottish Nationalist Party generally want Scotland to remain in Europe besides attaining its independence.

Is the UK decision to leave the EU a nudge that will push most Scots to choose independence?

See “Scotland dreads Brexit. But is it enough to boost sentiment for Scottish independence?,” The Washington Post, February 11, 2019.

My changing mind about The Washington Post

I subscribed to The Washington Post in March 2018. I wanted to keep up with reports about U.S. President Trump’s plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians – his vaunted “Deal of the Century.”

Speculation suggested that the plan would be revealed in November of last year (2018). November came and went, so I recently cancelled my subscription. The cost of 36 cents a day started to seem like a waste.

I just resubscribed when I heard about peace plans coming to the fore, as you see in my previous post.

The irony of losing faith.