Post-Election reflections on Donald Trump
As I wake up every morning, I feel fortunate and blessed to be in a house that I can call my own. What I fail to remember, is that the house was probably constructed using “cheap labor” in the form of immigrant Mexican nationals looking to provide for their families. I fail to realize that these often marginalized individuals are responsible for making huge contributions to the society in which I live. These Mexican immigrant nationals that may have possibly build my house came to my country, The United States, in order to seek a better life for either themselves, or their family. The United States, the land of opportunity, always a beacon the less fortunate and responding to humanitarian crisis, never seems to want open its door to help those who want to be better, and do better.
These Mexican immigrants who brave entering the country through a variety of means, risking death, or capture in the process, only to be returned to the land they often do not want to leave, but make the choice the leave for a chance at a better life. If these individuals are successful, they face tough working conditions and discrimination and potential hatred from their new hosts, the people of The United States. These immigrants, however, will do their best to take this all in stride. They will take the crappiest jobs, including working in agriculture fields, becoming handyman whose labor will be mocked. I often hear from other Americans in my society say “I’ll just hire some Mexicans to do the work for me.” I never reacted to these words, because they were just “words” and left my radar as soon as I heard them. In retrospect, I am saddened that I heard these words and never understood how hateful and inciting of prejudice these words could be. In ways like this, international views of America are similar to “window shopping,” similar to browsing items in a store, but knowing you cannot have them. That is the analogy to describe the benefits the United States would like to offer the people of the world, without letting them have them without ease.
The immigration policy in the United States as argued in the previous paragraph is akin to window shopping. The policy towards immigration in the United States is poorly constructed, much like the views towards immigrants held by Americans. Rhetoric by the media and politicians state that immigrants are taking American jobs, however, the jobs held by most immigrants are jobs that nobody wants. In the end, these workers are exploited not only for political gain, but for monetary gain. Despite taking jobs that no American citizen would want, these immigrant workers from Mexico are faced with racism and hatred for “taking American jobs.” The American platform is that immigrants should enter the country legally, however, the workers are able to keep low paying jobs and experience mistreatment for the sake of business. The “no trespassing” approach to American immigration policy is two faced, promising opportunity to foreigners, whilst doing everything in its power to keep immigrant workers in low wage jobs with poor access to healthcare. The media and politicians in this country build their platform on the backs of these poorly paid, hard working immigrant workers. These immigrants cannot work legally in the United States without a certain visa, obtaining a Green Card, or going through the naturalization process. All three processes for working in the United States are filled with strings attached by years of legislation. In a sense, the United States has built a metaphorical wall blockading willing workers from entering the country through an easy passage.
The recent political election in the United States has only instilled more fear into the citizens of Mexico and its immigrant relatives in the United States. The campaign of Donald J. Trump was largely built upon a rhetorical promise to “build a wall” between the countries. While popular opinion of largely uneducated, white, republican voters was that a literal physical barrier between the two countries much like the famous Great Wall of China would be built, these nonsensical individuals simply fell victim to a rhetorical metaphor. Trump can easily “build a wall” between the nations by straining international relations and enforcing and adding to existing immigration laws.
The rhetorical campaign of the political platform that Donald J Trump ran on “rallied” his supporters and in some cases, inflamed stereotypes towards Mexican citizens. The two face in public behavior almost makes me rethink of dark times in our world’s history such as the reconstruction era following the Civil War, where albeit being free, former black slaves were mistreated and only allowed the worst of the worst of material items and still treated like second class citizens, or of World War II Germany were Hitler’s rise to power resulted in minorities, specifically Jewish peoples, being persecuted and eventually executed in masses in Concentration Camps for being who they were. It is often forgotten in American history that we too, hosted Japanese Americans in internment camps which still leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of many older Japanese Americans. More recently, in Maricopa County, a county in the state of Arizona, the soon to be former Sheriff Joe Arpaio mistreated inmates of the Maricopa County jail system, including Mexican immigrants, and forced these individuals to live in “tent cities” because of apparent overcrowding in the Maricopa County jail system. The facts of the former events that occurred in the last 100 years that seem to have been forgotten or often overlooked would more than likely sadden the philosopher Friedreich Nietzsche, whose theory around the idea of critical history, would think that Americans desire to break with past traditions does not seem to occur in our common society. Mexican citizens of this country seem to be placing on a brave face. Many speculated that many would “pack up and move back to Mexico”, but that just may not seem to be happening just yet. The President of Mexico also, has stated publicly that he is willing to work with our new president-elect, Donald Trump, on a wide array of issues.
My largest fear is that many people of the United States do not realize the contributions that Mexico, its citizens, and its former citizens, have made to our great country. On the individual level, I wake up every morning in a house that I own that may have potentially been built by the hands and on the backs of Mexican immigrants who came here to build a better life for themselves. I question myself philosophically whether or not I truly own this house, as I did not build this house. Many Americans visit Ellis Island to find some documentation of an ancestor that came to this country long ago to build a better life, but do not want to allow Mexican citizens the benefit of this hope that their ancestors. The United States, the land of opportunity, always a beacon the less fortunate and responding to humanitarian crisis, never seems to want open its door to help those who want to be better, and do better. The metaphorical Ellis Island it seems, is no longer open for business.