The Monday Morning Teaser

What better way to celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday than to spend several days discussing whether we want to accept immigrants from the “shithole countries” in Africa, or whether we should instead try to attract more Norwegians?

Ordinarily, I try to follow the principle Rachel Maddow laid out at the beginning of the Trump administration, and not waste too much energy on he-said-a-bad-thing stories. He’s been saying bad things from the beginning, everybody knows he says bad things, and even so, enough people voted for him that the Electoral College was able to make him president.

This bad thing, though, is a little different: It sums up a lot of what his administration has been doing, and breaks through his own misleading rhetoric. Too often, Trump and his followers hide behind opposition to illegal immigration. They pretend that the problem has something to do with national security and the rule of law: We just can’t have all these people ignoring our immigration procedures and coming across our borders without filing the proper paperwork and waiting their turn. Who knows what kind of criminals might be coming in?

But the shithole discussion was about legal immigration: How many people do we want to let in from where? The shithole comment puts a theme around a number of Trump actions that have nothing to do with anything illegal: cutting the number of well-screened war-refugees we’ll accept from Syria, sending back refugees from natural disasters in Haiti and El Salvador, and so on. Those people got in legally, and we know exactly who they are. They haven’t been causing any more trouble than our native-born citizens do.

The problem is that they’re not white. Trump’s America is a country for whites, and especially for English-speaking Christian whites. Every black or brown or Muslim or Spanish-speaking person we let in dilutes that America. It’s not that we’re too crowded, it’s that we should be reserving our open space for more Norwegians and other Europeans.

That’s the point of view that motivates the immigration policies of Trump and his base, and yet it rarely gets discussed openly. Maybe now it will. So this week’s featured post will be “The Real Immigration Issue”.

I’m way behind this morning. (I spent most of the week writing the MLK Sunday sermon I gave yesterday. You’ll see the text eventually.) So it probably won’t come out until 11 or so. The weekly summary — DACA, Oprah 2020, the Hawaiian false alarm, gerrymandering, and some other things — might not be out until 1.

If you want something to read in the meantime, look at a post I wrote in 2013 about the real Martin Luther King, the one who had a radical message for America, and wasn’t the why-can’t-we-all-just-get-along guy that we so often hear about today.

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