Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
—Emma Lazarus, inscription on the base of the Statue of Liberty, 1903
Why do we want all these people from shithole countries coming here?
—Donald Trump, 2018
We know that Trump is an oaf, a buffoon. But if you go into bars in places not far from the Mexican border, or in parts of Suffolk County, Long Island, where members of the MS-13 gang from El Salvador not only torture other Salvadorans but menace the locals, you will find similar sentiments. That’s why he hits political pay dirt with his pledge to take care of Americans before admitting the wretched refuse of the world.
If Trump is to be thrown out of decent society, progressives need to find a way to build better lives for America’s own forgotten people, who have been sacrificed on the altar of Trump’s cronies on Wall Street. Otherwise, they will take out their frustrations on the most tempest-tossed of refugees.
To be our best self as a nation, we need to be a better self to our own as well as to the world.