From Wikipedia: An unperson is a person who has been “vaporized”; who has not only been killed by the state, but effectively erased from existence. Such a person would be written out of existing books, photographs, and articles and the original copies destroyed, so that no trace of their existence could be found in the historical record. The idea is that such a person would, according to the principles of doublethink, be forgotten completely (for it would be impossible to provide evidence of their existence), even by close friends and family members. Mentioning his or her name, or even speaking of their past existence, is thoughtcrime; the concept that the person may have existed at one time and has disappeared cannot be expressed in Newspeak.
That’s me – an unperson. That is, in the unlikely event that Trump, Paul, Walker, or Santorum are elected President next year, and follow through on their shared promise to effectively repeal the 14th Amendment. 40-some years ago I benefited from birthright citizenship as the son of two legal and hard working immigrants. Funny thing, this citizenship, especially here in the US. It isn’t Heinlein’s world, where it must be earned, though if that standard were upheld, I daresay I’ve earned my citizenship a thousand times over; here it’s easily and readily conferred, literally a constitutional right guaranteed by the very amendment these presidential candidates want to delete. Moreover, it is a human right.
These days I often wonder what scares these men so, and by extension, the people who support them? Was Pat Buchanan ahead of his time, then? Are they simply afraid – terrified, even – of the decline of the white America they used to know? Or is it, judging from the ethnicity of all the Republican candidates save Piyush Jindal (himself a recipient of birthright citizenship) and George Pataki (part Hungarian, hence not a member of the WASP Republican set), pushback against that dreaded “other?” This goes far beyond any Republican fear and/or exploitation of African Americans (see Southern Strategy or Atwater, Lee). The bogeyman is now brown or yellow, bringing disease and crime into our great nation, so burdening the health care and education systems that we must defund everything from the Department of Education, Planned Parenthood, Medicare, Obamacare, the list goes on.
“They’re taking our jobs,” I read almost daily. Whom, Congressman King? Are your mythical illegals with calves the size of cantaloupes marauding through the job market like modern Visigoths? Or are we now supposed to be terrified of Mexican STEM graduates who will take well paying tech jobs away from lily-white Silicon Valley? And which jobs are “they” taking, precisely? The last time I saw a white person washing dishes was in a restaurant in Portland, Maine, probably only because I noticed a dearth of Latinos willing to take on such menial work. Find me a white person, then, who is willing to pick produce in Watsonville, California, for minimum wage (or, far too often, less than minimum wage). Find me a white person who is willing to wash dishes in a restaurant like the one I manage, where my guys clean after hundreds of people’s meals per night? No?
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” Trump famously stated when he announced his candidacy for the presidency. To rebut His Hairness, using the small sample size of my Latino immigrant employees, none of them are rapists. They didn’t bring crime from El Salvador, Peru, Honduras, Ecuador, or Mexico; if anything, they came here to escape it. None of my guys use illegal drugs; even if they did, they know I have a zero tolerance policy and act accordingly. But Trump was right about one thing. They are good people.
“For more than a century, innumerable studies have confirmed two simple yet powerful truths about the relationship between immigration and crime: immigrants are less likely to commit serious crimes or be behind bars than the native-born, and high rates of immigration are associated with lower rates of violent crime and property crime. This holds true for both legal immigrants and the unauthorized, regardless of their country of origin or level of education. In other words, the overwhelming majority of immigrants are not “criminals” by any commonly accepted definition of the term. For this reason, harsh immigration policies are not effective in fighting crime.”
So what, then, can we do? Let’s take away the very thing so many people cherish, their citizenship! Let’s take away the constitutionally guaranteed right to be a citizen in this country because someone was born here. Gosh, Congressman King, that’s a swell idea, let’s fight the brown hordes, here’s 27 white people who agree with your base appeal to the lowest racist denominator. There’s a little hitch with your plan, though. How, unless you carry various “papers” like Soviet citizens did under Brezhnev, does one prove citizenship? Is it skin color, as seems to be the prevailing sentiment? Or would any white person who didn’t speak perfect American English be lumped in with the “other?” Is it religion, as
the American Taliban evangelical Christians would want? What, then? How many generations of one’s family must prove legal residency in the US to prove worthy of being bestowed citizenship by the People’s Jumhuriya of Americastan? Two? Three? Does one need to provide a ship’s manifest from when it docked at Ellis Island in 1885?
Here’s a simple solution, besides the obvious resurrection of the Chinese Exclusion Act along with its inevitable expansion to include most of the rest of Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East. Count the “other,” whomever they may be, as simply three fifths of a person. It worked before, why can’t it work again, right? God knows, you wouldn’t have to jerrymander congressional districts nearly as much anymore, and non-whites like me would get put into their place. I understand that Republicans’ definition of “other” in the context of this post changes frequently, but I digress from the intellectual backflips that cceptance of this would require.
After all, I wouldn’t want to seem uppity.