America, the Glutiful

312_stopthepressesIt’s not about what we’re telling the world when we react to terrorism by pushing yet again to close our borders to people fleeing a civil war.

It’s about what we’re telling ourselves.

We used to like to fashion ourselves as a country that would take in your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, because, OK, yeah, all of us who are here and aren’t Native Americans came here tired, poor and huddled.

But now that we’re here, we want the door closed behind us and locked, with a security system engaged.

We’re fat, happy, and yet we’re afraid to admit that to ourselves, basically.

Mexicans are the enemy, for some reason. They’re taking all the good jobs. That’s what we let people running for president tell us, anyway, and we believe them, even if the good jobs that are being taken from us are the ones that we don’t want, picking fruit and vegetables, other manual labor that upstanding, working-class Americans have been turning their noses up to for a couple of generations now.

And despite other indices, namely, that net migration to Mexico shows more people leaving the U.S. for Mexico than entering the U.S. from Mexico, we let the pols who tell us that immigrants are a big problem turn us ‘round and ‘round and ‘round.

But it’s not enough that we’re putting this hateful eye toward people of color from south of the border. Now we have another group of people of color to put a hate to. Syrians fleeing a civil war that is killing tens of thousands by the month have our attention, because a small band of terrorists perpetrating an atrocity in Paris two weeks ago planted an immigrant visa at the scene of their crime to try to indicate that among their number was a Syrian refugee.

And we fall for it, hook, line and sinker, because that’s what we do.

We pretend to be good Judeo-Christians, who do unto the least of me as we would do unto thee, but deep down, we’re all about what’s easiest for us.

And what’s easiest for us is to drop bombs on people of color in faraway lands where wanton killing is a fact of life, as if more destruction is a solution.

Somehow, we do this, ignoring people who are fleeing a real-life horror life, and worse than ignoring them, actively telling them to go back to hell, and we still convince ourselves that we’re good Judeo-Christians, who act with compassion, because it’s the holidays, and our church delivers a couple of turkeys to needy families, and gives presents to a few kids who wouldn’t otherwise get gifts under their Christmas trees.

Good on us, for taking a couple of hours out of our years to be decent people, when the other 8.758 we’re selfish, racist, classist buttheads.

Wave that flag, sing that national anthem, observe the moment of silence at the football game, with your chest puffed out in pride.

You’re an American, lucky to live in the wealthiest nation in recorded world history, and it’s your right to tell those not fortunate to have been born here to fend for their sorry selves, because by the grace of God, by God, you’re better than them, and if you want to spend your precious snowflake moments protesting whether your designer coffee cup has a Santa Claus and reindeer on it, then that’s what you’ll do.

– Column by Chris Graham



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