Demonizing immigrants is the oldest political trick in the book, something generations of Irish suffered off the boat.
Immigration is a proper issue for discussion and heated rhetoric is nothing new. But it has toppled over into hate speech with Trump.
His outrageous attacks on the undocumented – and immigrants in general – has ignited a firestorm and harsh criticism even from right wing paladins like Rupert Murdoch, who tweeted on Sunday, “Mexican immigrants, as with all immigrants, have much lower crime rates than native born. Eg El Paso safest city in U.S. Trump wrong.”
With his control of a right wing media empire including Fox News, Murdoch appears to be sending out a powerful message that Trump’s brand of poison should not be promoted on his networks – something Fox, most notably Bill O’Reilly, has been doing.
O’Reilly jumped on the horrific murder of a white woman named Kate Steinle in San Francisco by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an undocumented immigrant who had been deported to Mexico five times.
No one disputes that the murder was despicable, but O’Reilly used it as a drum to bang out support for Trump’s position.
I was deeply surprised to see O’Reilly jump on the Trump bandwagon, by making it clear he thought the mogul is right-on with his anti-immigrant rhetoric.
After all, O’Reilly should know that in his forbears’ time it was commentators like Thomas Nast, the O’Reilly of his day, who were demonizing the Irish the way Trump is demonizing Mexicans now.
Indeed, all Irish Americans eager to swallow the Trump hatred line should remember their own past when we were portrayed as apes and pigs and drunken louts.
Trump is the guy in the movie theater shouting fire, creating an incendiary response that demonizes all immigrants even if he is claiming that is not his intention.
His real intention is to grab attention, and he has certainly done that. Unfortunately he has, no doubt, roped in nut jobs ready to hang the nearest illegal immigrant to the nearest tree.
I hope the media will hang the next shooting or beating of a Mexican immigrant by some such yobs around Trump’s neck, and by extension O’Reilly’s too.
It is a dangerous game they are playing, one with a loaded gun and a noose that will have consequences for immigrants legal and undocumented.
Trump is a poisonous toad injected into a political race that hardly needs more venom. O’Reilly should really know better than to pander to the Trump hate screed.