It ain’t just Donald Trump.
With the shock wearing off that Donald Trump is actually going to be the Republican nominee for president, there is a certain smugness in anti-Trump circles. There is a feeling that as long as you know what a con artist this guy is, well, that’s all that really matters.
Unfortunately, we are left with the disturbing fact that millions of people are nodding – and sometimes shouting – in agreement when Trump unfurls his latest vague and/or cockamamie idea.
Which does not mean we should forget that Trump supporters also know a thing or two about smug self-satisfaction. They don’t want to hear words like “scapegoating” or phrases like “simple solutions for complex problems.”
Nope. They’ve decided. Immigrants, bad. Wall, good.
Never mind that we’ve heard these grunts countless times in American history. Never mind that nativist Trump supporters might have grandparents who themselves were immigrants from Ireland or Germany or Poland.
And so here we are. With The New York Times actually running a sober front page analysis last Friday with the headline “Experts Find Flaws in Trump Plan for Wall.”
What’s next on the crazy reading list? “Observers Skeptical of Gold Claims at Rainbow’s End”?
Can you do anything other than laugh at a voter who hates the government and its economic problems, but is supportive of a massive project which would require extensive governmental competence? Oh, and which will probably stick U.S. taxpayers with a bill north of $20 billion, according to the Times. It’s cheaper just to let the immigrants stay here!
Again, bashing Trump is fun and all, but that only seems to make that neighbor or cousin or sibling or in-law of yours, who has guzzled the Trump Kool-Aid, that much more determined to vote for Trump.
Is there any chance of getting them to listen to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s commencement speech at the University of Pennsylvania last week? The star and writer of the Broadway smash "Hamilton" told U. Penn grads, ”In a year when politicians traffic in anti-immigrant rhetoric, there is also a Broadway musical reminding us that a broke, orphan immigrant from the West Indies built our financial system.”
He added that 'Hamilton' “is a story that reminds us that since the beginning of the great, unfinished symphony that is our American experiment, time and time again, immigrants get the job done."
What Miranda did not mention is that this section of his speech comes from a song in 'Hamilton' called “Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down).” Alexander Hamilton and fellow immigrant Marquis de Lafayette both sing: “Immigrants. We get the job done.”
Another immigrant who got the job done for Washington and the revolutionaries was the awesomely-named Hercules Mulligan, a spy who was born in Ireland. Mulligan sings a section of the song “Yorktown” that could very well serve as creed for all immigrants, from 1776 to 2016.
“I’m runnin’ with the Sons of Liberty and I am lovin’ it!/See, that’s what happens when you up against the ruffians/We in the s**t now, somebody gotta shovel it!/Hercules Mulligan, I need no introduction/ When you knock me down I get the f*** back up again!”
So maybe this is just another spasm of anti-immigrant fervor and it will go away eventually. Just like the nasty spasm back in Hercules Mulligan’s time, which produced the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. We survived and remained a great, young nation.
But we are a little older now. A little more cranky. A little more willing to believe simple solutions will solve complex problems.
Here’s the funny thing: those millions of voters out there who want to “make America great again,” has it ever occurred to them that this magical, mythical “great” bygone era was only great because immigrants helped make it so? Or do they believe that yesterday’s immigrants were so much better than today’s?
They were not. Then and now, immigrants are still willing to shovel s*** and get back up again.