Well, it’s another election year so it’s time for the Republican biennial border balderdash. That’s where every two years (especially during the midterms) Republicans pretend to get apoplectic with counterfeit outrage over the nonexistent “crisis” at the border. And they don’t mean the Canadian border either.
To be sure, the border between the United States and Mexico has always been problematic. As a former resident of San Diego, California’s most southerly major city, I have long been aware that there needed to be a balance between lawful applications for citizenship, humanitarian concerns, labor practices and abuses from unlawful entries. There has always been what you might call a crisis at the border in those senses.
But the problems at the US/Mexico border are nothing new and have been addressed with less than stunning adequacy by administrations of both parties for years followed by decades followed by centuries. It’s an ongoing problem we inherited from Trump, who inherited it from Obama, who inherited it from Bush, and so on. All the way back to 1836 or thereabouts.
Recall the photos of the “huge caravans” of “migrant hordes” coming up from South America in the run up to the 2018 midterms? It was the greatest crisis that America had faced since forever, as far as the Republicans were concerned, and it was largely composed of anachronistic photos or photos of migration-as-usual. Trump even ordered US troops to the border in response to the “crisis.”
Then, suddenly, miraculously, as soon as the election was over, nothing more was said about it. Not a peep. The distraction mechanism was rewound and reset and made ready to be triggered in another two years. Republicans know that fear is an effective campaign weapon, and they use the border to inspire fear and bigotry in the hearts of their constituents every two years. And it frequently works.
The so-called “crisis” is also handy for dodging questions. Kevin McCarthy recently used the “border crisis” to dodge questions about why he lied about asking Donald Trump to resign. As you may recall, it was recently alleged that the House Minority leader mooted the idea of asking Trump to resign shortly after the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. McCarthy denied ever saying that, until it was revealed that there was a recording of the conversation between McCarthy, Liz Cheney and others with McCarthy saying exactly that.
When confronted with this disparity McCarthy lied again by saying that he meant that he never actually asked Trump to resign, then immediately changed the subject to the latest Republican whataboutism, what we REALLY should be talking about right now, the “crisis” at the border. When further confronted several times with the fact that McCarthy denied ever saying that he spoke about asking Trump to resign, McCarthy deflected again and again by changing the subject to the border “crisis.”
Once again the border will remain one of the big distraction issues for Republicans until they immediately drop it as soon as the midterm elections are over. Up until then the “border crisis” will be blamed on Joe Biden, of course, even though policy at the border remains largely unchanged since Trump left office.
Gas prices, inflation, supply chain problems and other things that the whole world is enduring will also remain huge anti-Biden Republican talking points. Republicans will continue to gaslight the American people by implying that these problems exist only in America because they are exclusively Joe Biden’s fault, even though they are happening everywhere else and are the consequences of Trump’s disgracefully poor pandemic policies and the disastrous and evil atrocities committed in Ukraine by Trump’s best friend, Vladimir Putin.
If you don’t want a liar like Kevin McCarthy to become Speaker of the House, a man who cravenly joins with other Republican liars to dishonestly invent nonexistent crises so they can blame them on the President, then it’s imperative that you vote in 2022 for the Democratic representative in your district. American democracy may not be able to survive another term of Republican fascism. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.