Tonight our President, Donald Trump addressed congress for the first time. It was a speech that at times seemed a bit like a normal drivel political speech. At other times, it was a fun exercise in hypocrisy and nonsense. Here are a couple of those times.
He talked about promoting clean air and water…
While his administration is literally trying to kill the EPA and any hope of clean air and water that we’ll have for a very long time. Politico has this one wrapped up pretty nice.
In essence, mere hours before saying that he wanted clean air and water in his speech, Donald Trump signed an executive order killing one of Obama’s rules that protected wetlands, streams, and rivers. The murmurs are all there that the EPA is about to be hit by massive budget cuts and a 25% reduction in workforce. For a group that is already understaffed and shorthanded, like most of the safety geared government jobs, that reduction will kill any ability to enforce most of what is actually there.
Maybe there’s a chance that big businesses will err on the side of a long game. Maybe they’ll police themselves. Maybe they won’t pour out chemicals everywhere and spread cancer like some kind of twisted Johnny Appleseed of death.
Brace yourselves, Erin Brokovich is about to get so many sequels that the franchise will rival James Bond.
One has to wonder why he even put it in the speech in the first place, if not to thumb his nose at anyone who doesn’t want to die of drinking poison?
At least Big Energy company profits will go up!
He took significant time to highlight immigrant crime.
The first part was something we’re used to from the GOP, just a loving spoonful of hypocrisy to wag our fingers at, nothing major. This part speaks to something much more serious, even though it wasn’t a surprise that he did it. Donald Trump took time out of his speech to capitalize on the memory bias that will lead us to believe that an event is more common than it is if we hear about it more often, to wit, he took time out to highlight immigrant crime.
Hitler comparisons are trite and diminish the crimes that Hitler and the Reich committed, however, when the tactic matches almost exactly with a Reich tactic, the comparison is fair to make. The Nazis published crimes committed by Jewish people in their campaign to scapegoat, dehumanize, and otherize them. You can’t kill millions of people, after all. First, you have to convince everyone that they are somehow less than people.
I should clarify that I don’t think the Trump plan is to execute people by the millions, but I do think the goal is to otherize and dehumanize immigrant groups as they scapegoat them for any problem a GOP voter might be having right about now. Don’t worry, the message goes, we’ll save you all from the brown people.
Never mind how stupid they sound when you look back far enough and Italians or Irish were given the same treatment that Muslims and Mexicans are getting now. The first thing an immigrant group does after gaining some footing in the country’s in group is to try to bar the door behind them.
You could pick any group you wanted and create a public and violent urge against them by doing such a thing. You could publish crimes by left-handed people and whip up a frenzy if you so desired. Sooner or later, anyone caught writing with their left hand would be harassed and possibly attacked.
I’ll pause here to point out that it is demonstrably true that immigrants cause less crime than the population at large. The New York Times just did a nice write-up on that fact.
This is the point where Trump’s ignorance and malice intersect. His goal of massive deportations is already approved by his base. The rhetoric and public image that is presented by continually harping on a false idea that undocumented residents drive violent crime (which is at massively historic lows), will lead to violence. Trump may not desire to have people in the streets attacking immigrants, but there are plenty of ignorant people out there who will fall for it, and plenty of those people are malicious enough to carry out attacks over this idea.
It’s dangerous to whip the mob into a frenzy. When the mob goes into a frenzy, they usually aren’t satisfied until they’ve tasted blood. The question comes to mind, what will happen when citizens of the United States who happen to have an accent start getting attacked in the streets? If it’s in a bar and they’re having a drink, the answer is that the White House will say as little as possible about it.