Let’s do a little math. Let’s take 5000… that’s the high end of the estimated size of the Honduran migrant caravan. Then let’s take 12 million… that’s the low end of the estimated number of illegal immigrants living in the country as of 2014 (although a new study suggests it’s closer to 21 million). Now, let’s do some division. We come up with 2400. If we use the 21 million number, we come up with 4200.
That means that for every one person in the migrant caravan, there are 2400 to 4200 illegal immigrants already in the United States.
Note: again, we are looking at the estimate provided by one of the people representing the caravan, someone with a vested interest in making it seem larger than it is. We are actively working, for the purpose of this example, to make the proportion as small as possible.
So, with the 2400 number, let’s put it into perspective. According to Marketwatch, as recently as the 1990s there were 7,000 items in an average grocery store; it is currently 40,000 to 50,000.
If the United States illegal immigrant population were a supermarket, then, allowing every person in the caravan into the country would be the equivalent of putting three new items onto the shelves of a classic supermarket, or twenty new items onto the shelves of the biggest superstore around.
This is not a national emergency. This is a drop in the bucket. It is, for all of the hyperbolic rhetoric, an attempt at a diversion from the fact that neither Trump nor the Republicans have taken any significant action to reduce the number of illegals who are in the country. Not even stealing children of valid asylum seekers at the border was meant to address that issue, a few months back. It was all about “WALL!” and keeping the rubes watching one hand while ignoring what the other hand was doing.
It’s not the only diversionary tactic. Last night, during his rally speech, President Trump embraced the term “nationalist“. This is being falsely equated to patriotism by his followers and enablers; that is simply not true. Per the Merriam-Webster definition:
1. loyalty and devotion to a nation especially : a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.
Patriotism is supporting your country. Nationalism is subordinating others. Patriotism encourages allies; nationalism encourages bigotry. Not “the soft bigotry of low expectations” but rather the open version which promotes racism and classism. Invoking it is a direct call to racists and cultural elitists, a statement of welcome to David Duke and his brethren that directly rebuffs everyone from Ronald Reagan to Martin Luther King. The term echoes through history as seeking solidarity with dictators, and further consecrates the statement from Trump about falling in love with Kim Jong Un.
This is important. It is how dictatorships start… people embracing nationalism over a sense of community. And, lest anyone tell me that I’m overstating the case, I ask… what “nation” are these new nationalists promoting?
If they are derisive toward a large segment of their nation’s population – in this case, “liberals” – they are not, in fact, supporting the national body. If they are supporting the Constitutional law structure, they cannot support attacks on those very documents; yet they cheer for restrictions on the First Amendment and expect more power to be stripped of bureaucracy to be placed not in the hands of the people but rather consolidated at the top levels of government.
Outside of the body politic and the founding documents, the remaining forms are national borders and a national culture.
The national borders are a valid argument only if they are aggressively condemning Trump and Congress for perceived failures on deportation of illegals; in reality, though, there has been nothing but acceptance of Trump’s continued delays on that front. The national culture is an issue, because as a “melting pot” we lack a standard national culture; to seize upon only one is to embrace the bigotry of the supremacists.
But despite it needing to be addressed, the “nationalism” is still just another diversion. It is attempting to draw attention away from the murder of Khashoggi and Trump’s pathetic capitulation to the Saudis on the issue of the arms deal. It is attempting to draw attention away from the drop in the Dow Jones of 1,409 points in a month, and the fact that the Dow has now given up all gains made since July 25. There are other things – the Mueller convictions, undermining Reagan’s legacy by pulling out of the INF treaty and attacking free trade, the alienation of allies, the rebranding and owning of Obamacare as Trumpcare – but ultimately the idea is to move from the previous outrage to the next, and thereby divert attention from the depths of the prior actions.