During times of crisis, history is replete with individuals who rise above peril and heed higher callings. Their actions are the stuff of legend. When new threats surface, heralds always emerge. But with American revolutionist Paul Revere buried in a Boston grave, President Donald Trump has boldly offered to carry the hero’s mantle. What is his proclamation?
The caravan is coming.
That is right. You heard it from our president first. Thousands of Central American migrants are headed to our nation’s border. How does Trump plan on greeting these asylum seekers? Well, with guns, of course.
On Oct. 31, Trump discussed his plans to mobilize our armed forces along the Mexican border. According to the Washington Post, Trump said “As far as the caravan is concerned, our military is out. We have about 5,800. We’ll go up to anywhere between 10,000 and 15,000 military personnel on top of Border Patrol, ICE and everybody else at the border.” Surely, the deployment of such militaristic force is indicative of a national crisis, right?
Consider that a day earlier, on Oct. 30, Trump warned he was pondering the issuance of an executive order that would circumvent the Constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship. This sounds serious. But what does it mean?
The Constitution’s 14th Amendment states that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Although this seems like a straightforward edict, the Trump Administration doubts its veracity.
During a recent interview with Politico, Vice President Mike Pence established the groundwork for a potential legal challenge. “The Supreme Court of the United States has never ruled on whether the language of the 14th Amendment — ‘subject to the jurisdiction thereof’ — applies specifically to people who are in the country illegally.”
But despite Pence’s assertion, skepticism abounds. As reported by CNN, House Speaker Paul Ryan told a Kentucky radio station that “you cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order.” And barring any unexpected interpretations of the Constitution, Ryan is correct. However, this did not stop Trump from voicing his displeasure with the speaker’s comments. In response to Ryan’s words, Trump tweeted that “Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about!”
So what exactly is happening here? Rest assured that we are safe. The existential threat which Trump speaks of is imaginary. Similar caravans have approached our borders before and received little attention. This entire narrative is nothing more than a carefully constructed charade designed to frighten voters and scapegoat Latinos.
But the transparency of this ploy is obvious. And since fear and loathing are tenets of the Trump doctrine, a passage from Hunter S. Thompson’s aptly titled novel “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” is appropriate — “In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.”
As you enter the voting booths today, ponder the weight of these words.