Category Archives: politics

Words Matter: Immigrants Are Not “Animals”

Yesterday, during an immigration roundtable at the White House, President Trump referred to certain undocumented immigrants as “animals.” Specifically, he said, “These aren’t people. These are animals.” He said this in reference to specific undocumented immigrants the government is working to expel from the country whom he feels are particularly bad people. He said, “…you wouldn’t believe how bad these people are.”

My problem with Mr. Trump’s rhetoric is that it is another in a growing list of ways he has disparaged immigrants and people of color since announcing his bid for the presidency. By calling a select group of undocumented immigrants “animals” he is acting to further create an us vs. them mentality in the American people toward undocumented immigrants and people of Latin descent. He is fomenting rage toward a class of people who are already having a hard time being seen as whole, worthy, and just people by some Americans.

I suppose one could argue that the President was merely playing to his base, as many who voted to put him in office probably already hold these views toward many undocumented immigrants. But the fact remains, our President’s rhetoric toward immigrants and people of color is bad and is not improving. For me, this comes down to respect. Our President seems to lack a proper amount of respect for many people in the world – be they American citizens of citizens of South American countries, South African countries, or others.

Once again, I am calling upon President Trump to cultivate within himself respect for all people – regardless of race, skin color, sexual orientation, gender, or religion. It is never too late to change. Mr. Trump needs to learn to empathize with people who are different than himself, just as we all need to develop our ability to do this.

Perhaps President Trump is providing us all with a learning opportunity. We all can learn to grow our tolerance, respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness towards all people, especially those who are different from us. In the end we are all human beings. We all have essentially the same needs and desires.

Immigrants to the United States, regardless of legal status, come here seeking what all human beings desire – safety, security, the basic necessities of life, and the opportunity to become their best expressions of themselves. We are all human. We all desire to be loved, accepted, and respected.

Let’s all work to make this a nation and a world we can be proud of. Let’s all strive to treat one another with tolerance, respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness.

It’s About Respect, Mr. President

I’ve spent the past week reflecting upon President Trump’s having referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations at “shithole countries.” This is the latest in a growing history this President has of racist remarks going back notably to when he announced his bid for the presidency and referred to immigrants from Mexico as criminals and “rapists.” I’ll admit that I am often shocked by such statements.

President Trump has repeatedly stated that he is not a racist, even though his own comments and actions seem to contradict him. And here’s the thing about that, I believe the President is sincere in his assertions. I believe that he does not think he is a racist.

I grew up in a mostly-white mostly-middle class rural area of the United States and encountered various people who most people would probably call racists. Yet, to a person, these people did not think of themselves as racists. I believe this is because racism actually exists on a spectrum that includes things that aren’t racism.

I’ll explain. People who hold views the rest of us describe as racist see the world through the spectrum of social hierarchy. I am willing to bet that you could poll people who have racist views about things completely separate from racism and be able to identify those people with racists viewpoints very accurately. Chances are that the people who have racist views also would say that people who drive nice cars rank higher on the social scale than those who drive less-nice cars. Taller people rank higher than shorter people. The physically able rank higher than people with disabilities. The color of a person’s skin is just one factor among many that these people use to rank and categorize others.

Such is the case with President Trump. He doesn’t think he’s a racist, because he judges people based upon the color of their skin no more than he judges them based upon everything else about them. And he judges everyone based upon everything about them.

This brings me to the title of my post: It’s about respect.

We all need to work to view and behave toward one another with an equal amount of respect. The fact of the matter is that human beings are all basically the same. We all desire the same basic necessities of life. Our President doesn’t have a problem with race (or at least not just with race), he has a problem with disrespecting people he sees as beneath himself in the social hierarchy. And as a wealthy white male, he sees just about everyone as being beneath him.

So, Mr. President, I’m calling upon you to respect your fellow human beings. We are all the same. Please work to treat everyone with respect and in time you might find that people will stop accusing you of racism. It’s never too late to change. Together, we can build a better tomorrow.

Respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness: These are the the things the world needs more of.