Wed 2024-Mar-06

Xenophobia Agonistes: Fascism & Immigration at Peak Absurdity

Tagged: Politics / Sadness / SomebodyAskedMe

Sometimes you think the fascists, confederates, and Republicans just can’t get any worse, or any more clueless. Then you wake up.

Q: Do the Republican Racists and Xenophobes Struggle With What They’re Saying?

In 1671, English poet John Milton published Samson Agonistes, a poem about Samson whose title translates to something like “Samson the Champion”, or “Samson the One who Struggles”. The suffix “Agonistes” has been used, for a good long while since, for characters who struggle.

  • TS Eliot’s unfinished Sweeney Agonistes is one example.
  • Another less serious example is, back in the day, there was an undergrad writing for the MIT student newspaper, The Tech, named Simson Garfinkel. He was occasionally referred to as “Simson Agonistes”. I enjoyed his writing then, and apparently he’s gone on to have quite a distinguished career. (And yes, at least some MIT students are quite literate, and will get the “Agonistes” joke.)

So, in the spirit of the political struggle of the time: how hard are our right-wing fascists struggling with their xenophobia about immigration?

A: Yes, They Struggle – But They Lose the Fight vs Reality

The answer appears to be that (a) they struggle mightily, but (b) they always lose the battle with reality. That is, the racism is so outlandish that it would be hilarious if it were fictional. As actual news, it leaves somewhat to be desired.

Somebody asked me about a news report from 2018. Initially, I was suspicious that a news report from 6 years ago, when Trump was still president, could have much relevance. But… it’s a doozy.

Giles & Pineda @ AZ Cap Times: Trump demonstrators harass dark-skinned legislators and staff Brigham @ RawStory: Trump supporters tell Navajo lawmaker to get out of the country Thomsen @ The Hill: Trump supporters harass AZ lawmakers by race Palma @ Snopes: Yes, AZ Trumpers harassed a Navajo legislator as an illegal alien It seems that on 2018-Jan-25, Trump knuckleheads were demonstrating against immigration. They didn’t have too fine a grasp of “legal” vs “illegal” immigration, since apparently anyone with brown skin was to them a potential illegal. They were also armed.

Now, an armed, angry mob of white people actively intimidating others about “supporting illegal immigration” and harassing anyone with brown skin to “get out of the country” is worth noting as the racist incitement to violence that it is. And, for that matter, prosecuting it, but we live in debased times where that is apparently beyond us.

What makes it even more interesting is that they were doing it at the Arizona state capitol building, and the people targeted were legislative staff and legislators. For example, they pointed at one woman of US citizenship and Hispanic descent, yelling “Get out, go back home!” They pointed at her white colleague and said, “No, you can stay.”

This was first reported in the Arizona Capitol Times [1], but then picked up nationally by Raw Story [2] and The Hill. [3] It’s such a bizarre story that inevitably Snopes weighed in [4] to fact-check it, and gave it a “TRUE” rating. At that point, with 3 news sources and Snopes backing the fact-check, it’s a pretty solid story. Not only that, there’s video.

AZ state rep Eric Descheenie What makes it just about the perfect example of finely-tuned, weapons-grade stupidity is when the Trumpists did this to Representative Eric Descheenie. He’s the handsome, if somewhat aggravated-looking, gentleman with the tasteful turquoise earpiece shown here. His aggravation is well-earned:

  • First, an angry armed mob of white people attempting to intimidate a legislator should be a major crime. This is especially true when armed intimidation is done for political purposes, as the pro-Trump demonstration clearly was.
  • Second, Descheenie is Navajo. His immediate family has been there for many centuries. If one looks somewhat more broadly at the other Native American people were ancestral to the Navajo Nation, one can easily argue that his people have been in the Americas for 18,000 to 26,000 years based on hard scientific evidence from archaeological, anthropological, and genetic sources.

You do not get to ask Native Americans if they’re here “legally”. Their claims to being here “legally” are almost certainly superior to your own.

The Weekend Conclusion

This is xenophobia, racism, and lethally concentrated stupidity. That’s what evil really is: a refusal to see the good in the world, but instead just to be, quite literally, hell-bent on destruction.

(Ceterum censeo, Trump incarcerandam esse.)

Notes & References

1: B Giles & P Pineda, “Legislative staffers say pro-Trump supporters called them ‘illegal’ for being dark-skinned”, Arizona Capitol Times, 2018-Jan-26.

2: B Brigham, “‘Get out of the country!’: Navajo lawmaker harassed by Arizona Trump supporters accusing him of being here ‘illegally’”, Raw Story, 2018-Jan-27.

3: J Thomsen, “Arizona state lawmakers claim Trump supporters questioned them on their appearance”, The Hill, 2018-Jan-28.

4: B Palma, “Did Armed Trump Supporters Ask a Navajo Legislator If He’s ‘Legal’?”, Snopes, 2018-Feb-02.

Published Wed 2024-Mar-06

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