Although the laws affecting undocumented immigrants in the US today were certainly not put in place by Donald Trump, there seems to be a rising tide of calls for anyone with a shoddy immigration status to be thrown out as a matter of principle, conflating them with those who pose a proven security risk. One does not need to be American in order to have an opinion on how this mass exultation sounds; many gleefully envisage an indiscriminate purge, regardless of personal circumstances.
Civilisation quickly degenerates when people are desensitised to needless brutality – whether it is that of Sharia law, ignored by the left, or that of harmless individuals being snatched from their homes and thrown over the fence overnight (leaving them and their families in shock), ignored – and increasingly applauded- by the right.
While admitting it’s at the discretion of an institution to reach a decision, one can simultaneously admit such an act can be downright grotesque.
With the risk of using leftist rhetoric, one cannot say that the public reaction of indifference or delight is not a clear case of dehumanising the other.
By now, contradicting leftists on everything has become so much of a habit even intellectuals can react in Pavlovian fashion to their every stance, even when their approach, for once, can be given credit as humane and rational.
It’s disheartening to see how skeptical or conservative commentators – who are overall more profound nowadays than those on the left – suddenly lose that analytical quality, invoking bureaucracy as a moral absolute, to downplay the impact of cruel actions. Their habit of craftily bringing nuances to light, of analysing every case in-depth, switches to “oh well, it’s the law”, disregarding the human factor altogether.
The fact that some people living in the West in our current year do not have a visceral reaction to this is not a good omen.
Lines are being blurred here; the many shades of grey are being overlooked.
The recently deported Mexican woman who’d been told for years she would most likely be allowed to stay has become a target of ridicule and incrimination as a pawn in a political match. One has to wonder whether a person with a poor grasp of English would understand all the implications of using false information in order to obtain employment. Leaving aside this ill-advised move, she is no murderer, rapist, thug or drug dealer. Her situation is that of many who sought to escape poverty. A person intending to have an actual life of crime would have demonstrated that in two decades. The amount of bile thrown at this woman, who became the target years of frustration were projected on (frustration she did not personally cause) is quite something.
Moreover, crime includes a bureaucratic and a moral component; however the presence of one does not imply that of the other.
Labelling someone a criminal for immigrating out of desperation, without using violence (as it was used for instance in Calais) is a stretch, though the term technically applies.
One cannot help but notice how easy it is to refer to the law as immutable when on one end of the political spectrum, while ignoring and breaking other laws put in place by an administration of a different persuasion.
Right-wingers have been unfairly demonised as fascists for years; laws have been put in place to limit their freedom of speech and religion. It’s easy to denounce these laws as unjust, which implies that they are not mandated by some heavenly moral authority and can indeed inflict needless damage. People convicted over Facebook and Twitter posts (victimless “crimes”) are technically criminals as well.
Hence, when discussing other people’s suffering as a result of bureaucratic conundrums, ignoring their general situation, right-wingers are not being objective, as they claim, but subjective. They are choosing which laws to hold as moral absolutes and which laws to disregard altogether.
That is not to say that I believe in borderless utopias – however, some clemency is possible and humane on a case by case basis, instead of petty head-hunting and swift expulsions of people who have already built their lives in a country for decades.
Right-wingers often claim to use their brains as opposed to leftists, who tend to use their feelings in any situation.
Perhaps these should not be mutually exclusive, as the future looks bleak if an uncompromising choice has to be made.
Forget politics. We are all human and should try to remain an such.