“Filth” “Other People’s Children” and the Era of Trump
The Southwest Political Report
By: Matt Sedillo
On April 11th 2017 Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke in Nogales Arizona to announce “the Department of Justice’s Renewed Commitment to Criminal Immigration Enforcement.” To those familiar with the legacy of the Barrack Obama Deporter in Chief this announcement of renewed commitment, indicating there had been some lack of political will to “enforce the law,” might seem strange to hear.
In both word and deed Barrack Obama was a disaster for undocumented people living the United States of America. Symbolically and by pure numbers Obama has been the cruelest president in recent decades towards this population. He deported more people than any President in history. His consistent demand that people learn English as a condition of citizenship places him squarely within the English Only Movement whether those bigots would ever recognize him as such or not. Here is a President who once disallowed the parents of a child to enter the White House on the basis of their immigration status. These parents literally had to wait outside the premises while Barrack Obama and Joe Biden took pictures with the child in the Oval Office. Not only was law thoroughly executed but the corollary cultural degradation that goes along with the enforcement of cruel and unjust law was expertly carried out as well. There is no kindness. There is no mercy to look back upon.
The recommitment to law would seem a strange statement indeed if one were to simply measure language against the material world, the course of human affairs and the events that transpire within it. But this is not about the world as it actually is or life as it is actually lived. Jeff Sessions represents political reaction as it actually exists in this country. Jeff Sessions is the leading domestic goon of the Trumpocracy. Jeff Sessions “America’s Top Cop” is the de facto Secretary of White Supremacy.
On April 11th 2017, Sessions speaking in the most Anti-Mexican state in the country delivered a speech attacking the human dignity of the undocumented with a key eye on the demonization of Mexican and Central American peoples. He spoke extensively about the threat of Los Zetas and MS13 posed to society at large. “Depravity and violence are their calling cards, including brutal machete attacks and beheadings” warned Sessions about “criminal aliens, gang members and cartel henchmen” who “turn cities and suburbs into warzones, that rape and kill innocent citizens and who profit by smuggling poison and other human beings across our borders”
Sessions offered no statistics, no timelines, no names no facts. He merely characterized large gangs that are familiar to the public and then launched a five point plan to address his dehumanizing characterizations.
- Further, where an alien has unlawfully entered the country, which is a misdemeanor, that alien will now be charged with a felony if they unlawfully enter or attempt enter a second time and certain aggravating circumstances are present.
- Also, aliens that illegally re-enter the country after prior removal will be referred for felony prosecution — and a priority will be given to such offenses, especially where indicators of gang affiliation, a risk to public safety or criminal history are present.
- Fourth: where possible, prosecutors are directed to charge criminal aliens with document fraud and aggravated identity theft — the latter carrying a two-year mandatory minimum sentence.
- Finally, and perhaps most importantly: I have directed that all 94 U.S. Attorneys Offices make the prosecution of assault on a federal law enforcement officer — that’s all of you — a top priority. If someone dares to assault one of our folks in the line of duty, they will do federal time for it.
None of these solutions have anything to do with drug trafficking or beheading people. Jeff Sessions is a disgusting human being and belongs to a long tradition of Confederates and Crocketts stoking fears, circling wagons and inciting mobs. He demonized an entire community then declared the necessity of a series of oppressive measures that have no relationship to the horror stories he used to justify them.
These attacks have been some of the main threads of the Make America Great Again campaign, which transcends the election of 2016 and is the byproduct of political trends that proceed it by at least three decades. Make America Great Again is not simply another racist episode in the long racist history of history’s most racist settler colony. No, Make America Great represents the politics of resentment expressed by the most privileged section of society undergoing 30 or 40 years deindustrialization. The whole of the working class is experiencing the collapse of Fordism. A section of the working class who are traditionally the first hired and last fired and who are trained from birth to believe that is because they are the most component are terrified, as are we all, to discover that their economic fate, as are all our economic fates, is on the decline.The economic panic and the scramble to blame “an other” for having stolen the future defines this moment.
The shift towards the specific demonization of Central Americans within the United States as carried out originally by Trump, first in his Time man of the year interview, and now by Sessions is also crucial to understand the developing political relationships that Trump is attempting to forge.
Trump himself has spoken about his need to back off the demand that Mexico pay for the wall for the time being as Pena Nieto is “helping” with Central America. Like most Trumpish promises the details are vague. What is less vague is the relationship between the Mexican state and Central American migration.
The crimes of the Mexican state against Central American migrants are horrific and just as with the US, its crimes against migrant peoples predate Trump or the influence of Trump. And just as with the US, the enforcement of brutal law comes accompanied with expression of cultural degradation of Central American peoples which are myriad in Mexico, much of which is replicated here in the United States within communities where both populations reside.
In terms of political theater it will be interesting to see how Trump’s base responds to this shift and Trump’s softening relations with Pena Nieto and by extension the Mexican state and by extension the explicit scapegoating of Mexican peoples given how pivotal “Mexico will pay” has been to the Make America Great Again campaign.
The cathartic release of Mexico Will Pay expressed something that does not concern itself with the geopolitical relationships of various nation states nor the various national chauvinisms that exist within those given nation states. It is a simple and indiscriminate demand that these “brown hordes,” that these “mud people,” pay for their sins against the “white man” “the white family” “the white working class” the “white etc.” It is of course rooted in the history of the US, Mexico and the Southwest in particular but at a certain point it simply takes on a life of its own.
“This is a new era. This is the Trump era.” So declared Jeff Sessions delivering a speech in the state of Arizona. During his Presidential campaign Trump explicitly stated ” I am the law and order candidate” as well as evoking the phrase “the silent majority.” Both are explicit channelings of Richard Nixon. In the American context a law and order presidency means getting certain populations in line. And while there us nothing to look back on with nostalgia within recent years particularly with the previous administration the Trump era is a foreboding time especially for certain populations in this country that have always suffered the brunt of “law and order” Presidencies.
Much was made of Jeff Sessions did he or didn’t he use of the word “filth.” News that the Attorney General had referred to people as filth quickly went viral only for retractions to soon follow. Though released to the public as prepared remarks ultimately Sessions opted to omit the word “filth” in his actual speech. Jeff Sessions is a seasoned political white supremacist. He has been at this for decades and knows how to say things in ways that the white supremacist lite media will deem conservative vs what they will report on as clearly racist. But there are others who are less careful who are also are expressions of the Trump era.
Congressman Steve King for instance recently embroiled himself in controversy by tweeting, “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” He later went on to clarify his comments on CNN stating “You cannot rebuild your civilization with somebody else’s babies.” In subsequent interviews he stated, in response to the comments of Jorge Ramos about the United States becoming a majority minority country in just a few decades, “he’s adding up Hispanics and blacks into what he predicts will be in greater number than whites in America. I will predict that Hispanics and the blacks will be fighting each other before that happens.” It should be noted here that a US congressman is seemingly predicting (and hoping for?) a race war in order to prevent the demographic shift he so thoroughly fears. Consider that. Consider that deeply. In the past King has also compared undocumented people to dogs and claimed they had “calves the size of cantaloupes.” Steve King is a Crockett.
Maine Governor Paul LePage in January of 2016 created a considerable amount of controversy for blaming Maine’s heroin epidemic on drug dealers he claimed to have nicknames like “D Money” and “Smoothie” as well as claiming, “Incidentally, half the time, they impregnate a young white girl before they leave, which is a really sad thing because then we’ve got another issue to deal with down the road. Were going to make them very severe penalties.” In August of 2016 LePage went on to say in regards to the drug trade, “You try to identify the enemy. And the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority right now coming in are people of color or people of Hispanic origin. I can’t help that. I just can’t help it. Those are the facts.” LePage offered no facts, statistics or names to back this up. He merely demonized communities that are always demonized in this country in order to shield away from the realities of a very real Heroin epidemic in the country’s whitest state. A state in which as governor he has presented budgets that would drastically cut funding for methadone clinics vital to recovering addicts. This race bait and switch defines not only the Trump era but much of American history. Paul LePage is a confederate.
A Congressman, a Governor, the Attorney General and the President, each in their way a manifestation of this era of political backlash, of extreme reaction, of fascism Americana. Jeff Sessions is essentially a walking Civil War reenactment, a complete Confederate through and through. His history of prosecution and persecution of black people in the state of Alabama and throughout the country as a whole is a disgrace even by US Senatorial standards. In his political tenure as a civil servant of white supremacy he has also become fluent in the politics of the Alamo. Jeff Sessions is a bigot for all seasons and all regions. He bridges the worst politics of the Deep South and the worst of the Southern Border. He bridges some of the ugliest chapters of this country’s history and many of its most horrific current manifestations. In many ways he is the perfect voice to usher in the Trump era.
Photo Via CNN