Excerpts from Confessions of an Old Man
“America is not just a country, it’s an idea.” Bono
Fearmongering is one of the most potent cards politicians hold in order to get elected, whether there is any substance to the rhetoric or not. American politicians are no different. Some American politicians hold the most powerless people in society responsible for any bad decisions they make, whether it involves the economy or national security. The fear of immigrants has been exploited since the 9/11 tragedy—shattering their belief in the American dream. Instead of uniting the country, some American leaders have been engaged in very divisive and hateful rhetoric, making Americans afraid of one another. Mr. Trump started his announcement to run for the presidency of the United States by stating the following about Mexico:
“They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people”
He continued this divisive rhetoric against women, people with disabilities, the LGBTQ community, Muslims, and other minorities after becoming the president of the United States. However, the reality is that the United States cannot solve its economic problems by demonizing immigrants and minorities because the root cause of the problem lies somewhere else: Congress. However, it is convenient to make immigrants the scapegoats.
The history of using immigrants as scapegoats for America’s economic and social ills goes back to the nineteenth century. In the 1850s, Chinese workers migrated to the United States, first to work in gold mines and then in farms, factories, and the garment industry. They were instrumental in building railroads in the West. As they grew in number and became successful, the resentment among other American workers increased, which finally resulted in the Chinese Exclusion Act. At the time, proponents of the act argued that admitting the Chinese into the United States lowered the cultural and moral standards of American society. Others expressed concern about the integrity of American racial composition. The law was finally repealed in 1943…More