Well. It seems that Trump is capitulating on DACA. Because fuck laws and borders and shit. As such, this seems like as good a time as any to wax philosophical on the concept of nationhood and nationality. Given that the term “nationalist” is practically synonymous with “Nazi” in the hallowed pages of dying mainstream media publications, the question of what “makes” one American is of absolute importance.
Regardless of how modern and open-minded one’s political sensibilities, it is undeniable that the most lasting and functional nations fracture along racial, ethnic, and religious lines, with borders that serve to dictate to what extant the homogeneity therein can be usurped with vibrant diversity.
The ethnic, religious, cultural, and racial “sameness” that constitutes nations serve to foment a sense of identity in those that live there. In this regard, there is somewhat of a familial familiarity one may have with their fellow countrymen. Driving through the mountainous back roads of Tennessee on my way back home from Texas, I found not barbarous tribes of a non-distinct language in the diminutive towns, but men and women who could very well be my cousins manning the petrol stations that would take me home.
In the age of globalism and mass immigration, the very concept of a “motherland” is a verifiable thought crime, as I learned on a long drive back from Washington DC with my younger brother and his friend. Without a hint of irony, I was questioned on why, say, the Tennessee mountain people might deserve American tax dollars more than some hypothetical African village full of people I have never met and would not even be able to communicate with should I be graced with their company. My answer, Americans mean more to me personally than foreigners I will never meet, especially when countless Americans are living in abject squalor, was met with contempt. As if I was the raving, racist uncle who pissed on the turkey at Thanksgiving dinner.
Suffice it to say, American liberals do not hold non-whites to the same standards in America or abroad. Nationalism is fine and dandy in Mexico, Kenya, or India, but not America, Europe, or Australia. This is probably due to the conceit that sagely upper-middle class white liberals can eradicate the in-group preferences of other races, just as a lifetime of propaganda has turned “America First” into a hate slogan in our very homeland. Given the failure of American intellectual and military types to foresee the ethnic and religious infighting in the Middle East, which Arabs seem to routinely choose over Jeffersonian Democracy when we overthrow their “tyrannical leaders,” such as in Iraq and Libya, I have little hope that the Utopian future leftists envision will ever come to fruition.
The “American Dream”
If anything was made abundantly clear during the election of 2016, it was that Americans were torn between hampering the swelling tides of globalized multiculturalism that intensified in the Obama years or expediting the process by which white Americans will become a maligned minority in their own homeland. More importantly, however, the debate that raged illustrated two very different versions of the American Dream, as cliched as the term has come to be. That, generally speaking, Trump’s campaign was informed by the wishes of white Americans and Hillary paid homage to the diversity that truly made America great is of no small distinction.
For most white, middle-class Americans, the concept of a house and a family is impractical and ineffably expensive, if not totally absurd. Though only a generation removed from a time in which my father was able to do just that, and raise multiple children on a single 50k salary, now millennials who have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in education find themselves unable to afford much more than a crummy apartment, their dog, and their student loan payments. The jobs that once enabled our parents to give us a good life have moved to Central America, where people will do them for a fraction of the cost. Otherwise, they just move the Mexicans here, to the exact same effect. Wages have stagnated. The dream, seemingly, is dead, at least for white Americans.
On the other hand, Mexico is faring quite well with the new order, as funds sent back to “the home country” from American jobs (ie: remissions) constitute a staggering chunk of the nation’s wealth. Many immigrants, it would seem, are not bothered at all by not having a reasonable place to live. If ten immigrants, illegal or not, can live in the same four bedroom apartment, well, that is more money to send back to their families in Mexico. Until, that is, they can sponsor their kin as new American immigrants. The cycle never ends.
Given the reality of immigrant labor and how it is more beneficial to foreign nations (and people) than to America, perhaps Trump’s America First sentiment actually was, in a sense, implicitly racist, in addition to openly nationalistic. Regardless, has anyone ever witnessed a non-white American espouse a modicum of worry or support for the plight of white Appalachians, who are among the poorest people in our country? Or for the death of the white middle class? Given that Mexican spending and voting habits exhibit an inclination toward ethnic nationalism for their own people (Mexico First, anyone?) it is quite important to note that deplorable white Trump supporters are not the only people who are concerned about the economic future of their people.
These annual “remittances” — as they’re called by analysts — topped $69 billion in 2016, according to central bank data compiled in a new report by the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington, D.C.-based think-tank.
The money has been a lifeline for the national economies of many countries in the region since at least the 1990s, when Manuel Orozco, a political scientist who authored the report, first began tracking remittances.
So what accounts for this surge in cash to Mexico? Orozco explains that a much larger share of Mexicans already in the United States are now wiring money back. In 2010 fewer than half of Mexican migrants sent money home. Today two-thirds do.
Remittances make up nearly 20 percent of GDP for Honduras and El Salvador, for instance. And in the case of Haiti they account for one-fourth.
One does not have to be a doctoral student in economics to grasp the exponential effect that inexpensive Central American labor has on America’s middle class. Companies , when they are legally able to do so, can and do choose to hire foreigners to work jobs instead of hiring American workers.
Instead of feeding that money back into the American economy, however, which would (in theory) create more jobs for Americans, the cash is sent abroad where it will only incentivize other foreigners to move to America and “live the American Dream,” thereby exacerbating the system that is killing American job production. That actual Americans are left out in this globalist version of the American Dream is not to be pointed out. In fact, based on the media’s take on the Trump phenomenon, it would be quite racist to do so.
The media lies surrounding Trump’s rallies served as a stark reminder as to the implicit vote for the future of this country on the part of the cosmopolitan elite.
As such, a reasonable person may ponder at what (if any) point immigration may have been reigned in should the Democrats have won in 2016. If America is viewed by foreigners and liberal white Americans alike as a nation to serve as a springboard for the economic mobility of impoverished people from around the globe, where does that leave those of us with nowhere else to go when the treasure trove is bled dry?
Ironically, the economic inclinations of Latin American immigrants are sold to conservative Americans as the main reason open borders and amnesty just make sense. If you listen really hard in the dead of night, one may even hear a baby boomer crack open a Busch Light and explain how immigrants, not stuffy, entitled American millennials, are going to pay his pension so that he can live comfortably up until his death, leaving nothing behind for his children. Are there actual statistics to quantify this startlingly prevalent narrative? If so, I have never found them.
While it is true that immigrants are more than willing to work in America (for a fraction of the price, mind you), the remittance question is routinely ignored by the intellectual elite. Not to mention the aging generation that stood idly by as the legal and bureaucratic machinations that enable this system to thrive were put into place with bi-partisan ambivalence (outside the extreme fringes of both parties, which, not coincidentally, have since defected to Trumpism). That the 1965 Hart-Seller act was sold, by the government and media alike, as immigration reform that would “not significantly change demographics” is now a laughable piece of antiquated Americana along with WMD’s in Iraq or the ethical imperative to test out our nuclear toy on Japan after they surrendered at the death knell of WWII.
Even the unchecked welfare state, as bad as it may be, does at least come with one advantage over late-stage globalized capitalism; Mexican immigrants can’t send American food stamps back to their families in Chiapas. At least, not yet.
Stay tuned for part 2: “What Makes an American”