You don’t need to be perfect to deserve to be an American
I have long suspected, even before he was elected on that fucking awful day last November, that Trump would not follow through with all of his promises. He rhetorically ran to the LEFT of Clinton on issues like healthcare, even though any astute observer knew that this was shameless and obviously a lie. He acted as though he was a great representative of those forgotten and left unemployed by the global economic shifts of the 90’s, of course not highlighting the fact that he was against NAFTA because he thought American workers wages were “too high,” because how could we compete with sweatshop slave labor when we have things like a minimum wage where you have to work 90 hours a week to afford a 1 bedroom apartment in a major metropolitan area?
There was no question in my mind that the worse his poll numbers got, the more he and his nationalistic goons would lean harder and harder into moralistic racial xenophobia. Trump had a TERRIBLE August, between his sinking poll numbers, an inability to reject Neo-Nazis and White Nationalists in Charlottesville, and an ever fracturing Republican leadership measuring the drapes for a Pence presidency. The decision to reverse the Obama administration’s DACA plan is the red meat he needs to throw his base, the 30 percent who would still support him if it was revealed we was a “globalist” lizard person who can only live off of hearts of little beautiful white children (that may increase his support because it shows “strength.”)
However, in the center-left defense of DACA, a trend has emerged. There is a rhetorical tic among liberals that attempts to reason with those who may question the policy on economic based grounds. This rhetoric undermines the vision for a more progressive politics. This tic can also manifests itself as valorizing a particular class of childhood immigrants for their grades in school, or military service, or success in business. It equates success in the hierarchical structures that define our unequal society filled with injustice and exploitation with a moral cause with someone’s right to be an American.
By rhetorically emphasizing a market-based goodness for those protected by DACA, liberals are inadvertently creating a dichotomy of moral means testing that those of us who were born here to American parent, especially white parents, never have to grapple with. For a Dreamer to receive this boon of protection, they must never be free to make a C or B-, or just get a regular old job at Best Buy, or god forbid drink a drink illegally or smoke a joint. They must be PERFECT, and even then, for those soon to be targeted by Trump, they are still not protected.
We need a moral vision that aids those beyond just the cream of the crop. The inequality among peoples globally is astounding, and as power becomes monopolized through a network effect of influence and capital, we must make it clear that all of these Dreamers are Americans, regardless of where you were born. We must reject the urge to equivocate and attempt to justify particular people’s humanity through things like grades or military service. The reactionaries from Romney, who supported the plan currently being enacted in 2012, to Trump who have called for such action cannot be convinced “by their logic.”
We only hobble our clarity of vision of the cause by means testing our immigrant neighbor’s humanity. We cannot fight a broad assault on cultural values like diversity, internationalism, and humanitarianism with targeted messages and hierarchical systems. It was through these easy fixes and selectively focused plans that got us the world we have now. To build power among all people we must not fight for how people contribute to the system we exist in, but rather fight for their existence as people.