The past, the past, what do we do with it? Push it down and it bobs back up.
I was cleaning my desk at home — a walnut roll-top, cubbyholes and odd drawers and secret compartments, bought when I was 14 with five years worth of paper route savings. It’s big: the entire Oxford English Dictionary fits on top with room to spare. The thing tends to accumulate junk. I was re-arranging piles of files when I came across a cream-colored envelope. Inside, an invitation to my high school commencement.
“Wednesday evening, June fourteenth. Nineteen hundred and seventy-eight…”
Where did that come from? It didn’t sit there, unnoticed, for 40 years? Did it? I hope not.
I tucked the invite away and pushed onward with my clean-up.
Hanging from the bulletin board, a congressional candidate’s flyer. Nothing is more disposable than campaign literature after the election is over, but this, well, I just couldn’t throw away. I took it down to admire anew.
“A SPECIAL MESSAGE TO YOU FROM ARTHUR JONES” it blared. “YOUR CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESSMAN.”
The Nazi, if you recall, or alleged Nazi, if you’re feeling charitable. The guy who throws birthday parties for Hitler.
A flag, of course and a photo of the U.S. Capitol.
“WHERE I STAND:” and a dozen bullet points.
Guess which is first? C’mon, guess!
No, not “Make English the Official Language!” — because nothing imperils the greatness of a country like having more than one language spoken there. That’s fifth. Though I would argue that propping up your native tongue and defending its supposed purity is worse than un-American, it’s French. They’re big on that.
Not “No Amnesty for Illegal Aliens!” That’s fourth. What a handy word, “illegal” — the bigot’s friend, the open gate through which a truckload of fear and hate is driven. The fig leaf hiding — in the mind of the bigot — his obscene shame.
Enough preface. Drumroll, please. Arthur Jones’ Numero Uno — whoops, where are my manners? That’s Spanish. And Italian. No, the Number One reason Jones felt he should be elected:
“Build The Wall!”
Of course it is. Both obvious and demanding explanation.
Why would a Holocaust-denying, immigrant-hating, anti-Semitic wack job like Jones care about building Trump’s Wall? Because he’s concerned with stemming crime and the flow of drugs? That’s what Trump has been tweet-blasting for days.
“With a powerful Wall or Steel Barrier, Crime Rates (and Drugs) will go substantially down all over the U.S.” Trump tweeted Tuesday. “Must finally be done correctly. No Cave!”
Maybe they both care about crime and drugs. Or maybe Trump’s Wall, which has shut down the entire United States government for 33 days — a triumph that a thousand terrorists would be hard-pressed to achieve — is a racist rallying cry. The wall would have no practical value — the overwhelming majority of illegal drugs, as demonstrated at the El Chapo trial in Brooklyn, are not dragged across the desert, but brought in hidden in vehicles, shipped on boats and airplanes. Just as most “illegal immigrants” do not wade the Rio Grande, but come here legally, at first, then overstay their visas.
Nor are they criminals any more than other Americans — in fact, the commit fewer crimes, proportionately. Rather, notorious crimes are used by bigots in an attempt to justify their fear, to themselves if to no one else. I’ve never heard a Build-the-Wall type comment intelligently on this point, because they can’t.
That’s why Democrats object to to Trump’s Wall. It isn’t the money. A $5 billion boondoggle is peanuts for a country like ours. But a $5 billion Wall of Fear is something that no decent, patriotic American can allow. Trump’s own party doesn’t want it — that’s why he didn’t try to fund the wall during the two years Republicans controlled Congress.
Drugs, criminality — these are just the reasons they mouth, as if they cared. Haters love reasons. They always have lots of reason — Jones gives a dozen on the front of his flyer, and on the back, he bemoans the loss of Palestinian land. His heart bleeds for the Palestinians.
I took the Jones’ literature to my office downtown and tacked it over my desk, since I want to remember to call him in advance of Hitler’s birthday this year and invite myself to the party. Because really, how often do you get the chance?