Donald Trump continues to surge in the presidential polls based largely on his attacks on undocumented immigrants, women and Mexicans in general.
In fact, thanks to Trump’s campaign kickoff in which he called Mexicans “rapists,” his ridiculous plan to build a giant wall along the Mexican border (and somehow make Mexico pay for it), and his new applause line of repealing the 14th Amendment and its birthright citizenship nonsense, he has made illegal immigration issue numero uno in the Republican contest.
Apart from Planned Parenthood videos and Hillary Clinton’s email server, is there even another issue being discussed? If so, I’ve not heard much about it.
Not only that, but the more extreme the comments that come from Trump, the more it seems his opponents for the Republican nomination think they have to step up the crazy to attract even a little media attention. Gentle, brilliant brain surgeon Ben Carson now says he is open to deploying drones along the border, ostensibly I suppose, to fire missiles at Mexicans trying to make the crossing. Others are picking up on Trump’s 14th Amendment shtick.
Of course none of this is really surprising. We live in insecure times. Stock markets all around are tanking, and with what’s going on in China and Greece, it looks like the world could really be on the verge of some type of huge economic event; we’re dangerously facing off with nuclear powers like Russia and China in Ukraine and off the coast of Asia, and there’s the usual trouble in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, real wages are stagnant and have been for years, income disparity grows ever closer to levels not seen since the robber-baron era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, young adults come out of colleges with no job prospects in debt up to their ears, and so on.
Many people are frightened and looking for someone to blame, be it the government, the politically correct police, President Obama personally or who better than those people who look and speak differently from us? It’s a time-honored tradition throughout history.
The talk is ugly and getting uglier by the day. Last week two brothers in Boston, who claimed to be inspired by Trump’s anti-immigrant message, were arrested after they beat a homeless Hispanic man with a metal pole pretty severely, breaking his nose and battering his chest and arms. I would expect more such incidents to start occurring as this thing drags on for the next year or more and the level of stupid increases.
Fortunately, that’s in Boston. No threat of anything like that happening in Norwalk, or is there?
In Tuesday’s Reflector, we published a letter from Ryan McDonnell, Independent candidate for mayor of Norwalk, in which he blasted his opponent, Mayor Rob Duncan, for his role in trying to keep a local man who entered the country illegally 15 years ago and who has a wife and three birthright citizen children, from being deported to Mexico.
McDonnell calls the man a “criminal” and goes on to blast Duncan for thinking he “doesn’t have to follow the law,” and actually muses about whether Duncan wants to make Norwalk a “sanctuary city like San Francisco.”
What a bunch of baloney.
We’ve had our differences with Mayor Duncan, who routinely appears before crowds and criticizes the Reflector for reporting “negative” news and even goes so far as to accuse us of undermining economic development efforts with our reporting. I’d counter that city officials making state and national news by forwarding racist emails and widely-publicized police reports about city officials’ alleged behaviors or public squabbling between groups who are supposed to be working for common goals are at least as damaging to Norwalk’s reputation, if not more so, as anything the Reflector publishes, but that’s a subject for another day.
The point is that despite our differences with Mayor Duncan on how we do our jobs, there’s no reason to think that his coming to the aid of this poor man and his family who loves and needs him, was anything other than a singular humanitarian gesture and is no less than one would expect from a man who takes his religion seriously, as Duncan surely does.
Decent gestures like that on the part of a politician are too few and far between and should be applauded rather than denigrated. McDonnell’s line of attack is offensive, smacks of desperation, is Trumpishly ridiculous and downright ugly.
It doesn’t take a heckuva lot for politicians to inspire deranged people to do things like beating defenseless people with metal poles because they’re different. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen here.
Andy Prutsok is the Reflector publisher. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].