#AmericaFirst, or #MuslimsNever?

Especially since the industrial revolution era in the United States, some policymakers have made it their duty to “protect the american worker” by keeping non-white, non-native born immigrants out of the country and/or out of employment. Social media, in a certain regard, offers the people of various countries an opportunity to communicate across national and racial lines–but wider access to larger networks has also played a part in bolstering anti-immigrant rhetoric; bridging communication gaps between the anti-immigrant #Leave (#Brexit) and #Merkelschweigt movements of two of our closest European allies, and the #BuildTheWall hysteria of the United States. This has even gone as far as cross-country presidential endorsements

Examples like the Farage-Trump love story shouldn’t be surprising since the common enemy of British and American xenophobia is the global Muslim population. Especially since the attacks of September 11th, 2001, Islamophobic opinion has become increasingly popular, and with it, direct violence and political violence against Muslims (http://www.mrc.org/articles/times-commemorates-9-11-rise-hate-crimes-xenophobia-against-muslims). Similarly, the Syrian refugee crisis has thrown a wrench into the EU’s system (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34131911). A reliance on tourism and a manufactured false perception of refugees as criminals not being monitored (http://time.com/4116619/syrian-refugees-screening-process/) has made Europe a hotbed of anti-immigrant sentiment.

Further, the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo incident (#JeSuisCharlie) and the November Paris attacks fueled the nationalism of Europe coinciding with America’s own–exemplified in outcomes like Austrian far-right nationalist candidate Nobert Hofer’s success in his presidential bid. French policymakers have begun proposing banning facial coverings and overseeing mosques at the same time immigration has gotten hot as a topic here (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/18/world/europe/marine-le-pens-anti-islam-message-gains-influence-in-france.html?_r=0).

Unlike in Europe, however, the American government’s internment of Japanese-Americans by Franklin D. Roosevelt during WWII is the closest they’ve come to full-scale national isolation. However, FDR is not remembered for that as Hitler and Mussolini are in Europe–and thus liberalism in Germany looks much more stern in it defenses.

Unfortunately, the issue is not so close-to-home for many Americans whom, in spite of common generalizations, consider themselves accepting of people from different backgrounds in a significantly more common fashion than their European counterparts.

 

When it comes to the effectiveness of anti-immigrant pundits and publications in the United States, their biggest advantage lies in the fact that statistically, those who care about the issue at hand make up an insignificant demographic of the voting population.

Despite the fact that immigration is generally not a highly concerning topic for most of the American electorate, the issue has played a major role in defining wings of the Republican Party in the United States, especially since the Nixon v Goldwater era (http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/08/immigration-1965-law-donald-trump-gop-214179).

The “compassionate conservatism” of the post-civil rights Nixon GOP has seen its party counterpart grow to scary influence. A divided establishment GOP wing and a polarized electorate paved the way for xenophobia and Trump.

It’s no coincidence that the “alternative right” or “alt-right” fueling Trump’s popularity has become most fired up since the Democratic nomination of the most powerful female politician in American history. The background of their racist ideology relies just as heavily on the patriarchal “white nuclear family” as it does on nativist sentiment.

Misogynistic depictions of Clinton as beastly or unhuman are just one popular tactic employed by the #BuildTheWall demographic. #CrookedHillary has also been popularized by Donald Trump in an attempt to display himself as the “anti-establishment” candidate of the two. A 2016 documentary entitled “Clinton Cash” has aided in the rising of perception of Clinton as “crooked” and susceptible to the influences of moneyed donors.

Among these crooked influences is the Saudi Arabian state, a point often harped on by media critics who seek to tie Clinton’s acceptance of immigration reform to Sharia Law influence and “sanctuary cities”.

Trump’s populist tactics are embodied by how he covers up his statistical underdog status–displaying images of rallies and crowds energized by the firey, divisive speeches he gives without apology. Hillary’s recent patronizing rhetoric toward Trump supporters as “deplorable baskets” seems to have played to the favor of his side, allowing Trump to continue avoiding actually discussing how he plans to deport millions of economic migrants or “register Muslims” trying to enter U.S territory. A tweet featuring the hashtag #DeplorableBaskets and #CrookedHillary made by Trump’s son Eric got 15,000 retweets, and over 23,000 likes.

Alt-right sources have even shared sentiments of the American media’s corruptibility, frustration they think can reach disillusioned progressive #BernieOrBust supporters. Critics from their side conflate the political clout of Hillary Clinton with the favorability believed to be shown toward her by TV news.

However, many of these same critics source their information from heavily biased sources including Radix, some of Breitbart’s publications, Washington Summit Publishers, Counter Currents Publishing, and The Right Stuff.

Although quite a few of these trends don’t pertain to the issue of immigration specifically, they are hard to ignore when being utilized by Trump’s campaign to detract from his popular image as an angry, rich racist. Trump’s vitriolic words for Mexican immigrants, depicting them as amassing mostly murderers, rapists, and “their worst” came with backlash from reporters.

Unfortunately, the popularity of anti-Trump media is weakened by pro-immigrant voter apathy. The sheer quantity of right-wing media focused on the topic of immigration out-markets their counterparts because it is not profitable in ratings to report on immigration policy versus more popular issues in leftist circles. Comments from Trump on registering immigrants based on religious identity (http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2015/nov/24/donald-trumps-comments-database-american-muslims/) and calls to put government surveillance on mosques (http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/15/politics/donald-trump-muslims-mosque-surveillance/) affect his poll numbers far less than they otherwise would because people simply don’t prioritize the immigration issue over their party loyalty or single issue of focus.

For this reason, the voices of politicians speak out far louder in the twitterverse against immigrants seeking a life of prosperity and security than the empirical opinion of the people would otherwise allow for.

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