Over at Vox, the media company run by well-meaning hyperpartisan Democrat cheerleader Ezra Klein, they’re running this headline about the government reopening after being closed for just a weekend.
It’s a 13 point list of why Klein thinks the Democrats didn’t lose, but actually probably totally won. Basically, every one of Klein’s points amount to, “Wait and see,” or “It could have been worse.” I don’t buy that line of reasoning one iota. In fact, not only did Chuck Schumer lead the Democrats to unnecessary slaughter, he pissed on a minority group in the process. Call me crazy, but aren’t Democrats supposed to be the champions of all under-represented Americans? And make no mistake — the 800,000 people whose status is in grave danger thanks to Democratic fecklessness and Republican xenophobia are American AF…probably more so than a lot of us are.
The Democrats rolled over. They caved. They gave in. They quit. Ezra Klein can rah-rah for the Dems all he wants, but they fucked this one up, bigly.
Dreamers represent what the United States, hell what the fucking western world is supposed to represent — a chance at something better. That’s why their parents brought them here when they were kids. They were taken her, not so much against their will but without any input by their guardians. Now, they’ve been here just about their whole lives. They are law abiding because in order to get DACA status you have to be. They are productive members of society, because they have to work to survive. And that means they pay taxes. The only thing they don’t get is, well, all the benefits of citizenship like voting and Social Security and Medicare.
But to say they don’t contribute is demonstrably false…and nativist bullshit.
So why? Why the fuck did Schumer and the Corporatist Democrats cave? Why did they turn their backs on Dreamers? The argument seems to largely be centered around the fact that they got CHIP — the Children’ Health Insurance Program — funded for six whole years! Far be it for me to rain the parade of poor kids getting health care, but CHIP is a program funded through actual legislation. That means the feds have to fund it. The fact that Trump and the sociopathic Republicans were using it as a bargaining chip doesn’t mean they would have prevailed in court if sued over their attempts to block funding. Sure, that means time, but you know who doesn’t have the time for their government to turn their backs on them? Dreamers.
I keep coming back to the idea of who Dreamers are, when thinking about just how spineless and cowardly the Democrats acted by and large yesterday. For so long the vast majority of progressives in this country have rightfully pointed out just how cruel and uncaring Republicans have grown toward immigrants in general, but in particular to ones from Hispanic countries. That’s what makes this DACA fight even more absurd, the fact that many Dreamers aren’t even from Latin American or otherwise Hispanic countries. The fight over the immigrants impacted by DACA has itself become infected with xenophobia and racism.
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But when the chance comes for Democrats to prove that the tropes about their willingness to talk tough but never follow through wrong, they instead decided to do exactly that. One day historians and students will look back on what happened yesterday and cluck their tongues and shake their heads, because maybe this isn’t Chuck Schumer’s Neville Chamberlain moment, but it’s sure as hell never going to look right to future generations of Americans who are forced to wrangle with our country’s innate, inbred racism and xenophobia.
Toward the end of his life, Dr. Martin Luther King began to get disillusioned with what he called the “white moderate” and their ability to find ways to talk the talk but not walk the walk. I think it’s fitting that I leave you with a quote of his.
“First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;” who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
Some things are worth fighting and risking re-election for. It’s a pity that Democrats seem to be forgetting that these days.