‘As a follower of Jesus I cannot stand for this’: Immigration, the Anthem, and Del Gray’s ’95 Theses’

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Dear Rebecca:

I came to the Mennonites through the Mennonite Brethren, and specifically through my alma mater, Tabor College, an MB school in my hometown of Hillsboro, Kansas. The MB church shares a lot of history with the folks who make up Mennonite Church USA, but the MB denomination is more evangelical and, in my experience, more reliably culturally conservative than its cousin.

This leads to occasional tension between the “Mennonite” side and “culturally conservative” side of the church, one that plays out often within the college. Whereas Mennonite colleges wrestle with whether to play the national anthem at all before sporting events, that was never a question at Tabor. Instead, I’m told the current controversy is over whether student-athletes should be required to stand for the anthem.

In response to the controversy — and to the recent observations of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the Wittenberg Door — Del Gray, a Bible professor at Tabor, put up his own “95 Theses” on Tabor’s “Wittenberg Door,” a place where students and faculty can post IRL comments on issues of concern. A friend sent Del’s document to me; he has granted me permission to reprint here.

I wanted to do so, because I think the following document is a powerful statement on one of our core themes here: Do Christians — especially Mennonite Christians — owe their allegiance more to earthly tribalism like country? Or does God come first, in such a way that makes country tribalism much more difficult? Some of what follows, I think, will seem very strange to our non-Mennonite readers — Del won’t even say “The Pledge of Allegiance” — but isn’t so unusual in a church with such a longstanding history of pacifism. There are some Tabor-specific inside jokes, but I think this piece stands on its own anyway. It is tough. It should be.

With respect,

Joel

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I Protest

Preamble

Exactly 500 hundred years ago on October 31st 1517, Martin Luther posted 95 Theses on the Wittenberg door in protest of abuses that he perceived in the dominant church of his culture.  Some historians say there might be a bit of legend in this account, but let’s not allow that to ruin a good story.  This act of protest led to an entire new branch of the church in western society.  The majority of us at Tabor College (except our beloved Catholic and Orthodox brothers and sisters) historically trace our denominational identity back to Luther’s bold act of courage and conscience that opened the door to a variety of other protest movements, including Mennonites, Baptists, Lutherans (duh), Methodists and basically all other American church denominations.  This protest was so successful that it has lasted 500 years and hundreds of millions of people today still identify themselves with a name that pays homage to Luther – Protestants, those who protest.

On this anniversary week of Luther’s protest, I offer my own protest against the heartbreaking movement of the dominant church in America away from the teachings of Jesus.  I have written this in a way that attempts to honor Luther’s own 95 Theses.

95(ish) Theses

Introduction

“Out of love for the truth and from desire to elucidate it, the Reverend … (insert other titles here if you want to) Del Gray, and very ordinary lecturer therein at Tabor College, intends to defend the following statements and is willing to discuss on them in that place. Therefore he asks that those who cannot be present and discuss with him orally shall do so in their absence by letter (writing is a much better way of making and evaluating careful arguments anyway).

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.”

1. The evangelical church has lost its soul, trading the teachings of Jesus for politics.  As a follower of Jesus I cannot stand for this.

2.  The evangelical church has become the latest in a long history of churches that have sought to transform their culture but ended up being transformed by it.  Instead of the world looking like the church the result has become the church looking like the world.

3. I protest that the evangelical church has come to equate conservative politics with Christianity.

4. It is not wrong for Christians to come to conservative political conclusions on issues, but it is a betrayal of conscience and of Jesus when we do so on an issue by ignoring the teachings of the Bible.

5. I protest when Christians make theological or ethical decisions based purely on aligning with the “right” political party.  Christians often say Jesus would not fit neatly into either party, but then that is exactly what we do.

6. I protest where the church has blatantly disregarded Jesus in favor of politics in the following issues:

 

Immigration The death penalty

Racism and Nationalism.

As a follower of Jesus I cannot stand for this.

Immigration

7. I protest both the active agreement and passive complicity of the evangelical church in disregarding the Bible’s teachings about how God’s people should welcome immigrants.  As citizens of a country there are complicated social issues involved, but the nation is not our highest priority.  As Christians our first allegiance is to the undeniable call in the Bible to welcome foreigners, refugees, and outsiders, even when they are undocumented and studying in our schools, as an act of loving our neighbor.  When Christians forget that they have a higher calling than doing what is best for the nation, we flirt with idolatry. As a follower of Jesus I cannot stand for this.

Death Penalty

8. I protest as forcefully as I can the evangelical church’s support of state-sponsored execution by the death penalty .  When Jesus said “love your enemies” I am absolutely, positively, certain that he did NOT mean to kill them.  As Christians we witness to a higher way of valuing all life, even when the consensus of our nation or our political party holds that killing is the right thing to do.  As a follower of Jesus I cannot stand for this.

9. As a Christian I am pro-life, but Jesus’ version of pro-life does mean the same thing as the political platform.  Pro-life means ALL life; unborn and born, innocent and guilty, citizen and immigrant, rich and poor.  The Bible clearly and repeatedly affirms that all life is valuable to God and equal in Christ.  This means that we don’t kill criminals, we don’t kill babies, and that black lives DO matter.

Racism

10. Racism has been called America’s original sin.  Racism is a founding attitude in which our nation has been rooted and grew.  I protest in the strongest language possible the so-called Christians who affirm one race as superior to another and I protest the complicity of the evangelical church that denies racism and looks the other way because it is someone else’s problem.

11. I protest and condemn white supremacist groups that are marching in our city streets with guns and torches, yelling hate speech and threats against people of color, ordering them to leave or be killed.  Failing to condemn this because of political ambitions is a lack integrity that puts the kingdom of the world above the kingdom of God.  As a follower of Jesus I cannot stand for this.

12. In the name of Jesus I protest anyone who claims to be a Christian and instead of condemning them calls these groups “very fine people.”  I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING AGAIN.  This is not 1962, this is 2017.  The church needs to wake up and speak out against this and witness to the truth we know in the Bible, even if it goes against the mainstream of our political party.

13. I protest that the evangelical church compromises its moral witness in the world when it uses theological and biblical justification for giving 81% of its support to a politician who blatantly disregards the teachings of Jesus with vulgar, hateful, demeaning speech targeted towards people of color, the marginalized, and oppressed. As a follower of Jesus I cannot stand for this.

14. I propose that Colin Kaepernick is the contemporary voice of Martin Luther inasmuch as he has courageously and publicly protested abuses that are rampant in the dominant church in our society today.  This makes him one of my great heroes of the last few years.  I join him in this protest because as a follower of Jesus I cannot stand for racism.

Nationalism

15. I protest when Christians equate their nation with Christianity.  God and country are two very very different things and should never be confused.

16. Because the evangelical church has now identified itself almost exclusively with a political agenda, I can no longer use that label for myself.  This is painful for me because I was raised and educated in a strong evangelical tradition of which I once was proud but now am ashamed.

17. Because the evangelical church has now identified itself almost exclusively with a political agenda, the Mennonite Brethren should have a nationwide conversation to reconsider whether we want to call ourselves “Anabaptist-Evangelicals.”

18. The flag and the national anthem are NOT sacred, but are symbols of an earthly kingdom to which I owe no allegiance.  Treating the flag or anthem as sacred cheapens that which is truly sacred and is tantamount to idolatry.

19. God is our highest loyalty and as followers of Jesus we can have no allegiance to any other master.  Our citizenship is in heaven, as members of the kingdom of God not the kingdoms of this world.  My loyalty to God’s kingdom is absolute, even if that means disloyalty to my nation.  No one can serve two masters, so I choose to serve God alone.

20. Therefore I cannot and will not say the pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States of America since it would be dishonest to say it knowing that I would break my oath as soon as my duty to nation comes in conflict with my ultimate allegiance to a different kingdom.

21. I have respect for some of the values and ideals of some nations, and I have no respect for other values and ideals of some nations.  As a follower of Jesus I evaluate these according to how well they agree with God’s values.  I give respect where it is due and do not feel compelled to show respect for ideas that run counter to Jesus’ teachings.  The Bible likewise models both of these attitudes toward the state when it urges respect some times and other times refers to the state as a dragon and beast that acts on behalf of Satan. I protest when the evangelical church insists that we uncritically respect all elements and symbols of our nation.

22. America is a great country (after having lived in many other countries I say this with some measure of expertise), and I respect many things about it.  But it is also a deeply flawed and broken nation that regularly pressures me to participate in a system that looks nothing like the kingdom of God.  When Christians begin to celebrate not just what is good but also what is broken and wrong in this nation because their ethical filter has become politics instead of Christ, I refuse to participate. Warriors who killed people as a result of their racist values should not be celebrated and honored as heroes.  As a follower of Jesus I cannot stand for this.

23. Because the kingdom of God is upside down from the kingdoms of this world there should always be a counter cultural identity to the church that continually protests against the world.

93. (OK, I skipped some numbers but it had to add up to 95 at the end) When athletes respectfully kneel in peaceful protest of unbiblical racism during the national anthem, they are witnessing to God’s values on this issue.

94. Because kneeling is an inherently peaceful and respectful symbol and protesting racism is an inherently just message, it is dishonest when leaders of the evangelical church and our nation label these athletes “disrespectful” in an effort to discredit them and deflect attention away from the real issues of racism.

95. For these reasons I no longer stand for the national anthem.

(With inspiration from Martin Luther King and apologies to Martin Luther)

I join Colin Kaepernick and many other people of faith who witness to Jesus’ call on our lives on these issues.

“Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the evangelical church or in their populist leaders, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience.”

As a follower of Jesus I cannot stand for racism, therefore …

Here I kneel, I can do no other.

In Christ,

Del Gray

The destructiveness of Trumpian immigration enforcement

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Dear Rebecca:

I’m so glad that Kishwer Vikaas shared her experience with us of being a DACA attorney and how that effort is rooted in her faith. I’ve got some additional immigration thoughts today, myself.

The folks at Splinter did an open-records request of President Trump’s Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) hotline and found some ugly stuff: “Internal logs of calls to VOICE obtained by Splinter show that hundreds of Americans seized on the hotline to lodge secret accusations against acquaintances, neighbors, or even their own family members, often to advance petty personal grievances.”

Here are the kind of reports VOICE is getting:

Caller requested to report her mother-in law and sister-in law. Caller stated these individuals came to the U.S. as tourists and stayed in the U.S. in order to get legal status.

Caller stated the undocumented individual is destroying her family and is committing adultery.

Caller requested to report his ex wife that is undocumented as an overstayed on her visa.

Caller requested to report the illegal alien because the illegal alien will not let her see [her] granddaughter.

It gets worse. Splinter reports “there are also multiple calls from people hoping to turn ICE enforcement against the people who have accused them of domestic violence.” It would appear the hotline, then, is being used by abusers to rid themselves of battered women who stood up for themselves.

A few months ago, I asked if some kinds of immigration enforcement were more criminal, in a sense, than illegal immigration itself. “A key feature of any crime worthy of the name, it seems to me, is that the act of committing it is clearly and negatively disruptive, either to an individual life — a person may be injured, killed, deprived of property or merely their sense of well-being — or to the community at large.”

Governance under Donald Trump is more destructive than the ills it tries to solve. Not a surprise, but breathtaking to see it in action.

In anger,
Joel

DACA, Jesus, and family: A letter

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A DACA demonstration, by Bread for the World.

Dear Family,

Greetings to my dear ones across the world. Some of you are in Pakistan. Some in Canada. Many of you are scattered across the United States—Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, Michigan, Kansas, California, etc. I am writing to all of you to tell you a little about myself. I know we see each other at weddings or funerals every few years. We hug and we take photos for Facebook (so we can show off our saris). But I am starting to realize we do not really know each other.

Let me explain.

As you know, I am an immigration attorney. But the work I do is public interest law — I serve low-income families, the vulnerable. Part of the reason I do this work is because of the religious tradition I inherited from you. I am proud to be descended from generations of Pakistani Christians who took me to church every Sunday and made me memorize chapters and chapters of the Bible. It shaped who I am. My values.

You taught me how to love. Empathize. How to be kind. Serve others. And now here I am, working with undocumented immigrants during a time when they are being vilified by our own president.

Soon, the government will stop accepting renewal applications for DACA aka Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA helped almost 800,000 young men and women who came here as children get protection from deportation. DACA helped them to work legally and achieve their dreams of going to college, owing a home, starting a family.

Fam, I wish you could come and follow me around for a day. For the last few weeks, young people have sat across from me and cried as they talk about the fear they feel. They’ve shown me their grades, pictures of their toddlers and talked about graduate schools plans they are afraid to pursue. And now they’re left waiting. Wondering. Afraid.

When I see them, I see my parents, uncles and aunts when they immigrated to the States. I see you.

This is wrong. This isn’t the Christianity you taught me. You taught me Christianity is beyond all borders and nations. You taught me “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” You taught me to treat everyone like an angel. You would say, “What would Jesus do?” You made me sing, “Jesus loves the little children/All the children of the world.” Does he though? Do you?

Do you know anyone with DACA? Odds are you do. You just don’t know you do. I am very thankful to know people like my former coworker and friend Rossmeri Ramirez. She has DACA and is speaking out about it. But we need others to speak out and support immigrants. We need you. I need you.

Family, we are scattered across the globe. We are the same. We eat the same food, flavor our basmati rice with the same mango pickle. We like the same clothes, we wear the same gold jewelry. We go to the same churches. But politically, we are very, very different.

Can you tell I am angry? I apologize. But I am angry. You shaped me into the person I am. You are proud of me. You believe in service and missions. And yet your politics is hurting the very people I am working to protect. This isn’t the Christianity I want to know. Can you explain it to me?

Yours,
Kishwer

Kishwer Vikaas is an immigration attorney living in Sacramento, California. She grew up attending Mennonite church and school in Lancaster County, Philadelphia and South Jersey. She used to write about South Asian pop culture for Sepia Mutiny, MTVDesi, The Aerogram, etc. but has since retired. You can find her on Twitter @phillygrrl.

What are we willing to trade for DACA?

Dear Rebecca:

I take it as a given that — following Donald Trump’s DACA announcement — we’d both like to see Congress pass a law giving the so-called “Dreamers” a chance to stay in the U.S. legally and even create a pathway to citizenship for them.

So. What are we willing to give up?

Republicans control Congress, after all. Not all Republicans are immigration hardliners — lots, with the business community, love them all the cheap labor that immigration, legal and otherwise provides. But it remains the case that a unified GOP is probably going to want to pass a bill that lets them tell their constituents: “See! We made the country safer!” Just giving the Dreamers a legal pathway to stay isn’t going to get the job done. Giving the GOP a win might.

So I say: Give them the wall.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Trump’s wall is stupid. Probably ineffective. Mexico certainly won’t pay for it. And it goes against everything we’ve been taught about our country being a hope for people around the world who needs hope.

I also think most Republicans recognize that failing to come up with a solution on DACA will be a disaster — condemning people who are here to a lawless grey zone, at best, or requiring their deportation to “home” countries they don’t know at worst. That’s why President Trump, for all his anti-immigrant bravado, punted the issue back to Congress.

Still, I don’t trust the GOP simply to do the right thing. Do you?

So. A compromise of sorts will be probably needed. One that lets them look tough on immigration. Maybe it’s increased funding for ICE, or reduced numbers of legal immigrants. Of all the options on the table, building a wall seems like it might be the least bad.

There’s going to be a temptation among Democrats to hold out. And certainly, nothing should be conceded before both sides get to the negotiating table. There’s also no reason to give away the store. But if we truly believe that anything but legal status for the Dreamers amounts to a disaster — and I do — then we probably have to be willing to compromise, to not let perfect be the enemy of accomplishing something good. That means we’ll have to give up something we’d rather not give up. In politics, this is how it often works.

So. What are we willing to give up? There are real lives depending on the answer.

Sincerely, Joel
 

 

Restricting Immigration: The Not-So-Secret Political Reason Republicans Want a Wall

Rebecca:

We’ve talked a few times about the problems with Trump Era immigration policy. I’d like to talk just briefly about the political problems — wholly intended — of that policy.

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From an anti-immigration protest in Rockville, MD. Yikes.

Bottom line: Republicans intend that restrictive immigration policies will result in fewer Democratic voters.

No really. It’s right there in “The Flight 93 Election,” the ur-text of Intellectual Trumpism. I’ve quoted some of the following few sentences over and over, because I’ve found something new to think about — and object to — every time. I’m not sure this passage is key to understanding Trumpism as a project, but it probably comes as close as any.

In it, the author — then writing under a pseudonym, now known to be Michael Anton, a Trump advisor — complains that the deck is stacked against Constitution-loving limited government Republicans. One of the reasons, naturally: Immigrants.

It needs to be quoted at length:

The ceaseless importation of Third World foreigners with no tradition of, taste for, or experience in liberty means that the electorate grows more left, more Democratic, less Republican, less republican, and less traditionally American with every cycle. As does, of course, the U.S. population, which only serves to reinforce the two other causes outlined above. This is the core reason why the Left, the Democrats, and the bipartisan junta (categories distinct but very much overlapping) think they are on the cusp of a permanent victory that will forever obviate the need to pretend to respect democratic and constitutional niceties. Because they are.

It’s also why they treat open borders as the “absolute value,” the one “principle” that—when their “principles” collide—they prioritize above all the others. If that fact is insufficiently clear, consider this. Trump is the most liberal Republican nominee since Thomas Dewey. He departs from conservative orthodoxy in so many ways that National Review still hasn’t stopped counting. But let’s stick to just the core issues animating his campaign. On trade, globalization, and war, Trump is to the left (conventionally understood) not only of his own party, but of his Democratic opponent. And yet the Left and the junta are at one with the house-broken conservatives in their determination—desperation—not merely to defeat Trump but to destroy him. What gives?

Oh, right—there’s that other issue. The sacredness of mass immigration is the mystic chord that unites America’s ruling and intellectual classes. Their reasons vary somewhat. The Left and the Democrats seek ringers to form a permanent electoral majority.

Some of this is misleading. If Donald Trump is so leftist — and this is written during the election — why is Michael Anton, longtime conservative Republican man about town, advocating for him?

Put aside that bit of disingenuousness, though, and the thought process is clear:

  1. Immigrants vote for Democrats.
  2. If enough immigrants vote for Democrats, Republicans won’t have a chance to win elections.
  3. So, it’s time to restrict immigration.

There’s plenty that’s offensive here — the idea that voting Democratic makes you opposed to liberty, or that brown people somehow are predisposed against liberty, and I dislike ideas that describe ideology as a near-inborn fact of demographics — but Anton isn’t alone in thinking that immigration will help Democrats. Here’s Ian Smith writing in National Review in 2015:

The Census Bureau includes aliens (both legal and illegal) in the statistics used to apportion our 435 congressional districts. This has the perverse effect of helping states with bigger immigrant populations to inflate both their representation in Congress and the number of Electoral College votes they are allotted (the latter is a function of the former). Just through their illegal-alien numbers, the states of New York, New Jersey, California, Florida, and Illinois, which all went for Obama in 2012, received eight additional congressional seats in the last reapportionment, with over half of those gains coming from their sanctuary cities and counties. It’s clear, then, why Democrats resist enforcing our immigration laws: More bodies mean more power.

Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies told me the same thing in an interview I did with him before the election last year: “”The broader issue is that mass immigration is a boon for Democratic candidates. It moves politics to the left, always, not just here but in Western democracies.”

There’s some good thinking to be done about why that’s the case, but let’s focus on the politics of this: Simply put, the anti-immigration movement is an anti-Democratic movement. And an anti-democratic movement; Republicans must restrict voting to white people as much as possible to hang on to power.

And if Dems favor immigration because it empowers them — I have no doubt there are more than a few — it means that Republicans dislike it because it disempowers them. When they talk about immigrants coming to take good jobs away from good Americans, they’re talking about jobs in Congress, and in the legislatures, and on county commissions, and so forth.

This, of course, continues a grand tradition: Republicans believe that disenfranchising brown people is their best path to electoral success. On one level, you can’t blame them. On the other hand, one shouldn’t mistake Republican nativism for populism. It’s not about helping poor people fed for themselves. It’s about holding and keeping power.

Twas ever thus, right?

— Joel

Why Should Mexico Pay for Trump’s Wall?

Hi Rebecca:

Looks like we’re on the verge of an extraordinary moment: The Republicans control the White House and both branches of government, yet the government might still shut down this weekend.

Why? Because President Trump doesn’t want to sign a spending bill that doesn’t include funding for his “big beautiful wall” on the border with Mexico. And it doesn’t look like such a bill can pass Congress at the moment. Thus: A standoff.

Some folks have pointed out Trump’s request for funding means he’s violating his campaign pledge to make Mexico pay for the wall. (Trump and his allies say those payments will come, eventually, just you wait.) And that’s fine. But nobody seems to have asked a basic question: Why should Mexico pay for Trump’s wall?

This isn’t the same as asking if Mexico will pay for the wall, which is a dubious premise on its own. No, the question is why they should.

Say you and I live next door to each other. I put up a fence to keep our properties separate. Would there be any world we can dream of in which I’d legitimately expect you to pay for my decision to defend my property?

No?

I’ve asked this question a few times and never received a satisfactory answer. Best I can tell, there’s some alpha maleism going on here — a sort of “Why are you hitting yourself! Stop hitting yourself!” of international relations. There’s no reason for Mexico to pay for the wall … except as a show of submission to the U.S.

And submission is what President Trump seeks, it seems to me.

Makes sense. The building of a wall is an act of fear. A ridiculous one, when you think about it. The same people who want the wall are often the ones who go on and on about the superiority of American culture. Yet this supposedly superior culture is threatened by the presence of people speaking Spanish in public places.

When bullies act out of fear, they often do it by acting extra alpha-maley — in essence, like bigger bullies.

Maybe there’s some other, good explanation. But as it stands, making Mexico pay for a while just a way of making sure that people know that we might be afraid of the outside world, but America still commands hegemonic power.

Yours in tough guyness,

Joel

We’ve Been on the Verge of “the Trump Era” since 1848

Joel:

“Be forewarned. This is a new era. This is the Trump era.”

Those were the words from Jeff Sessions’ recent speech to the border patrol–beyond the dehumanizing language, the fear-mongering, the disregard for facts, the insult to history–that scared me. They were meant to scare lots of us–everyone who doesn’t fit into Trump’s narrow definition of the people he is supposed to be serving (though it’s clear that he doesn’t understand that the president serves, not rules).

Like so many of the words uttered by this administration, Sessions’ warning was also a call to arms. Though his approval rating is at record-settingly low for a modern president, Trump has fans who have been yearning to hear these words.

For others of us, the shock of the election has worn off, but we’re still in some other stage of grief–denial, anger, bargaining, depression–and have to figure out what will have to accept. It’s not the legitimacy of a Trump Presidency. Whether concerns about Russian interference are merited, we know that voter suppression and an electoral system that weights rural whites disproportionately were the real winners. But we have to accept that more than sixty million of our fellow Americans–most white people, most men, most wealthier people–voted for a person that most voters voted against. Not all sixty million of them were enthusiastic about voting for Trump, but many of them were excited about his racism, xenophobia and nativism, and Islamaphobia. Consistent with findings from the primaries, those more enthusiastic about Trump are more racist by all kinds of measures.

JS

Above, Jeff Sessions, the lawyer for the American people, except for the 69 percent of people in the US who aren’t white men. He’s been waiting since 1848 to kick all the Mexicans out of the country. 

Many conservatives missed this, in part because they wanted to. In his essay in the New York Times historian recently, Rick Perlstein offers some reflections on how he, among many scholars of conservatism, failed to predict Trump. In “I Thought I Understood the American Right. Trump Proved Me Wrong,” he concludes:

Future historians won’t find all that much of a foundation for Trumpism in [the intellectual heroes of conservatism]. They’ll need instead to study conservative history’s political surrealists and intellectual embarrassments, its con artists and tribunes of white rage.

To which many of us (and I’m guessing about 100% of scholars of color) responded with a collective eye roll.

Because if you think you understood the American right as distinct from white supremacy and structural racism, no, you didn’t understand the American right, and I’m not really sure you were trying very hard.

For all the accusations liberals live in “bubbles,” your bubble must have been opaque and soundproof if you have been hanging around the rightwing of this country and were unaware of the racial resentment of so many white Americans.

Because Jeff Sessions’ racism—that’s not new. It’s how a man of so few good ideas got this far. If you did not hear it, that’s because you were not listening to Coretta Scott King. And if you were not listening to Coretta Scott King, you are probably not listening to a lot of black people and a lot of women, and so you are never going to hear the information that you need to hear to understand the racism and misogyny that drives the American right. (This does not mean that liberals or progressives are free from racism. Just that it’s not their entire reason for existence, which is the case with so many conservatives; the word itself indicates a desire for the way things “used to be,” which is to say: racist, sexist, homophobic.)

Which is how we get here—depositing adults brought to the US as children, before what a Baptist might call the “age of accountability,” over the border without a proper process for insuring that their rights are protected.

It’s easier to not hear people when you’ve moved them out of the country, but don’t let that make you feel secure if you’re not part of a “deportable” population. A system that won’t let a Dreamer retrieve his papers to prove that he belongs here isn’t going to let you—women, people of color, non-Christians, poor people—speak either.