Opinion

Le Grand Derangement revisited

Question: Doesn’t Donald Trump’s DACA deportation plan remind you vaguely of the Great Deportation of the Acadians? Shades of 1755. 

Trump’s proposal to ‘voluntarily’ deport hundreds of thousands of young so-called illegally residing residents is merely another piece of throwback legislation designed to please his dwindling base of support and upend the lives of hundreds of thousands of young working people who know no other home than the one they live in here in the United States. That it targets mostly Hispanic youth only points up the sheer unconscionable bigotry of the action as well as its self defeating economic nonsense.

I have to comment about the 1755 move on the part of the British and their New England accomplices; they didn’t discriminate. They rounded up every Acadian they could and shipped them off wholesale, at least the ones they could grab; old men and women, children, etc,. and what few they couldn’t snare ran into the forests only to fight them bitterly later.

Let me be clear about it, as someone with a somewhat jaundiced view of British and American history, this is merely another form of that anti-immigrant nativism that periodically infects American politics. When we turn historically inward, we implode. That’s when everything we hold as so-called ‘American’ values such as fairness, generosity, egalitarianism and all that becomes jingoistic malarkey that applies in practice only to white Anglo-Saxon Americans and too bad for the rest of you.

The ideals that this country was established on are rapidly acquiring a hollow tinny ring when blurted out by men (mostly men) who proclaim themselves patriots. The chants of neo-Nazis and their by-catch marching alongside have more to do with this country’s current slogans than those words so eloquently penned in the Declaration of Independence. All men created equal? Certainly not if you’re one of the chosen race of white numbskulls. Or have I missed something here? Words written as ideals should remain that: ideals, and never actually put into practice?

Trump’s repeal of DACA is another in the continuing series of backward steps as we Americans retreat from those principles that make this country great … and I’m starting to resent the use, the tone and the timbre of the word ‘great’ as another meaningless birdword disgorged by the politicals who insist on using it.

Now, the Great Deportation was great, and certainly not by any positive use of the word. Some 10,000 or so Acadians were shipped off to parts unknown in 1755 and on, a majority of the Acadian population in Nova Scotia. Trump proposes to deport 800,000 assorted Hispanic and other miscreants in the repeal of the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals, or DACA, program.

If for one second you think that the affected youth will go along willingly and voluntarily into exile, think again. Armed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Border Patrol thugs are probably waiting in the wings to sweep them up, reminiscent of the Nazi roundup of Jews in occupied Europe, a mass forcible displacement of law-abiding residents not seen since the Bosnian conflict in the late 20th century. Not seem since the Syrian exodus today. It will make the forced expulsion of the Acadians pale in comparison. No legal squirming on the part of Congress can make it any more acceptable than the deportation of the Acadians some 260 years ago.

It is morally, nay, criminally wrong to repeal the Dreamers Act, and its consequences are fraught with peril for this country. We will be undoing what this country once stood for. Or was that merely another meaningless ideal, something to be plastered on statues and conveniently overlooked?

Of all people, those of Acadian ancestry should be morally outraged by the repeal of the Dreamers Act, if only to tug at a cord of memory.

Dave Wylie’s life and work experience runs the gamut from newspaper editor to carpenter to grant writer to boat builder with lots of other work wedged in-between. Wylie currently is president of a management company that oversees an elderly housing complex and president of the local historical society. He resides in Madawaska.

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