Opinion

Welfare, immigrants and America

To the editor:

Americans hate welfare and freeloaders on the dole with a passion bordering on hunting 1 ton moose for men and getting a $1 million diamond for women.

They also, these days, with equal passion, despise immigrants for the same underlying psychological reasons. Those who value work simply despise those who try to game the system for themselves. From the perspective of those doing the work, who get up at 5 in morning to work 8 or 12 hour days, seeing welfare recipients reaping the benefits of their hard labor and not working for it, is, in their minds, tantamount to outright stealing. (This goes way back in human history where tribal groups were small and where everyone knew everyone else, and where everyone did their share of the work required for survival.)

Today,, the word “immigrant” is tied to the word “welfare.”

These emotions are now hardwired in the brains of many Americans, many of whom are of conservative persuasion and believe in a white racist, fascist or nationalistic ideology.  Most immigrants of the past were of Caucasian extraction. These days, however, immigrants are more brownish or darker skinned and from more exotic parts of the world, especially different religions, thus exciting racial feelings and hatred.

This all makes great fodder for the conservative politician. Welfare and immigrants are ready made emotional fear and hate wedge issues politicians use freely and often. In some cases it is the only issue: “Waves and waves of foreign immigrants are heading to our shores..”, they rant, “…to steal your jobs and sponge off all the labor you, the hard working American worker puts out.”

This sells well because it cuts to the already deep seated animosity typical Americans have for slackers and people of different color who, they believe, are all too ready to steal their jobs, wives and livelihoods. It’s mostly visceral and almost totally tribal. It’s almost impossible, today, to sit down with a typical American without having long, drawn out, arguments about welfare and immigrants.

My concern is how easy it is for politicians and their corporate minders to use these emotional beliefs to manipulate Americans to vote for the bought politicians who then promises to fix all this. These same politicians then do the bidding of their corporate owners by passing legislation that favors the corporate owner and billionaire at the expense of the voter, i.e., the infamous tax cut for the rich passed recently.

This very scenario is now infesting the body politic of the Republican Party, which is now totally owned and controlled by billionaires and corporations at the expense of the voters they are sworn to represent. This does not bode well for our democracy or freedoms if left unchecked or ignored.

James P. Chasse
St Agatha

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