Friday, December 2, 2016

Jeff Sessions is only "fit" to further Trump's racial, nativist and xenophobic agenda

What the conservative publication The Nation Review described in an article two years ago concerning what was seen a certain U.S. senator’s office suggests someone who is at heart and head a bigot whose view of the world is extremely narrow. The only people who matter in his world are those like him, or rather who look like him. Those are the people who need his “protection.” In pictures behind his desk are indications of what sees in himself: the “Master of the Universe,” a “he-man” astride his “battle cat,” his sword ready to do battle in defense of what is obviously “white civilization.” Who is the “enemy”?

For Jeff Sessions, a former federal attorney, judge,  current U.S. Senator and now apparent future Attorney General in Donald Trump’s administration (it’s hard to call him “president”), the “enemy” is anyone who isn’t “white,” and in particular Hispanics, who he believes—as do many extremists on the right—are the direct threat to Anglo supremacy. Sessions often uses the term “masters of the universe” as a derogatory term to apply to “politicians, political strategists and special interest groups,” but in fact it is people like himself are truly deserving of the appellation, in an even more sinister sense. 

Sessions is a scion of the segregated South, served as a U.S. Attorney and as Attorney General in Alabama. His views and actions in regard to civil and voting rights is a mixed bag. He has been accused of “retaliation” against black leaders in Alabama for accusing him of making racist statements to them, which led the U.S. Senate to turn down his nomination for a federal court judgeship. On the other hand, he was “praised” for at least stating an “intent” to bring federal charges against a KKK member who killed a random black man and left him hanging from a tree, although the reality was that he never prosecuted the case, leaving it to local authorities. Sessions, in fact, seems to be loath to give credence to “hate crimes”—in fact, like most on the right, prefers to speak of the “hate” from the other side. 

But Sessions principle obsession these days are immigrants, legal or illegal, and Hispanics in particular. We shouldn’t be surprised by this, for this has been the leading “obsession” of the extremists on the right since at least 2000. He has opposed any form of immigration reform—comprehensive or otherwise—that allows any increase in the number of legal immigrants of Hispanic origin in this country. Let’s be honest about this: there would be far less rhetoric involved here if there were not people who just don’t like Hispanics, whether it is because of their appearance or their speech. It is as much a visceral reaction as it is a “legal” one. There are many other immigrant groups who by percentage have a large illegal element;  in fact,15 percent of all illegal aliens in this country are of Asian or Indian origin, and that number is growing at much faster rate than the “Mexicans.” 

But like on the issue of trade and jobs, people here have fixated their hate on Hispanics, and Sessions is a leading “light” in that movement—if not the leader—and now he is the prospective Attorney General with all the power to carry out a policy based on lies, misinformation and his own special brand of racism. Sessions and his apologists may claim up and down that he is not racist against blacks, but you only have to be racist against one group to be a racist. And only a racist can throw out numbers that he should know are false to excite hate in others.

For example, in a speech at the Republican National Convention, Sessions proclaimed that “there are about 350,000 who succeed in crossing our borders each year.” His listeners undoubtedly believe the only “border” that matters is the one to the south. But like so many “statistics” quoted by extreme nativists and xenophobes (like Trump, Pat Buchanan, Anne Coulter and Michelle Malkin), Sessions quotes “facts” that either have no foundation in truth, or deliberately “misinterprets” them. The number he cites is from the Border Patrol’s number of apprehensions on the Mexican border, some 337,000 in 2015, a number that has been decreasing steadily since 2000. Since 2009, more immigrants leave the country (Mexico’s current unemployment rate is less than 5 percent) than enter.

Furthermore, the Border Patrol’s numbers indicate the number of failed attempts to enter the country, and include persons who attempted to enter the country more than once—again an indication of the success rate of the Border Patrol to apprehend illegal entrants. Yet we have the nation’s top law officer (if he is confirmed in the post) express his intent to base his actions on deliberately falsified information, which he will “justify” to himself based on his own prejudices and hate.

Sessions exposes his personal nativism and xenophobia by overlapping his illegal immigrant position  into an anti-immigrant position generally. In an op-ed last year he wrote “Each year, the United States adds another million mostly low-wage permanent legal immigrants who can work, draw benefits and become voting citizens. Legal immigration is the primary source of low-wage immigration into the United States. In other words, as a matter of federal policy — which can be adjusted at any time — millions of low-wage foreign workers are legally made available to substitute for higher-paid Americans.” Again, as noted before, the ignorant are leading the blind here; immigrants are not to blame for low wages in this country, but on actions that date back to Reagan’s “supply-side” economic policies—policies that continue to be supported by Republican plantation masters like Sessions, with their fixation on the “Southern” model of economic “development.”

Jeff Sessions should not be confirmed as Attorney General if he cannot be the “impartial” judge of the country and its laws. That means that he has to base his actions on evidence and facts, not blatant falsehood that his own bigotry justifies.  Based on his own rhetoric of blatant misinformation and racial paranoia, it is doubtful that he is suited for the position. Sessions nomination makes mock yet again Trump's claim that he wants to work for "all Americans."

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