Be responsible, not scared

Aug 22, 2020 The Parkersburg News and Sentinel by Aaron Dunbar

I was recently watching a video on the 2020 Presidential Election (I believe it was a clip from Rising with Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti) in which the hosts discussed President Trump’s tactic during the 2018 midterms of using the so-called “migrant caravan” to scare on-the-fence constituents into voting Republican. It was speculated that, given his current poor approval ratings, he may attempt to utilize a similar scare tactic heading into November.

It couldn’t have been more than a day or two after watching this that I noticed a letter in the News and Sentinel, published on Aug. 15, warning of “central American migrant caravans” being “lured to overwhelm our southern border,” and declaring that re-electing Trump was the only way to stop them.

I honestly have no polite words with which to address the widespread scapegoating and demonization of immigrants in this country. But what about the migrants in this particular situation?

During the debates about how we should address these poor and desperate people traveling to our borders, how often did we bother discussing the root causes of their displacement? For instance, how often did we talk about the CIA coups that destabilized many Central American countries and killed hundreds of thousands of people, eventually leading to the modern conditions forcing migrants to flee their homelands? And what about climate change?

I’ve been taken to task for tying the migrant caravan to the issue of the climate crisis. But the simple fact is, the failure of crops caused by drought was a driving force behind the caravan’s very existence, on top of already violent and dangerous conditions.

Climate change-related drought has similarly been cited as a factor in the Syrian civil war, which famously led to its own influx of refugees, as well as then-candidate Trump’s racist call for a ban on Muslims from entering the U.S.

Some U.N. forecasts place the number of people displaced by climate change at one billion by the year 2050. So at some point, conservatives are going to have to come to terms with the fact that their love of endless wars and their refusal to address climate change are both key drivers behind the very influx of refugees they so vehemently despise. If you’re truly so terrified of big scary foreigners entering our country, then maybe the solution is for us to begin acting like responsible global citizens.