Some of the common refrains following the “send her back!” chant at President Trump’s rally in North Carolina last night.
The seemingly extemporaneous audience demand about Rep Ilhan Omar (D-MN) drew rage and ire from the political establishment, and even many on the right. I’ll confess, I gasped when I heard it live.
Because “send them back” is perhaps the most uncharitable thing any American, or Westerner, has been taught they can express about immigrants and immigration as a whole. We are asked to believe it is a literal negation of our Western values, and in America, also a repudiation of one of the pillars of the American founding.
It’s true to an extent, which is why I gasped.
“America is a nation of immigrants,” has become a trite and almost unusable phrase. But compared with other nations in the world, America does have a different or special relationship with immigration. It may not seem so from the inside, sometimes. But compare America’s history in this area with China or Japan, Russia or Iran, even European nations have not been so charitable towards newcomers as America has.
“America is a nation of immigrants,” has become a trite and almost unusable phrase. But compared with other nations in the world, America does have a different or special relationship with immigration.
Modern America has never been conquered by external forces. So you’re naturally more inclusive.
“Send them back” is also a known anti-immigration parody in the West.
A famous scene from cult British comedy Phoenix Nights depicts a band playing in a fictional working men’s club in the North of England. The owner of the club is heard remarking to a reporter during the performance, “See, nothing offensive, nothing blue!”
“No, just racist!” the reporter says in response.
The band is playing a song called “Send the Buggers Back” which is ostensibly about a pair of shoes, but serves as a racist nod against black migration into the West.
In other words, “Send them back,” is also the Trump crowd playing into the parody of working class people (the deplorables) and allowing the establishment to point their fingers and crow, “See, we were right all along!”
For these reasons, it’s a mistake.
But for some reasons, it’s not. Yes, feel free to gasp.
President Donald J. Trump meets with survivors of religious persecution from 17 countries Wednesday, July 17, 2019, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
“Send them back,” to the Trump crowd doesn’t mean the same thing it meant to Brian Potter’s patrons in Phoenix Nights.
It doesn’t mean, “we don’t like blacks, or brown people”. How do I know?
Piers Morgan. That’s how I know.
Piers Morgan – maybe one of the least ethnically foreign people Britain could send – moved to the United States in 2010 in order to take over CNN’s Larry King show. He was monumentally unpopular across the political spectrum.
“How did we get stuck with Piers Morgan? Who is he, why is he here, is he returnable?” – Vanity Fair, 2011
He says in the piece: “Many questions torment America in its dark night of the soul, questions more urgently pressing, and yet it must be asked: How did we get stuck with Piers Morgan? Who is he, why is he here, is he returnable?”
“Racist,” if said of Ilhan Omar, I’m sure.
Wolcott concludes: “…Piers is in a piss storm of woe over the phone hacking scandal that may make CNN wish they could fold him into an airmail envelope and mail him back to whence he came… If we can’t send him back to Britain, is there someplace else we can send him?”