Every now and then it’s good for liberals to put themselves in check. It’s really easy, for instance, to be so appalled and grossed out by a certain orange, vapid attention whore and alleged-billionaire that you start making fun of everything about him…including his wife. Then you might find yourself making the terrible choice to slut shame her just because she’s an attractive woman who used her body to make money. Or you might find yourself giving way too many fucks about what country she’s from, and you could wind up sounding like the same slack-jaws on the right who howl about immigrants.
Don’t do that, okay?
The only reason that it matters that Melania may not have been of legal resident status when she first arrived in America to model in 1995 is hypocrisy. Namely, the hypocrisy of her husband, but also her own. As Buzzfeed reported, Mrs. Trump has not shied away from preaching to other immigrants about doing it the “right” way.
“I came here for my career,” Melania Trump told Harper’s Bazaar in January. “I did so well. I moved here. It never crossed my mind to stay here without papers. That is just the person you are. You follow the rules. You follow the law. Every few months you need to fly back to Europe and stamp your visa. After a few visas, I applied for a green card and got it in 2001. After the green card, I applied for citizenship. And it was a long process.” (source)
Whether or not Melania was legally allowed to be here at the time she arrived is a matter for the courts. But her and her husband’s hypocrisy on the subject? That’s a matter for the court of public opinion.
I don’t think any rational people think that we should have a completely open and unrestricted border. We should at the very least be screening people for ties to terror groups both foreign and domestic. That doesn’t mean we have to build a wall 400 feet high. It doesn’t mean rounding up people who are here “illegally” and deporting them en masse — as if that’s financially or logistically possible. However, that’s exactly what Trump and his ilk are proposing.
The level of anti-immigrant rhetoric in the Trump campaign has only been dwarfed by their anti-Muslim rhetoric. Surprisingly, to me anyway, Trump hasn’t proposed banning all Mexicans from entering the country. He’s just tried to stick them with bill for a stupid wall no one wants that will cost billions. But yeah, for now he hasn’t saw fit to propose Operation Keep The Taco Bowl Makers Out.
If we can all agree to keep our mocking of Melania’s citizenship status to being solely about her and Donnie’s hypocrisy, I’m in. But if we’re going to become the left-wing equivalent of conservatives and hate on an immigrant just because we can? Fuck that.
When I was growing up, I did so in a very religious and conservative home. But I was very lucky because my deeply religious, conservative father had construction sites he had to manage, and he not being a racist asshole, he had no problem hiring Mexican immigrants in my small mountain town. I am eternally grateful he did because I learned at the age of seven or eight how hard immigrants have to work. I learned the value of holding onto your culture and traditions, even when you’re joining a so-called “melting pot” like America.
I learned from the Silva family what it takes, what it really takes to survive in this country as an outsider. I was really very lucky my Republican parents didn’t buy into the anti-immigrant hogwash. So I was never exposed to the kinds of nationalist sensationalism of the kind that people like Anne Coulter regularly peddle now. In fact, until my folks started listening to Rush Limbaugh, I really didn’t hear a lot of racially-centered discourse in my house. Gee, maybe that means Rush is the real race baiter. Ya think?
The good news is that to this day, my folks are the good kinds of Republicans that don’t assume someone is a rapist or drug dealer because they speak Spanish. But the kinds of Republicans who are voting for Trump? They do.
So that’s why it matters, I guess, that Melania may have been an undocumented worker when she arrived. It wouldn’t be her white privilege that is excusing her from the vitriol people voting for her husband have for most other immigrants; it would be Donald’s. Or maybe it’d be Republican Privilege, because while I don’t predict things, because it’s pointless and always makes you look stupid when it doesn’t come to fruition, but I can all but promise you that if Melania were just an average, run of the mill immigrant married to a Democrat…the Republicans would be all over Trump to drop out because his wife had flouted the law, and blah blah blah all the other shit they say about immigrants.
Follow James on Twitter @JamboSchlarmbo.