America, The Ugly

For the first time in my life, I‘m considering leaving.

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We all knew this day would come after we chose Donald Trump to become the President back in November 2016. He told us that he was going to be harsh on immigration and here we are now stripping children away from their parents as they cross the border to seek a better life.

We’ve all seen the images over the last few days of children in caged areas without their parents. We’ve heard the horror stories of a father committing suicide after they took his child away or a baby taken away while the mother was breastfeeding. Is this who we are as a country now?

Maybe the worst part of this is the acceptance by the politicians and by many Republicans. Four polls have been conducted asking participants if children should be separated from their parents at the border. On average, 50% of Republicans say yes. This is the new Republican party. Reports today also said the White House was happy about the backlash and that voters want to see the harsh approach to illegal immigration.

We’ll see how this plays out over the next few days. Maybe Congress will actually step up and fix this issue but I expect more political games.

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Immigrant children are seen at a tent city in Tornillo, Texas, June 18. (CNS photo/Mike Blake, Reuters)

What does America stand for?

I find myself now wondering what the United States stands for. I used to truly believe in the values of taking in the less fortunate and giving everyone an opportunity. But, it seems more and more every day, we go back on that promise and more. We pulled out of the U.N. Human Rights Council just today, which is ironic since we are committing human right violations daily now at the Mexican border.

Donald Trump has brought a toxic form of nationalism to the mainstream. He has dehumanized immigrants, attacked minorities for standing up for their rights through protest, defended white supremacists, and turned his back on close foreign allies. He did give us that tax cut though!

We’re going down a dark, dangerous path that needs to stopped now. America is not about keeping people out and throwing kids in jails. ICE is conducting more raids than ever, targeting many communities. They are arresting undocumented workers who are guilt only of wanting a better life. If we stay complacent on everything, who knows where this goes to next.

We may already be on the verge of the country collapsing. I’ll let Umair Haque describe it in full, as he believes the United States may only have two years left:

Two years. First, there was a “travel ban”. Then we found out the election was hacked. Then an entire province was left to simply collapse after a hurricane. Then immigrants were called animals. Then papers started being checked. Then allies and friends were insulted, harangued, and discarded, while dictators were flattered. Then kids and parents were separated. Now there are camps. Now supremacists are filling top positions in the State. The equivalent of a Gestapo and a Stasi is rising — what else do you call people that rip breast-feeding babies away from mothers? Democracy is in tatters, the rule of law is ruins, a civilized society is imploding, and the world looks on. The classical sequence of collapse, remember?

Leave or Stay?

Despite America’s faults in the past, I’ve always stood by and defended the ultimate idea of the country. The land of opportunity and freedom, I thought. Yes, we have many problems still but I had the feeling that we were working on them and trying to become better. Now, we’re in reverse. The President pins groups against each other and causes division on a daily basis. Trump still has no idea how policy works as well. All he knows is how much he hates black and brown people.

It’s not just the issue of immigration. Trump and most of the politicians in the federal government simply don’t care about the well-being of Americans. I’ve written in the past about the many problems of our society in its current form. Americans are drowning in debt, lack health insurance, and have no savings in case of emergencies. We refuse to invest in people but continue to jack up our military spending to astronomical levels. $716 billion in defense spending for 2019 just passed the Senate today with a 85–10 vote. This is bipartisan.

I’ve never traveled outside of the United States besides Canada. I think it’s time to go overseas and see different parts of Europe and possibly never come back. The daily barrage of stories of people suffering here makes me sick and the concentration camps at the border has put me over the edge. I really do want to make America a better place but I’m just afraid that we are too far gone. The sad part is we have the potential to really be the greatest country on the planet. We can show the rest of the world how great a multi-cultural democracy could be. But, the people in charge of government and big corporations refuse to do that. The American people can hopefully rise up and force change because without that, we are doomed.

Before I decide whether to leave the only place I’ve ever known, let’s fight back together. Regarding the situation at the border, Slate has put together great list of organizations that are helping families in need. There are links to donate there. Use your voice not just for this fight, but the many battles that are still to come.

M.A. in Applied Economics. I'm here to talk about economics, politics, and life. Follow me here and on Twitter @FrankLukacovic

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