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David Ball: Praises column’s focus on Trump attacking democracy

  • jacoblund


Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Praises column about Trump attacking democracy

It’s about time someone in the Gazette said what Joe Gannon did in his Feb. 10 column (“Declaring war on democracy itself”).

President Donald Trump isn’t just attacking Democrats, he’s attacking democracy itself, and the GOP has been undermining our democracy for some time. Never has a candidate in this country threatened to put his opponent in jail.

Past Republicans have accused the media of bias, but not of “fake news,” which calls the very legitimacy of a free press into question. Trump’s “the lying press” was Hitler’s expression. And so on.

But Gannon was wrong about one thing. “We have always loathed immigrants in this country,” he writes. Who’s “we”? The whole American people? Is he kidding?

In the National Museum of Immigration on Ellis Island, in the same buildings where over 12 million immigrants arrived in the United States, you’ll see one room showing the causes of immigration — the same as today. Poverty or persecution in the old country and the hope of making a better life in this one.

My father landed in Ellis Island when he was 8. Neither he nor his family knew a word of English. He became a teacher and so did one of his brothers. Another became a shoemaker. One of his sons joined the Marines and died at Iwo Jima. But like most of those millions of immigrants, their hopes were realized: They found a good home in America and they contributed to the country.

In that same museum, you’ll see another room devoted to anti-immigrant movements in the U.S. Every wave of immigration had nasty labels to describe them. They were all discriminated against. “No Irish need apply” was commonly added to “now hiring.”

There’s always been a dark undercurrent in our history and Trump has brought it to light. But if “we” — most Americans — truly “loathed immigrants,” the dozens of millions of immigrants here would never have succeeded in making better lives. And in making America a stronger, better place.

Let’s not get carried away. Trump does not represent “us,” he represents the worst among us.

David Ball

Northampton