McCarthy who? Sounds like Trump to me


Morgan Brown, News Editor

Plastered all over the news, sensational headlines about immigration, both legal and illegal, call the average person’s attention. With titles playing on the fear that people hold when considering change, the current US debates create a new form of hysteria. Similar to the sweeping era of McCarthyism or anti-communist hysteria, our modern day political environment sports an air of Trumpism: an anti-immigration/anti-Latin American sentiment.

“When I first immigrated here, it was much easier when Obama was president than when Trump became president. I have a lot of friends who are illegal and they really can’t get a green card or their citizenship because of all that he is trying to do,” senior and immigrant with a visa Jennifer Bolanos-Aleman said.

Constant fear of illegal immigrants makes the life of those who legally immigrated all the more troublesome. Advancing through the cripplingly long and difficult immigration system of at least one and a half to three years makes the individual deserving of citizenship in the eyes of the law, so why not to the public? Because similar to Senator Joseph McCarthy during the 1950s, President Donald Trump made a show out of American fear.

“My immigration officer told us to wait two years to get full citizenship—part of it is because Trump will no longer be president anymore and it will be much easier,”  Bolanos-Aleman said.

Fear and frustration about economic standing and difficulties in the job market play into Trump’s main base. His voting demographic encompasses 50 percent of all people bringing home less than 50,000 dollars a year—a large portion of which hold no college education—a previously untapped demographic of voters.

“I think the thing Trump was able to appeal to is that a lot of people feel like their life isn’t as good as they want it to be, and as a result of that they felt like [Trump] could change their live[s] and improve it,” Economics and Ethnic Studies teacher Scott Trepanier said.

When the president ran on the slogan of “Make America Great Again,” he played off the nationalist and nativist principals that fueled the 50s. The time of greatness to which he refers reflects a feeling of retreating to the previously mentioned post-WWII era with its abundant industrial activity and overall simplicity. The decline, a completely natural occurrence, happened with the advancement of America from a country of production to consumption—not because of an influx of immigrant workers.

“I think in his mind, he is referring to the 50s because that’s when the US was incredibly prosperous and we were the industrial center of the work (70 or so percent of production was in the US). Even a college dropout could get a well-paying job and be successful in life. Today, you can’t do that because everyone has rebuilt their industrial bases and those low-skilled industrial jobs don’t exist anymore,” Trepanier said.

Solving the mass sense of hysteria falls onto the individual; education and open-mindedness help those in fear clear up their confusion on what it means being an immigrant. Talking openly about unawareness solves the fear behind the unknown instead of harboring vague ideas and prejudiced thoughts that bring no benefit to the holder or those subjected to it.  

“If people get more educated about what the immigrated population is actually contributing to society, then people will understand better why they’re important,”  Bolanos-Aleman said.