Through words and deeds, Trump and his allies demean Americans

Through words and deeds, Trump and his allies demean Americans
© Greg Nash

Last week, I wrote that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE’s critics were not suffering from “Trump Derangement Syndrome,” that we were justifiably enraged.

I made the case that this administration and its allies, led by Trump, not only spew vile, disgusting rhetoric that stems from an ugly but very real strain of bigotry, but that they have sought to legislate — by law or by presidential decree — their hatred and discrimination. 

This week, Trump and his supporters have proven me right several times over. They have proven that Trump’s America is, sadly, an aberration where people feel free not only to wear their racism, discrimination and bigotry on their sleeves but to act on it.

They have made the executive branch one that pushes changes to our laws and regulations that will keep people of color out of the country, take away their rights or delegitimize their voices.

Let’s start with the recent jaw-dropping (but, in a way, refreshingly honest) diatribe that Fox News host Laura Ingraham engaged in on her show, in which she admitted that she and others of her ilk are upset about the demographic changes that have been a reality of this great country for decades.

"It does seem like the America we know and love doesn't exist anymore," Ingraham declared. "Massive demographic changes have been foisted on the American people. And they are changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don't like.

"From Virginia to California, we see stark examples of how radically, in some ways, the country has changed. Now, much of this is related to both illegal and legal immigration, that of course progressives love," she said

Wow. She went full white-supremacist with that one. But at least we see with clarity where she, others on Fox News, many (not all) Trump supporters, this president and this administration are coming from.  

Ingraham’s rant lent Americans a truthful glimpse into the dark heart of those who are seeking to malign, further marginalize, divide and even criminalize America’s minority communities simply because of the color of their skin, their heritage, their language, their culture or their socioeconomic status.  

What Ingraham and her cohorts do not seem to grasp is that America was built upon the blood, sweat and tears of those who came from foreign shores. Ingraham’s own adopted children are foreign born, and part-and-parcel of the changes she is so passionately against.

So, unless you are of Native American descent, you have no more righteous a claim on this country than those who came here, perhaps more recently, seeking a better life.  

But it doesn’t end with Ingraham’s ugly words. It extends to the administration’s actions.  Stephen Miller, President Trump’s close advisor, has proposed to deny U.S. citizenship to legal permanent residents if any of their family members used any government or public programs.

Miller also is the author of the administration’s Muslim travel ban and its proposals on immigration, which include ending “chain migration” and changing our system to only allow “merit-based” immigration. 

All of this is designed to slow or stop the exact demographic changes that Ingraham’s tirade vilifies. And it is not just Miller. Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsSessions: DOJ concerned about suppression of free speech on college campuses Faith communities are mobilizing against Trump’s family separation policy Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe lands book deal MORE’ Department of Justice seeks to achieve these radical ends by various means, both small and large.

He directed the department to use the phrase “illegal alien” when talking about those here without papers. Make no mistake: Words matter, and these words are meant to demean and dehumanize those coming here in desperation, seeking a better, safer world for their families.

I have been called an “illegal” countless times, and I am a decades-long naturalized citizen. But simply because of the color of my skin, my last name, my first language (Spanish) and my country of origin, I am painted with a denigrating broad brush handed to those with anti-immigrant bents, by our own president.  

But, again, it goes beyond just words. Jeff Sessions’ Department of Justice just deported a mother and her daughter in the midst of their asylum hearing, in which a judge was deciding whether their claim was valid or not.

This goes beyond hurtful rhetoric; this tramples upon justice, our Constitution and the rule of law — the very thing to which Trump and his anti-immigration supporters profess to adhere so sacredly.  

This act was so egregious that the judge in the case erupted and ordered the Justice Department to immediately return the mother and daughter back to the U.S. This does not normally happen in the United States of America. But it is happening in the United States of Trump.

As we head into a weekend that marks the painful one-year anniversary of the white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Va., when so many Americans started to realize that their president, many in his administration and some of their supporters were indeed racists, we need to remind ourselves that their vile remarks, hateful rhetoric, demeaning words and ugly deeds do not represent the majority of Americans. Indeed, they do not represent America.

Most Americans believe our diversity is our strength. Most Americans believe immigration has been good for this country. So it is up to most Americans to fix this.

It is up to us to continue making our voices heard; the most powerful tool at our disposal is the ballot box. Yes, America, we deserve better. Let’s start by throwing out of office all those who have cowardly stood by this president as he demeans Americans and belittles America.

Let’s fix this aberration and get on with the business of continuing to make America great!

Maria Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.