December often leaves me in a pensive state. Beyond thinking retrospectively about the year, I also reminisce about cultural traits that I wish I had retained. In Mexico for instance, there are the “Posadas” celebrations from December 16-24 in which communities recreate Mary and Joseph’s journey in search of safe lodging, shelter and human kindness.
A metaphor that is not lost on our current reality as we think of those in our communities in need of shelter and safe lodgings as well as those at our southern border who ask for entry and for some semblance of humanity and understanding.
Religious holidays and nostalgia aside, December also holds greater meaning for me as a self-professed Neo-Hippie Mexican. For one, International Human Rights Day happens to fall on Dec. 10. Likewise, International Day of the Migrant falls a little more than a week later, on Dec. 18. It’s no coincidence, at least in my mind, that I fuse all three events by default. It’s hard to separate them as I see them as being intrinsically woven together.
Thinking back to my column last month about the migrant caravan, I was reminded of how these ideas intersect. A friend reminded me of one troubling element to the backlash against the migrant caravan. Namely, the bold, callous violation of the Posse Comitatus Law of 1878, which was enacted to limit the powers of the federal government (i.e., that racist Oompa Loompa in the White House) in using the military for law enforcement. The result of course, was the brutal suppression of unarmed Central American migrants at the Mexico-U.S. border last month.
The use of rubber bullets and tear gas against toddlers and traumatized families standing on foreign soil should not be the norm. Nor should violation of the Posse Comitatus Law, as this is dangerously sloping toward normalizing fascism. As I write, this administration continues fighting tooth and nail over racist immigration restrictions.
More recently, we also see continued threats to the general populace by way of government shutdowns for failure to fund what The Root has dubbed “The Great Wall of Racism.” The ultimate political tantrum hits hard for many community members who rely on services and who may have few other social safety nets to cover their needs. A classic example of “cutting the nose to spite the face.”
The local, national and international seem to thematically intermingle in December. At least in my imagination.
In the next few weeks, these issues will once again surface as the administration pairs its nativist brand of intolerance with its anti-working-class bourgeois sensibilities in continued shameless pursuit of profiteering off the misery of people, domestic and immigrant alike. Resistance to these policies is critical.
Oscar Rosales grew up in the Yakima Valley and works and resides in Seattle. He has previously contributed to HistoryLink (dot) org and the Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project.
Read the full Dec. 26 - Jan. 1 issue.
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