Once upon a time, we cared about the welfare of our fellow Americans. Farmers in the Midwest devastated by tornadoes, trailer parks washed away in a Florida hurricane, our country's ranking on various international comparisons -- we all rooted for our fellow Americans. Like all countries, we would squabble, but we were family. We were all Americans.
Not anymore! Now, no one cares about anything but getting rich, the better to separate oneself from the lives and concerns of poorer Americans.
Businessmen, Wall Street bankers, ethnic activists, Democrats and Republicans (including the president, apparently) -- all of them have a stronger fellow feeling toward Saudi princes and German bankers than toward Iowa farmers. Being "inclusive" to "Dreamers" necessarily means being exclusionary toward our own working class.
So what if wages have flatlined -- or declined -- for several decades? The smart set aren't wage-slaves.
Mexican drug cartels aren't swarming through their towns. They live in fancy neighborhoods.
Somali refugees aren't beating up their kids -- who are safely ensconced in expensive private schools, anyway.
Members of our governing class seem to have decided the country is doomed, so they may as well make their pile. Sure, they'll have to face the wrath of voters and may be voted out of office, like Eric Cantor. But they'll end up on corporate boards or win lucrative lobbying contracts. Plus, being "progressive" on immigration will look great on their kid's Princeton application.
Everybody's looking out for No. 1.
It wasn't always this way. Politicians, liberal activists and journalists used to care about even non-fashionable Americans.
One doesn't have to go back to the Garfield administration to find a time when everyone wanted to protect the nation from dysfunctional immigration -- the crime, the drugs, the poverty, the wage-depressing effect, the burden on our social services. Positions that are today considered hateful used to be called "common sense."
A 1995 news article in The New York Times calmly described preparations the Immigration and Naturalization Service was making in case a "vast flood of illegal immigrants" surged across the Mexican border, "inundating entire communities as it washes north into the American heartland." Under the Clinton administration, the illegals would face either "immediate voluntary deportation" or "emergency detention."
No indignant denunciations followed.
More hate speech from the Times:
"Fighting illegal immigration is a difficult and important job. But Congress should do it in a way that will deter illegal entry at the border." -- New York Times editorial, Sept. 29, 1997
"(The I.N.S.) is extremely troubled, but has improved under the leadership of Doris Meissner. Since her appointment in 1993, ... (t)he border is tighter, and the I.N.S. is deporting record numbers of criminal aliens." -- New York Times editorial, Aug. 10, 1997
Just a few years ago, Charles Lane, an editorial writer at The Washington Post, called for "prompt exclusion of unaccompanied Central American minors" during the border surge under Obama. "Only by showing people there is nothing to be gained by paying traffickers for the traumatic voyage through Mexico will the chaos cease."
The great civil rights icon Barbara Jordan produced a report on immigration more than two decades ago, calling on the government to end chain migration and put a dead stop to illegal immigration, for the benefit of all Americans.
"Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave."
She added: "Deportation is crucial."
Far-left Democrats used to openly proclaim ideas that would get them banned from Twitter today:
"When push comes to shove, there is only one realistic way that you can stop illegal immigration into this country, and that is by making it illegal and being tough enough that illegal immigrants cannot work in this country." -- Democratic Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, 1985
Very recently, a presidential candidate who seemed to actually care about America's working class denounced illegal immigration as "a Koch brothers" idea. That was Bernie Sanders.
He explained: "Open borders? No, that's a Koch brothers' proposal. ... That's a right-wing proposal, which says essentially there is no United States. ... It would make everybody in America poorer -- you're doing away with the concept of a nation-state. ... You have an obligation in my view to do everything we can to help poor people.
"What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy. Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour -- that would be great for them. I don't believe in that. I think we have to raise wages in this country; I think we have to do everything we can to create millions of jobs." -- Bernie Sanders in interview with Ezra Klein of Vox on July 28, 2015
Forget hypocrisy -- I don't care about that right now. It's the cruelty that interests me.
Have well-heeled Americans really decided to abandon their fellow citizens? These merchants of compassion have none to spare for our own people? I'm not a steelworker, a waitress or a black teenager looking for an entry-level job, either. But I still care about other Americans.