Take Me Down to the Sanctuary City

For our last big episode of the season, Doomed to Repeat is touching on one of the most polarizing issues in American politics: immigration and so-called "sanctuary cities." In the age of the Dreamsicle President, matters of law and migration have taken a vastly greater political, economic, cultural, and emotional valence that at any time in recent memory.  In dissing Trump, we do not mean to belittle the issue at all.  People are afraid.  One of our two co-hosts, in fact, has family who are now unable to flee violence and disorder in Libya and come to join their relatives in the United States because of the administration's appalling "Muslim ban." But it's hard to recall a time when people … [Read more...]

Poem: In the Redaction of the Fake 45th

Reading the April 23, 2017 interview transcript between the Associated Press and the fake 45th President of the United States, I was haunted by his disjointed, stream-of-consciousness rambling, which included 16 separate moments noted as “unintelligible” by the AP. I felt as though my own knowledge of language and logical argument were being dismantled. I found it difficult to continue to read the transcript coming from a man who cares so little about his own word choice in relation to the power he wields. However, the disturbing nature of this interview forced me to return to the transcript and interrogate the words. Ultimately, I chose to redact the text and redact the agency of his voice … [Read more...]

Why the Civil War Happened

Slavery. … [Read more...]

Imaginary Dangers, Real Victims: A Lawyer and a Historian on the Real Facts about Trump’s Executive Order

Donald Trump sees danger everywhere. They are the stabby Dreamer hiding a machete under her graduation gown. They include the Iranian family doctor ready to undermine America by over-prescribing pain killers. Most dangerous of all, the Syrian child promising to grow up and work for the lying mainstream media. Of course, Trump is not alone in blaming these people for the current state of America; many in fact do share his view of a dangerous world. What is striking about the moment is the willingness of the Executive to exercise his authority to directly and visibly take protections away and prosecute those he sees as a threat to the nation. Trump’s travel ban regarding refugees and … [Read more...]

Getting Past the Bad Math of the #MuslimBan

As someone who studies global migration for a living, it has been hard to choose where to begin when it comes to denouncing Donald Trump’s Executive Order on immigration and refugees.  Where to start?  There is, of course, the Order’s bedrock of Islamophobia: Trump has ignorantly conflated Islam with terrorism. And then there’s the constitutional angle: the Order violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, among other things.  Or we could counter with the fact that more than 50 years ago, Congress outlawed national origins bans with the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. Or the statistical “probabilities” generated by think tanks: The CATO Institute says that your chance of being … [Read more...]

A Brief History of Sanctuary Cities

As everyone with a Twitter feed already knows, Donald J. Trump is no friend of immigrants. In a spate of hot-headed executive orders this week, he slammed the door shut on refugees, banned visitors from seven Muslim countries, and promised to build a “Great Wall” physically separating us from Mexico. But his wrath extended past Mexican day laborers and Muslim asylum seekers to take aim at the traitors within. In an executive jeremiad, Trump torched “sanctuary jurisdictions” for “willfully” violating federal law and causing “immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic.” To such harmers of the Republican Fabric he threatens to withhold all federal funds, … [Read more...]

Sipping on the Indian Haterade: Hindu American Whiteness and Support for Trump

Unlike other communities of color in the United States, it has not been so easy for South Asian Americans to organize and act as one.  The very complexity of South Asia and the myriad of internal politics make mobilization a difficult issue.   Even during my time in Atlanta conducting ethnographic research on the South Asian American sporting community, organizations like South Asians for Unity struggled to collectively engage the heterogeneous ethnic, class, and religious South Asian American community in Atlanta.  Sikh American elders and I (a Christian Tamil) shared a sentiment of feeling minimally included in the discussions about peace on the subcontinent. Thus, even the coming … [Read more...]

An Inauguration Day Greeting from Tropics of Meta

Many years ago, I was teaching high school in Gastonia, North Carolina. The senseless, world-destroying catastrophe of the Iraq War was just breaking over the horizon at the time, and students asked me what I thought about it.  As a novice teacher, I didn't know what my proper response should be.  Personally, I was despondent.  Whether or not Saddam Hussein had "weapons of mass destruction"--we'd given them to him, after all--it seemed transparently obvious that Iraq posed no immediate threat to the United States, and the ideologues and used car salesmen in Washington were driving us into a pointless war of choice. It was a dark time, and arguably much of the horror of the twenty-first … [Read more...]

Trump, Brexit, and the Abject Poverty of Liberalism

Two seemingly monumental and world-historic events occurred in two of the most powerful imperialist countries this past year. On 23 June, the United Kingdom held a referendum on its membership in the European Union, resulting in a “leave” vote. On the other side of the Atlantic, Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for President of the United States, was victorious in his electoral campaign against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. The Leave Campaign won the “Brexit” referendum with 17.4 million ballots, or 51.9 percent of the votes, whereas Donald Trump won the US presidency with 62.9 million votes, amounting to 46.1 percent of the ballots cast (note that Clinton won the popular vote with … [Read more...]

TV, Blogs, Memes, & Even a Little Hope: The Best of the Rest in 2016

Finally, we wind down our retrospective of the "anus horribilis" with the rest of the responses to our annual survey of contributors: the stuff that moved us, surprised us, made us laugh and (most definitely) made us cry this year. We may have had fascism in 2016, but we also had beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes... you name it! Best TV Show ASC: Easily Atlanta--wunderkind creator Donald Glover's take on life in the A combined verité realism with the occasional touch of the brilliantly absurd to capture the wonderful weirdness of the city it chronicles.  Like the thinking man's Twin Peaks.  Two other shows also brought a lot of light into 2016, recently available to American audiences via … [Read more...]