Lynching in America: Targeting Black Veterans

861 – Surgical Technician

Henry Flipper
Henry Flipper battled prejudice in the military
In the legitimate complaints about veterans coming home and not getting their due, I have come across a particularly ugly reminder from the Equal Justice Initiative, Lynching in America: Targeting Black Veterans

“The end of the Civil War marked a new era of racial terror and violence directed at black people in the United States that has not been adequately acknowledged or addressed in this country… The violent response to freedom for former slaves was followed by decades of racial terror lynchings and targeted violence designed to sustain white supremacy and racial hierarchy.”

The more than 40,000 black soldiers who died in the Civil War fought to protect a Union that rejected them in the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott ruling of 1857.

“No one was more at risk of experiencing violence and targeted racial terror than black veterans who had proven their valor and courage as soldiers during the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. Because of their military service, black veterans were seen as a particular threat to Jim Crow and racial subordination. Thousands of black veterans were assaulted, threatened, abused, or lynched following military service…”

The great equalizer?

“Military service sparked dreams of racial equality for generations of African Americans. But most black veterans were not welcomed home and honored for their service. Instead, during the lynching era, many black veterans were targeted for mistreatment, violence, and murder because of their race and status as veterans. Indeed, black veterans risked violence simply by wearing their uniforms on American soil.”

Particularly egregious was the Red Summer of 1919, right after WWI. “In Pittsburgh for example, the Ku Klux Klan made their goal of using violence clear with notices that read: ‘The war is over, negroes. Stay in your place. If you don’t, we’ll put you there.'”

Dear old dad

I’ve written before about my father’s complicated feelings about the military, I suspect due in part to his knowledge of history. In the European theater at the close of World War II, he was “861 – Surgical Technician”

“Performs various duties to assist medical officers in rendering surgical treatment. Prepares operating room and surgical equipment for use; assists operating personnel; administers hypodermic injections as instructed; cleans operating room and sterilizes equipment; assists in transporting patients from wards to operating room; sterilizes linens and instruments; performs duties during operation that cannot be done by operating personnel; gives first aid treatment; instructs others in simple surgical duties. Should be at least a high school graduate.”

This seems to have been applicable to him: How the GI Bill’s Promise Was Denied to a Million Black WWII Veterans, “The sweeping bill promised prosperity to veterans. So why didn’t black Americans benefit?”

Our current sin

We Deport Veterans: “For decades, we’ve deported military veterans—legal residents of the United States—while dangling citizenship before them. Congressional Hispanic Caucus estimates there are about 3,000 instances of veterans being deported to other countries.

“We also know that tens of thousands of immigrants serve in the U.S. military. According to Department of Defense statistics, about 70,000 non-citizen people born outside of the United States were serving in the military between 1999 and 2008.

“According to a 2017 report from the National Immigration Forum, about 40,000 immigrants currently serve in the armed forces and about 5,000 non-citizens enlist each year. Furthermore, as of 2016, about 511,000 veterans were foreign-born. And more than 20 percent of Medal of Honor recipients are immigrants to the United States.

“Those immigrants who can enlist in the U.S. military are often promised fast-tracked access to a green card. In reality, however, most of these vets neither apply for nor attain citizenship. Many of these enlisted immigrants will tell you they were promised citizenship by recruiters or that their paperwork has at least been initiated. Many even believe they attained citizenship simply by enlisting and swearing to defend the United States.

“So why doesn’t the U.S. military ensure that immigrants are presented with accurate facts on the possibility of their path to citizenship? Where’s the support system developed to ensure they complete each step when it’s available to them?”

Criminalizing compassion

criminalizing compassionI recently came across this Common Dreams article, ‘Criminalizing Compassion’: Trial Begins for Humanitarian Facing 20 Years in Prison for Giving Water to Migrants in Arizona Desert.

Human rights advocates accused the U.S. Justice Department of “criminalizing compassion” as a federal trial began in Arizona Wednesday for activist Scott Warren, who faces up to 20 years in prison for providing humanitarian aid to migrants in the desert.

I think the prosecution is terrible, of course. But it DOES reassure me that we’re not a Christian nation, despite protestations to the contrary. A Christian nation would follow these familiar tenets of Matthew 25:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

Or the Good Samaritan story in Luke 10:

But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

This regime targets trans health care protections, has IRS audit poor taxpayers at the same rate as richest One Percent and other things too numerous to mention here.

Rev. Franklin Graham, among other “Christian leaders”, is asking “followers of Christ across our nation to set aside June 2 as a special day of national prayer” for the regime. He said, “In the history of our country, no president has been attacked as he has. The lies and the deceptions rage on.” The irony is striking.

I do agree with part of Graham’s call, that the regime “will know and understand the power of God in a new way.” But for me, it is different than what we’ve experienced the past 28 months.

Guano birthright citizenship rhetoric

Even Paul Ryan says “you obviously cannot” end birthright citizenship via executive order.

birthrightAs you probably heard, the head of the regime says he will void birthright citizenship law through Executive Order.

Hmm, getting rid of part of the US Constitution by a stroke of his pen? It’s Section 1 of the 14th Amendment (1868) that gives automatic citizenship to children born on US soil, even if their parents aren’t citizens.

He said “he had always been told ‘that you needed a constitutional amendment to end birthright citizenship. Guess what? You don’t.”

“You can definitely do it with an Act of Congress… But now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order. It’ll happen. With an executive order.'”

As someone from the Boston Globe put it, “US conservatives have suffered from ABDS (anchor baby derangement syndrome) for years, and have been trying to get rid of so-called birthright citizenship, even though it… was enacted by… Republicans trying to help freed slaves after the Civil War…” Or maybe because of that.

A few questions popped up:

Question 1: Is he lying about the history of birthright citizenship, or is he just ignorant?

Birthright citizenship Wasn’t Born in America. Blame Elizabeth I for his least-favorite policy.

Also, it is a hallmark of New World democracies – “Nearly every nation in the Western Hemisphere, including Canada, Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela, offer some form of unconditional birthright citizenship to children born in-country.”

So his assertion, going back at least to 2015, “that the United States is ‘just about’ the only country ‘stupid enough’ to grant citizenship to all children born within its borders is easily proven false.”

Question 2: What are we talking about anyway? “You can be born into U.S. citizenship by being born in the United States—the principle known as jus soli, or ‘right of the soil.’ Most countries in the Americas feature jus soli citizenship. And you can also be born into U.S. citizenship by being born to U.S. citizens, even if you’re born abroad—a concept known as jus sanguinis, or ‘right of blood.'”

“The traditional interpretation means that people with diplomatic immunity like an ambassador, would not be subject to US law, so their offspring would not be citizens by birthright. The regime “wants to bend that to mean ‘illegal’ immigrants. It’s ridiculous because they are bound by our laws, clearly.”

“The majority view is that the words mean exactly what they say—a reading the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with in the 1898 case of United States v. Wong Kim Ark, in which it rejected a government attempt to deny citizenship to the child of Chinese immigrants.”

Question 3: Who the heck are “they” who are putting these ideas in his head? Initially, I assume it was a function of advisor Stephen Miller or maybe some crackpots at FOX. I discovered that his people are pretty good at finding folks on the fringes of academia.

“Peter H. Schuck… and Rogers M. Smith… have for years been beating the drum for the idea that the Fourteenth Amendment means something radically different from its historical meaning, permitting Congress to strip these children of their citizenship and potentially render them stateless. Though Schuck and Smith are respected, few other serious constitutional scholars have joined their parade.”

There are a few others. “Writing in The Washington Post, the former Trump White House aide Michael Anton has now proposed…an executive order [that] could specify to federal agencies that the children of noncitizens are not citizens.'”

“Anton is not one of the ‘great legal scholars, the top’ whose authority Trump has claimed… He gained notoriety during the presidential election by comparing the Hillary Clinton campaign to an al-Qaeda hijacking. Voting for Trump, he argued, was a meritorious act of destruction, the equivalent of forcing the Flight 93 hijackers to crash into the ground.”

The executive order on birthright citizenship would fail to address his stated concerns while undermining fundamental American ideals. Even the outgoing Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) says “you obviously cannot do that.”

The only joy I got from this whole scenario is Borowitz satire: He Strips Citizenship from Children of Immigrants, Thus Disqualifying Himself from Presidency.

“Immigrants helped this country become what it is”

“At every point in our history, the idea of American has stretched far enough to include past waves of immigrants, while still balking at the more recent ones.”

Occasionally, reading conservative websites is a fruitful endeavor. For instance, Sarah Quinlan wrote in Red State, “Laura Ingraham’s Comments Were Wrong In Every Way.” Fox News host Ingraham “lamented ‘massive demographic changes’ that have caused the end of the “America we know and love.”

While Quinlan loves the United States, she is not blind to the “shameful events — from the savagery of our early history, to slavery, to extrajudicial lynchings and implementing legal discrimination, to women being treated as second-class citizens.” She goes on at length about this.

“During Ingraham’s lifetime” – Laura was born in 1963 – “Americans of color have been repeatedly denied justice and forced to fight to receive the rights they were due. During Ingraham’s lifetime, women have had to demand to be treated as human beings in their own right…

“Is that the America that Ingraham wishes still existed? I find it utterly baffling that people express nostalgia for a pleasant, untroubled past in American history, because that has never truly existed…

“Ronald Reagan once promoted the belief that anyone can come to this country and become an American — which is possible here because America is an idea, not an ethnicity, and no American is more American than another based on birth, wealth, religion, political party, or race.”

It’s noteworthy that Ingraham criticizes “legal immigration and disparagingly refers to it as something that ‘of course progressives love.’ Since when did Republicans turn against legal immigration? Since when are Republicans against the idea of people legally coming to America in pursuit of a better life and the American Dream?

“Immigrants helped this country become what it is. And America endures because of the core American values that guide us, not because of what her people look like.”

“According to Pew [Research], 58% of Americans consistently say increasing diversity makes America a better place to live…Alex Nowrasteh, Senior Immigration Policy Analyst at Cato Institute says that “recent immigrants’ assimilation to American culture and values is doing ‘as well as or [on] a better pace of assimilation than previous immigrant waves….’

“Laura Ingraham’s comments…were despicable, and it is not virtue-signaling for me to point that out but rather simply standing up for what I believe is right; such comments should not be treated as normal or acceptable. When former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke is cheering on Ingraham’s comments, that’s a side that I do not want to be on.”

Unsurprisingly, other Red State contributors supported Ingraham. But as the Weekly Sift noted: Anti-immigrant rhetoric is an insult to your ancestors.

The timelessness of xenophobia. But there’s a strange thing about that rhetoric: It’s been part of American discourse forever. And most of us here today — including most of the white supremacists — are descended from those darker immigrants who supposedly would never assimilate…

The elasticity of Americanism. At every point in our history, the idea of American has stretched far enough to include past waves of immigrants, while still balking at the more recent ones. At every point, there has been a clear line between Them and Us, and every time the issues seemed totally different than what we had seen before.

Of course, it is White House adviser Stephen Miller who is the hand behind the regime’s current offensive policy “to make it impossible for many legal immigrants to become citizens or lawful permanent residents (green-card holders).”

Their offenses? Using public benefits to which they are entitled: Enrolling in Obamacare or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or using food stamps or other social welfare programs.

David S. Glosser wrote Stephen Miller Is an Immigration Hypocrite. I Know Because I’m His Uncle. “If my nephew’s ideas on immigration had been in force a century ago, our family would have been wiped out.”

Ironically, The regime has denounced what he calls “chain migration.” His in-laws just became U.S. citizens by taking advantage of that program.

Ronald Reagan must be rolling over in his grave.