Welcome to the drunk uncle-ization of the U.S.

| Posted in: Humor

Got a busload of immigrant children? We’ll scream at ’em.

Got a problem with gun violence? We’ll flaunt our assault rifles in the aisles of Target.

Worried about the environment? Too bad, sucker, we’re busy customizing our pickups with smokestacks that belch black exhaust into the air.

Welcome to the drunk uncle-ization of America.

A country made up mostly of good, intelligent, kindhearted people is letting a small but noisy part of the populace paint an entirely different face for the world to see, a face that sneers at reason and science, and eschews kindness for righteous indignation. With the voracious 24-hour news cycle and the reach of social media, these people are making us the embarrassing relative that causes the other nations at the dinner table to shake their heads.

Perhaps it’s time we found a way to sober up.

The most recent unsavory images transmitted globally were of sweaty Americans lined up across a road in Murrieta, Calif., blocking three buses full of immigrant mothers and children, shouting at them and holding signs that read “Return to Sender” and “Send Them Home.”

What those protesters fail to understand is that these immigrants are being processed per the laws of the land. Most of them come from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and the unaccompanied children are protected under the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush.

While Mexican immigrants who enter the country illegally can be swiftly deported, the 2008 law says minors from Central America have to be detained and given a chance to appear before a judge.

That kind of nuance is lost on people who like to stand outside and yell.

Of course the more important issue is that the buses targeted were filled with children — some with their mothers, others unaccompanied — fleeing vicious gang and drug cartel violence. Per a recent report by the Women’s Refugee Commission:

“Children from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador cited the growing influence of youth gangs and drug cartels as their primary reason for leaving. Not only are they subject to violent attacks by the gangs, they explained, they are also targeted by police, who assume out of hand that all children are gang-affiliated. Girls also face gender-based violence, as rape becomes increasingly a tool of control.”

There are thoughtful discussions to be had about how this country can improve its immigration policies and handle the huge number of immigrants already here illegally. But these are children we’re talking about, children traversing hundreds of miles to escape violence that, according to an analysis by the news website Vox, has been statistically worse for civilians than it was in Iraq during the height of the war.

Most Americans would be sympathetic to the plight of these kids. That’s not to say we simply open our doors and say, “Come on in,” but we certainly stop well short of rolling out a xenophobic Unwelcome Wagon like the one that met the buses in Murrieta. But the knuckleheads out there did what they did, and this should be the headline: “Nation of immigrants who fled persecution persecutes immigrants fleeing persecution, irony surrenders to stupidity.”

Because that’s what this is — stupidity. And we’re letting it define the rest of us.

There were more than 80 people shot in Chicago over the holiday weekend. The world sees that, and it also sees the images of gun-toting Texans carrying rifles into fast-food restaurants to make an obstinate point.

We have politicians and pundits openly dismissing scientists as witch doctors while ignoring even the most basic arguments against pollution, and rebellious anti-environmental citizens “rolling coal,” a trend where diesel trucks are rigged to spew black smoke.

Reasonable Americans — that is to say, most of us — favor sensible gun laws, care about the environment, would like to see our immigration system reformed and generally steer clear of yelling at busloads of children.

But Fox News highlights the “patriotic” immigration protesters, knowing its viewers will eat it up. Then MSNBC highlights the same protesters because it feeds the network’s desire to misrepresent all conservatives as kooky. Then blogs and social media follow suit and, before long, America is the drunk uncle.

It really has to stop. And it seems the first step is admitting that we have a problem.

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