It is arguable that during the rough and tumble of the recent US Presidential election, there were two seminal moments. The first was the brouhaha surrounding Hillary Clinton’s emails which showed a woman capable of playing fast and loose with the system and abusing her position of authority when she was serving as Secretary of State for Barack Obama, remember him? But in the opinion of many commentators, her greatest mistake, and the one that cost her the Presidency, was to describe Donald Trump’s supporters as ‘a basket of deplorables’. After many sharp intakes of breath from media commentators, it was pointed out that there were 58 million ‘deplorables’, all of whom could vote for Trump, and they did. Come in President Trump, goodbye Hillary. End of story!
But not quite. These ‘deplorables’ for the most part were white, working class voters whose antecedents go back generations. They had menial jobs, and were called a number of disparaging names, such as Backwoodsmen, Hill Billies and Rednecks. Trump and his Mexican wall struck a chord, as they believed that illegal immigrant labour was costing them their jobs, and they might be right. On top of that there is a newly released film Patriots Day reliving the horror of the bombing of the Boston Marathon in 2013 by two immigrant brothers who could best be described as ‘jihadists’.
These are some of the undercurrents running around the corridors of power as President Trump seeks to close his country’s borders, or at the very least, to weed out the undesirables. On any view, it is a draconian step and one loudly criticised by the liberal establishment, with much placard waving, and chanting. It can also be criticised as ‘one size fits all’, and that isn’t fair, as a number of perfectly worthy and respectable aliens are being excluded. But the liberal establishment would do well to look beyond their placard waving and their chanting, and consider why this measure is desirable. If they can see that far, they need look no farther than the Syrian crisis and the way it has affected Germany, France, Italy, Greece and Turkey, all overwhelmed by refugees, some more needy than others, who swarmed over these countries with little or no thought of the consequences.
Some years ago, my wife and I were in Hollywood for the Golden Globes Awards, and we were staying at the Hollywood Hilton Hotel where the ceremony took place. I was struck by the fact that at every level in this hotel, the staff were from Mexico, just down the road. They paid no taxes, as they were illegal immigrants, and they took jobs which might otherwise have been done by the ‘deplorables’.
Finally, whilst the liberal establishment is hand wringing and bleating about human rights, they should remember that in this country, by far and away the most important issue of the referendum debate was immigration and our failure to control our own borders. Our own ‘deplorables’ do not want an open door policy to immigration. They do not want a Berlin, or Paris, or Nice, or Brussels atrocity on their doorstep, and if this means that some worthy aliens are excluded, it’s a price worth paying.