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In the 1960’s Republican political strategist Kevin Phillips proposed what became known as the “Southern Strategy.” The “Southern Strategy” aimed to intentionally activate, disinhibit and manipulate racial passions among Southern Whites in efforts to intensify racial polarization in the South and to channel those activated and disinhibited racial passions towards political objectives including the passing of “tough on crime” legislation and increasing the membership of White Republican voters, all at the expense of the Black community. With the support of Steven Bannon and Cambridge Analytica, Trump’s Presidential campaign implemented the same racist psycho-political “Southern Strategy” during the 2016 elections with the utilization of modern technology and modern statistical models, intentionally intensifying racial tensions throughout the nation for political gain. Now, the Trump Administration through efforts coordinated by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is attempting to intensify the “Southern Strategy” in California in general and in Orange County in specific at the expense of communities of color and immigrants living in California.
Last Tuesday, the highly coordinated attacks continued against California and Constitutional Cities declaring themselves Sanctuaries for immigrant communities. As previously revealed by the Orange County Register and various op-eds last week, the Trump Administration continues to coordinate a strategic two-pronged assault on California as a result of declaring itself a Sanctuary State through the passing of SB 54, the CA Values Act. The two-pronged assault involves an outside strategy and an inside strategy. The outside strategy is led by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and aims to legally challenge the California Values Act. The inside strategy led by white nationalist think tanks, such as FAIR and ILRI, aims to encourage elected officials throughout cities in California to join the legal attack against SB 54, as well as for cities to disobey the rule of law and misuse taxpayer money by launching their own legal attacks against the State of California over the Values Act. In this manner, the Trump Administration continues to disrupt and destabilize California from the inside by also targeting and manipulating the perceptions of its residents through misinformation about the immigrant community in order to disinhibit and foment racism, anger, rage, hate and acts of disgust against immigrant families.
This is extremely dangerous. We must not forget the real historical and contemporary dangers of disinhibited anger, rage, disgust, racism and/or intolerance. The dangers of such disinhibitions include different forms of violence, one form being gun violence. Our nation is currently torn over gun violence ranging from gun violence in the community to police involved shootings to mass school shootings such as the recent massacre in Parkland, Florida in which 17 people were killed and the nation was impacted. That is why we must not tolerate the Trump Administration’s continued efforts to foment and spread a disinhibitory message of intolerance, anger and hate, which inherently promotes acts of aggression and violence. It is not acceptable for such a dangerous message to be promoted and spread by the presidential administration. As people, we must heed the better angels of our nature and must stand in unity against all forms of violence and intolerance. This includes not only taking a collective stand against sexual harassment in the workplace or against gun violence, this also includes taking a collective and unified stand in defense of Sanctuary laws and against messages aiming to disinhibit acts of aggression against the immigrant community and against the State of California.
Some residents are old enough to hear the echoes of Prop. 187 in the era of Pete Wilson among the recent attacks against Sanctuary laws and against the immigrant community in California. It is time for Californians to come together once again and not tolerate these racist attacks on our communities and on our state. Contrary to the great deceiving machine of the Trump Administration, immigrants are a community with strong roots and strong values. We share many similarities with people who are being manipulated into being against Sanctuary laws and into forgetting our humanity. We struggle to make ends meet just like the average American does, when we get cut we all bleed, when our children get sick we all go to the same hospitals for treatment, when a loved ones dies we all mourn. However, as undocumented immigrants often times we do not have the opportunity to return back home and say goodbye when our fathers, mothers or grandparents pass away. It is time for the sleeping Giant and the silent majority in California to wake up and break the silence. It is time to unite against this dangerous wave of intolerance and racism being intentionally fomented by the Trump Administration.
In the midst of this wave of intolerance and racism, last Tuesday, a Constitutional City in Orange County led by example and showed formidable valor by publicly taking a stand to uphold not only strong California values, but strong American values as well. Last week, the courageous City Council of Santa Ana voted to file an amicus brief against the Sessions lawsuit challenging the California Values Act while other cities, such as the City of Fullerton, voted (3-1-1) to shut down an anti-sanctuary proposal. In doing so, the City of Santa Ana has voted to stand with California and to defend its local Sanctuary ordinance, which upholds Constitutional rights for everyone regardless of status and protects immigrant residents. The question is, will other cities and elected officials join the City of Santa Ana and the State of California in taking a decisive step in defense of sanctuary, a decisive step towards justice, a decisive step against the dangerous assaults coordinated by the Trump Administration?
* Views expressed here are of the individual and not of Resilience Orange County *
Claudia Perez is the Executive Director for Resilience Orange County, an immigrant rights and youth empowerment organization that focuses on social-systemic transformation and building resilient youth leaders. She has spent the last 5 years working on issues regarding the school to prison to deportation pipeline, which disproportionately impacts youth of color.
Opinions expressed in editorials belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.
Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue or others please contact Voice of OC Involvement Editor Theresa Sears at TSears@voiceofoc.org