erik lundegaard

Caravans

Yesterday, after listening to NPR, I checked to see how often The New York Times wrote about the caravan to Mexico this month.

From Oct. 1 to Oct. 12? Bupkis.

The first time the story appeared was on Oct. 13, an AP piece entitled “Spontaneous Caravan of Migrants Winds Way Through Honduras.” What did the migrants want? What they usually want: “...reaching a better life in the United States.” Also this tidbit: They organized via WhatsApp chats. Trump isn't mentioned.

The second time, from the same day, Reuters mentions an earlier caravan in April, along with Trump's zero-tolerance policy. 

The next day, the caravan was “growing” and “swelling” as it crossed the Guatemalan border. The day after is when Trump politicized it and the story exploded. 

I don't know what the answer is. You can't let in everyone who wants to come to the U.S. But demonizing the group is obviously a political stunt by Trump to stir up hatred for the midterms—or just generally. Because that's what he does: stirs up hatred. See Stephen King's reaction:

Last night, I came across the following in Jill Lepore’s ”These Truths: A History of the United States,“ about the settling of the Oregon territory, where I live. 

More immediately, [Pres. James K.] Polk wanted to acquire Oregon, an expanse of achingly beautiful land that included all of what later became Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, and much of what later became Montana and Wyoming.

”Our title to the country of Oregon is clear and unquestionable,“ Polk announced, as if willing this to be true. Britain, Russia, Spain, and Mexico had all made claims to the Oregon Territory. Americans, though, had been staking their claim by moving there. They'd been heading west from Missouri along the arduous Oregon Trail, a series of old Indian roads that cut across mountains and unfurled over valleys and snaked along streams. In 1843, some eight hundred Americans traveled the Oregon Trail, carrying their children in their arms and pulling everything they owned in wind-swept wagons. With Polk's pledge behind them, hundreds became thousands. They traveled in caravans, guided by little more than books like Lansford W. Hastings's Emigrants' Guide to Oregon and California...

A group of people moving in caravans to new lands and, rather than assimilating, taking it over. Either we don't know our history, or what we fear is ourselves.

Extra credit: They Might Be Giants' ”James K. Polk,“ and Van Morrison's ”Caravan." 

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Posted at 03:21 AM on Mon. Oct 22, 2018 in category Politics  

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