Demonization in Eye of Beholder

CNN’s Don Lemmon: It’s Only Bad When Other People Do It

By Ken K. Gourdin

I commented earlier on the blog on the perfectly valid reasons why someone might seek to emigrate from, say, a Central American country to the United States, pointing out that many such people live in desperate poverty, squalor, and disease, rampant crime, and so on, where the rule is that it’s every man for himself. See here, this and all other links last accessed January 9. 2018:

https://www.greatgourdini.wordpress.com/2018/11/15/thoughts-on-the-migrant-caravan/.

Many of my ancestors were immigrants. As I mentioned in that blog post, my sister-in-law, mother to my niece and nephew (God rest her soul) was an immigrant. As Emma Lazarus wrote in words are inscribed on the Statue of Liberty:

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

For the full poem, see the following address:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46550/the-new-colossus.

This having been said, I think it is naive and foolish, at best, to assume that everyone who attempts to enter the country illegally does so with pure motives and noble, or at least benign, intentions. At worst, I think that, potentially, such an assumption is dangerous. If that were not the case, why bother having borders between one country and another, or having established procedures for seeking to leave one country and to enter another?

At least some of the people who seek to enter this country illegally do so because their intuition tells them (or because rumor has it) that it will be easier for them to ply their criminal enterprises, and that life will be easier for them even if they are caught and convicted here—what with our notions of presumed innocence until being proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, that it is better for a hundred guilty people to go free than it is for one innocent person to be convicted, due process, rights to a zealous advocate protecting their rights and mounting the most vigorous defense possible within the bounds of law and legal ethics which then is weighed by an impartial judge or by a neutral, dispassionate jury of people who are, in many respects (differences notwithstanding), not unlike the accused—than it would be for them to engage in such criminality in their home countries, in which the next-door-neighbor might be an informer and which are subject to brutal, oppressive, repressive, and often totalitarian regimes.

Yes, some of the people who have entered the country illegally do so because it will be easier for them to ply their criminal enterprises here than it would be under the suspicious eye of informing neighbors and under the possibility of brutal repression by the police without the benefit of the protections I enumerated earlier. Yes, many of those people—including many who come from Europe, such as from my sister-in-law’s home country of Italy—are white.

But as I’ve mentioned elsewhere on the blog, people are people: They’re not their characteristics. See here:

https://www.greatgourdini.wordpress.com/2015/03/14/people-are-people/;

and also here: https://greatgourdini.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/politics-and-divided-support/.

Seemingly without a trace of irony, in an exchange with fellow CNN commentator Chris Cuomo, CNN commentator Don Lemmon said, on the air, the following: “I keep trying to point out to people not to demonize any one group or one ethnicity,” whereupon he then says that the biggest terror threat in the United States is white men. Real Clear Politics has the Lemmon-Cuomo exchange here:

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/10/30/don_lemon_the_biggest_terror_threat_in_this_country_is_white_men.html.

Did you catch that? Mr. Lemmon says we shouldn’t demonize single groups of people simply because those groups happen to share a single characteristic in common—then he goes on to demonize white men. Mr. Lemmon is correct, though, to this extent: Criminals and terrorists—whether white, brown, black, the Purple People-Eater, or some other color—aren’t dangerous because of their race; criminals and terrorists are dangerous because they’re criminals and terrorists.

Ironically, the chyron which appeared under Mr. Lemmon and Mr. Cuomo during this exchange says, “Facts first.” And I suppose Mr. Lemmon has concluded, “Demonizing is only bad when other people do it,” and he must follow the old adage, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

About kenngo1969

Just as others must breathe to live, I must write. I have been writing creatively almost ever since I learned to write, period! I have written fiction, book- and article-length nonfiction, award-winning poetry, news, sports, features, and op-eds. I hope, one day, to write some motivational nonfiction, a decent-selling novel, a stage play, and a screen play.
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