Donald Trump wants you terrified.
If you’re Muslim, he wants you to expect to be harassed every time you take a plane, even if you’re Muhammad Ali’s son. If you have family or friends who are documented, he wants you to think they can be snatched away at any time, even when seeking protection from a potential abuser. If you’re a legal immigrant, he wants you to know that if you’re shot and killed in cold blood, the president will not even bother to mourn you with a tweet.
This week, Adam Purinton reportedly shot Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani at a bar in Olathe, Kansas. Kuchibhotla died.
“He asked us what visa are we currently on and whether we are staying here illegally,” Madasan told the New York Times.
Purinton was removed from the bar and witnesses say he returned with a gun and shouted “get out of my country” as shots rang out.
If you only get your news from the president of the United States’ Twitter feed, you never heard about this crime. Instead, you’d think the greatest threat to America is a free press reporting on the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with the Russian government. And maybe if you’re Donald Trump, that does feel like the biggest threat in the world.
The rash of hate crimes, an unprecedented wave of anti-Semitic threats, and the federal government’s conscious and public attempts to intimidate non-white Americans all have incalculable costs to our unity and decency, along with calculable damage to our economy, which has been bleeding workers out of the middle class for decades.
“When racism wins,” Ian Haney-López and Heather C. McGhee wrote a year ago, “everyone loses.”
Even if Trump doesn’t go through with the trade wars that Steve Bannon — his Rasputin with a splash of Goebbels — seemed to promise again last week at CPAC, the damage inflicted by their war on American values will be immediate and then possibly permanent.
Trump’s religious ban can be tied to a Trump slump of 6.8 percent
“And the fall-off is not limited to Muslim travelers, but also extends to all incoming foreign tourists,” Frommer wrote. “Apparently, an attack on one group of tourists is regarded as an assault on all.”
Trump’s promised assault on undocumented workers is setting off waves of fear for those picking fruit in Florida and glee for Trump supporters.
Why the glee? Won’t this create new openings for Americans who are out of work?
“You can actually make a good living – $15, $20 an hour if you’re good at this – but the truth is Americans don’t want to do this work,” a “prominent Florida farmer” told the Chicago Tribune.
The farmer demanded anonymity, fearing reprisals from the Trump’s administration.
In the short term the decimation of the Sunshine State’s farming industry could result in higher produce prices to go along with the damage to its crucial tourist industry and the long-term curse of unchecked climate change — plus an ACA replacement plan that promises “for individuals ages 55 to 64, total weighted average costs would more than double, rising from $4,078 to $10,167 per year,” while the rich get a “gigantic tax cut.”
In exchange for helping to elect Trump, Florida seems to be racking up Biblical plagues.
The president must be assuming that the damage he can do to his “enemies” will make up for the betrayal of his supporters. But all of America will suffer if Trump’s war on the undocumented continues unabated, “with one study suggesting that removing all of them would cost the economy as much as $5 trillion over 10 years,” according to Bloomberg News.
And now we’re back to the incalculable costs. Madasani Jaganmohan Reddy, Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s father, understands those.
“The situation seems to be pretty bad after Trump took over as the U.S. president. I appeal to all the parents in India not to send their children to the United States in the present circumstances,” Reddy told the Hindustan Times.
For centuries, America has benefited from immigrants and their descendants, despite our history replete with slavery, segregation, and know-knothingism. Until a few weeks ago, anyone in the world could look to America and imagine a land where a son — or daughter — could become president.
Now, they see a country that elected a man who demanded our last president’s papers.
Hopefully they also see Ian Grillot — or at least learn his name.
“As shots rang through the suburban Kansas City bar on Thursday, Grillot ducked behind a table and when he thought the gunman was out of bullets, he lunged at the man,” the Hindustan Times reported. “But as the Kansas City Star reported, the man had still one round left and shot Grillot through the arm and chest.”
“It was just, it wasn’t right, and I didn’t want the gentleman to potentially go after somebody else,” he told the Star.
Now in stable condition, Grillot saw Alok Madasani standing in the doorway of his hospital room on Thursday morning. He learned the survivor of the shooting has a wife who is five months pregnant.
Grillot is looking forward to spending time with Madasani, who he now considers his new best friend.
“I don’t think it’s going to be at the bar, though,” he said.
That’s the kind of America the world needs to know. It hasn’t gone away yet, despite Donald Trump and Steve Bannon.