Prior to 1920, the Great Other in American culture was the seducer in the big city. The innocent young girl from the country would be picked up by the man with oily, slicked-back hair and pencil thin moustache. Or, an innocent young man from the country would find himself in the clutches of a painted lady. Oh, the horrors!
This began to change in 1920 because the census revealed more people were living in the city than the country.
By the 1970s we had the movie “Deliverance” which showed the dangers that city folks faced in the rural backwoods. There were inbred mutants laying in wait, ever ready to cornhole you and maybe even bite your pecker off. Oh, the horrors!
Now the Other is shifting again. Because of the liberals ‘reforming’ immigration in 1965 and in the 1980s with the Reagan Regime no longer guarding the border for reasons of cheap labor, there’s now more than one Other to choose from.
There may now be more Muslims than Jews in the country, so Muslims are an obvious Other. Never mind that the Bush-Cheney campaign vigorously courted the Islamic vote in 2000 in order to try to counteract the overwhelming Jewish vote for the Democrats. After the election, the new Bush-Cheney Junta awarded extra visas for Saudis. Lucky us.
Now there is a great hysteria concerning a proposed Islamic Center close to ground zero of the 9/11 attacks. I personally think it’s a little awkward and in poor taste. Especially since St Nicholas Orthodox Church was the only church buried on 9/11 and the City has been giving the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese the run around for 9 years.
Still, I give a flying you know what as to the building of an Islamic Center. I oppose the hysteria simply because I think the Anti-Muslim hysteria is being whipped up by Neocons as a prep for more wars in the Middle East. The simple-minded and aging cadres of the Tea Party movement are being sucked right in.
Now if the Republicans ever get their way and are able to chisel Reagan’s likeness on to Mount Rushmore, make sure the old boy is wearing a sombrero. After all, we owe Reagan for dramatically increasing the Latino population of the USA. He funded dirty wars in Central America in order to prevent the local folks from improving their lot. Many headed for El Norte. And the Reagan Regime, as we noted earlier, had quit guarding the border.
Now there’s this great hysteria about Mexicans. They are the other big Other. Never mind all the golf courses they built for the Republican elite in Arizona.
The Religious Right is now trying to mute the hysteria. It seems the preachers have discovered that a significant slice of Latinos can be lured into storefront churches of the Pentecostal type with their praying for riches schtick.
Now Reagan proclaimed it was “Morning in America.” But a wall is now under construction along the border with Mexico, AFTER the damage has been done.
The wall is a symbol of the American Empire in decline. THAT’S the REAL reason for the hysteria and the search for scapgoats among the Other.
Great empires expand beyond their own borders. Empires in decline build walls.