President Trump’s First Hundred Days:
An American Political Fantasy (V4: New Material at End)
© William Leiss 2016
Shortly after New Year’s Day, anticipating the Inauguration Ceremony later that month, some hundreds of local armed groups started to ready themselves for the tasks ahead. They assumed a variety of names, such as “2nd Amendment Militia,” “Protection Posse,” and “Red State Raiders.” Almost immediately after January 20th, the roundups of suspected illegal immigrants began. With an estimated eleven million undocumented aliens to choose from, there was much to be done.
In shop basements, empty warehouses, abandoned factories, and derelict houses across the towns and cities of many states, including those which had voted marginally “blue” during the November election, tens of thousands of individuals and families were gathered and kept under guard. Spokespersons for these operations displayed copious quantities of illegal drugs which, they maintained, had been seized from the detainees, although it at least one instance it was revealed that the drugs had been borrowed from a police evidence locker.
It was not long before the public outcry elsewhere forced state governors to plead with the new President for federal funds to assist them in managing this dangerously unstable situation. The President agreed that those who had been rounded up needed the protection of legal processes while they were in temporary custody. The requested funds were quickly pledged, and state officials started assisting the transfer of the captives to public facilities such as empty barracks at former military bases; where no such facilities were available, tent cities were erected and encircled with razor-wire fences.
The President joked that the camp conditions were not going to resemble those in his signature hotels, but he insisted that all detainees were being treated very humanely. However, he added, measures would soon be under way to transport the first wave of them from the camps to the Mexican border for deportation.
Quickly Mexican officials countered that its border would be sealed to prevent the entry of any persons held in U. S. custody who did not possess proper identity documents, including proof of Mexican citizenship. (A senior Mexican official commented, “A wall along the border works both ways.”) Since the overwhelming majority of those from the camps had no identity documents at all, it was impossible to predict how long this stalemate might persist.
Meanwhile, during this same period of run-up to the Inauguration and the weeks following, large contingents marched in cities under the “Black Lives Matter” banner. Blacks had voted for the defeated presidential candidate in overwhelming numbers, and many of them thought they knew what was coming. Increasingly the local armed militias called upon their members to line the parade routes, and the warning was understood. When individual blacks began to be shot in areas adjacent to the main events, protest organizers called upon their own supporters, which included many whites, to form armed contingents to protect the marchers. The calls for restraint from police forces were ignored. Thus Month One came to a close.
No sooner were the first camps up and running than drones appeared overhead, which turned out to be operated by opponents who were posting videos on the Internet, including some showing appalling sanitary conditions as well as inadequate food and medical care. When attempts were made to shoot them down, massed sorties of dozens of drones were launched to overwhelm the shooters.
Then at a large camp located near a state border, a heavily-armed contingent calling themselves “Blue State Raiders” launched their first operation, cutting the fences and freeing hundreds of captives, escorting them along back roads and forest tracks, previously scouted by drone reconnaissance, and across the state line. The escapees were housed in dozens of prepared sanctuaries, mostly in church basements. Many others were inspired by this initial success to plan and carry out similar ventures as increasing numbers of tickets for the new Underground Railroad were printed.
Soon mass arrests at the larger and larger “Black Lives Matter” marches overwhelmed local prison facilities. State officials reasoned that they had no choice but to arrange to open a second set of temporary camps, a move which was justified on the grounds that the arrestees needed protection while awaiting trial.
The back-and-forth strategies around both sets of camps escalated. Razor-wire enclosures were electrified as a further safety measure, the President explained, to prevent those in custody from being terrorized and kidnapped by the Blue State Raiders. But this and other measures failed to stop the numerous successful attacks, and the numbers of those escorted into the sanctuary states rose dramatically, even as the camp system itself was continuously refilled with newer detainees. Attempts by Red State Raiders to carry out missions against some sanctuary sites, in order to return former captives to the camps, were thwarted by quick police action. Thereafter some state governors called out their National Guard troops to protect the sanctuary sites. Thus ended Month Two.
As the nation reached the end of Month Three and the First Hundred Days, the Republican elected officials who controlled both the Senate and the House were happily proceeding with their own agendas, filling dozens of federal judicial appointments denied to the former president with suitable candidates; slashing tax rates for the rich and entitlement programs for the rest; repealing Obamacare, while promising to replace it with something better in the future; refusing to act on the President’s campaign pledge for a national child care program; and planning constitutional amendments to outlaw permanently same-sex marriage and abortion and to entrench control over voter eligibility firmly in the hands of state governments.
But even as the President watched with pleasure the opposing national party contort itself into an ineffective frenzy following his election, troubles were beginning to appear on the horizon. He knew full well that the illegal immigrant issue would not be enough to distract his supporters forever. The red state denizens who had packed his election rallies were already demanding that the new President fulfill his pledge to bring millions of well-paying jobs back from abroad by tearing up the international trade agreements which stood in the way. The projected federal budget deficit was soaring, and for this and obvious other reasons creditor nations were finally starting to doubt their longstanding faith in the safe haven represented by the U. S. dollar.
His party in Congress had made it clear that they were not prepared to deal with such minor issues. The President knew he could not avoid now turning to the task of bringing his own party into line. He was sure he could do this in short order, and if it turned out that he needed some help in the matter, he was quite certain that his good friend in Russia’s Presidential Palace would oblige.
A Special Note for Canadians:
Anyone in Canada who remembers the period 1965 – 1970 will also recall the long-running influx of Americans opposed to the Vietnam War: first, the draft resisters, numbering some 30,000, followed by the U.S. Army deserters, a much smaller number but counting individuals who took much greater personal risks to seek sanctuary here. The first group posed little problem for the Canadian government, since the resisters were not actively pursued by U. S. authorities, and most of them had financial support from their families. The second group, however, presented a unique situation: To the best of my knowledge, no NATO member country had ever before received a large contingent of military deserters from another NATO power and declined to repatriate them.
But the government of Pierre Eliot Trudeau did just that. They were allowed to stay and apply for permanent residence, and five years later they could qualify for citizenship here. Some returned after President Carter’s 1977 amnesty, but many did not. Canada as a country benefited from these two waves of grateful and productive new citizens.
It is eerily appropriate that we now have another Trudeau as Prime Minister, because, fellow Canadians, he and we should be getting ready for the next set of asylum-seekers at our southern border. Should the scenario sketched above come to pass, there may very well be a flood of “illegal” immigrants from South America, now living in the U. S., who will be fleeing deportation. There may also be a fair number of Afro-American citizens who fear harsh crackdowns on black protests against police and perhaps private violence. And there may even be numbers of white U. S. citizens who do not face persecution but who do not wish to live in the kind of country that Trump’s supporters intend to create.
We would be wise to consider these possibilities in advance and not just wait to see what might happen.
September 30, 2016
To be continued. Comments and Suggestions welcome.