I was a kid the first time I heard of Martha’s Vineyard. Someone told me that the movie Jaws had been filmed there. Of course, I wondered who this Martha was and how she owned an entire ocean that she could just rent out for filming.
I’ve since learned that Martha’s Vineyard is a destination for rich liberals, and as such, it is a prime target for those conservatives who hate nothing more than a wealthy person who has committed class treason by rejecting ethno-fascism.
Now, we all know that the Republican Party is “an institution built almost entirely around spectacles of cruelty and humiliation.” We also know that “the key to supremacy within the Republican Party means embracing a cruel form of nihilism.”
Well, conservatives who love inflicting misery got a jolt of joy recently when the steely-eyed governor of Florida used his citizens’ tax dollars to fly immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, where they were basically dumped in the street.
That’ll show those liberals!
Of course, there are obvious issues with the Republican Party’s expensive ploy to troll progressives. For starters, the insistence that this sociopathic stunt was a protest against illegal immigration is nonsense, considering that the migrants were here legally and going through lawful channels to apply for asylum.
Second, the individuals were transported from Texas, and I’m pretty sure the Florida governor isn’t in charge of the Lone Star State.
Third, the state of Florida can’t make up its own immigration policies.
And fourth, human trafficking is illegal.
Those are just the immediate objections. Subsequent allegations have come out that involve mysterious women in disguises—now identified as Perla H. Huerta, a former combat medic and U.S. Army counterintelligence agent living in Tampa—forged documents, and shocking double-crosses.
Really, it’s the worst spy caper ever, as if Jason Bourne was a clumsy bigot whose top-secret mission was to get airtime on Fox News.
It’s no wonder the incident is under investigation and criminal charges are possible.
And as it turned out, the scheme backfired, because Martha’s Vineyard residents “rallied to assist the human beings DeSantis exploited as political props.” This outpouring of local support didn’t stop Republicans from insisting that progressives had rounded up immigrants and deported them, in a truly stellar example of flop-sweat, bald-faced lying.
As many have pointed out, the worst people in America tried to prove that everybody was just as horrible as they were, and when the exact opposite occurred, they pretended that it didn’t happen.
The cynical endeavor was another attempt to fulfill the conservative drive to inflict pain on Latinos. But it was also a desperate gamble “to distract from their unpopular stands on abortion, contraception, marriage equality, and so on, by hammering on the idea that the Democrats have created ‘open borders’ [and] that criminal immigrants are bringing in huge amounts of drugs.”
According to the GOP, this country is now in day 12,798 of an “invasion” at the southern border—by what must be the most inefficient army in history, as the foot soldiers never make any progress, despite hammering away at America for years on end. And yet, every election cycle, the “invasion” ramps up, right on cue, as if hordes of undocumented immigrants are just waiting for the midterms to make their move.
Regardless, the Martha’s Vineyard fiasco has conjured up comparisons to the infamous Reverse Freedom Rides of the 1960s, in which “segregationists concocted a way to retaliate against Northern liberals” by tricking hundreds of African Americans into moving north with promises of jobs and a better life.
That sounds suspiciously like the immigrants who received “promises of employment, housing, and other assistance” but got nothing except a one-way trip to a sparsely populated island.
Yes, the ruse is petty, malicious, and possible criminal. But it might help Republicans in the next election. And really, isn’t that all that matters?
These immigrants came to America “the right way,” which as we’re constantly hearing from conservatives, is perfectly fine. And yet they were lied to, manipulated, and put in danger, almost as if it doesn’t matter whether they played by the rules or not.
Exploiting human beings and using them as political pawns is no big deal to Republicans. In fact, what else are human beings good for, if it isn’t to help Republicans maintain power?
Now, it’s important to note that Republicans have never been about solving problems. Yes, they’re good at creating problems, from invading Iraq to provoking insurrections. They’re also good at bungling, from botching Katrina to flailing at Covid.
But solving actual issues? That’s just not their jam.
For the GOP, everything revolves around getting revenge and owning the libs. There is no interest in solutions. Boring ideas like innovative policies or improving the lives of Americans are, by Republicans’ own admission, “a far, far diminished priority.”
Fortunately for Republicans, their supporters don’t care if they even try.
And that’s why the idea of rounding up all the Latinos and flying them far away is so appealing to conservatives. To us, it is a “cheap political stunt to excite a base of despicable people who are okay with using brown people as weapons.”
But to the GOP, it is the vision of a perfect America.
Featured image: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA 2.0)