On April 21, the Press Herald published an opinion column by Jonette Christian that espouses mass deportation of immigrants, which is the first step towards ethnic cleansing. She also previously wrote an opinion about the “globalists,” a well-known “dog-whistle” euphemism for Jews.

It can be difficult to ascertain the true motives of the alt-right, because they have become experts at veiling their vision of white nationalism in dry, academic discourse. There can be no equivocating about this. When Ms. Christian makes apocryphal claims such as that immigrants take American jobs, and that “globalists” have complete control of the media, she is advocating ethnic cleansing. First, they assure us that they’re only concerned with “illegal immigrants.” Once that scapegoat is exhausted, and the problems of the country persist, they will identify a different group to blame. The scapegoating proliferates until we reach the point where Martin Niemöller declared, “First they came for the Socialists …”

Many of the grievances the alt-right exploits are legitimate, but it is their proposed solutions that are deeply problematic. Blaming one group of human beings for immigrating here is not only simplistic – and neglectful of America’s unique history – it is heartless. This is exemplified when Ms. Christian says that we shouldn’t care that families have been separated under the new hyper-vigilant immigration policy – she assures us that they’re criminals anyway. The point being that criminals are undeserving of our sympathy. As criminals they are less than citizens, less than human. Therefore it shouldn’t be a problem to deny them basic human rights.

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities,” said Voltaire. Hopefully Press Herald readers haven’t fallen victim to the ugly scapegoating that is proliferating in our country today.

Grayson Lookner

Portland