In a segment today about rhetoric and Saturday’s mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith issued a warning regarding the way politicians use fear in order to motivate people to go to the polls.
During the discussion with criminologist and attorney Casey Jordan, Smith referred to the “not-coming-to-get-you, not-caravan-of-invaders that politicians are using to gin up fear and get them to the polls.”
He continued, “And shut up about drawing lines. This rhetoric exists, this man said this thing, and now this thing happened, so stop it. Look in the mirror and calm down.”
The discussion later turned to the recent announcement that U.S. troops are being deployed to the southern border in response to the migrants traveling through Central America to reach the United States. The caravan from Honduras is currently at least 1,000 miles from the border.
According to Smith, the caravan is not an urgent issue because it will not arrive for at least another two months, but partisans are treating it as such because of the midterm elections next Tuesday:
Shep Smith on the migrant caravan: "There is no invasion. No one is coming to get you. There is nothing at all to worry about." pic.twitter.com/4dLmPuZem0
— Jon Passantino (@passantino) October 29, 2018
SHEPARD SMITH: Tomorrow — the migrants, according to Fox News reporting, are more than two months away, if any of them actually come here — but tomorrow is one week before the midterm election, which is what all of this is about. There is no invasion, no one’s coming to get you, there’s nothing at all to worry about. When they did this to us, got us all riled up in April, remember? The result was fourteen arrests. We’re America, we can handle it. But, like I said, a week till the election.
Smith made a similar observation last week, when he stated that Trump and the Republican party are running on fears of invasion.
As Allahpundit correctly noted then, Democrats should be prepared for questions on how the government will handle large numbers of migrants at the border and how to ensure America’s immigration policies and procedures are followed.
However, several of Smith’s points were also logical and reasonable.
During the next thousand miles, the Central American migrants might grow weary and change their minds; many may decide they’d rather not complete months of travel. For example, the April situation mentioned by Smith was a caravan of 1,500 people at its largest; however, according to the New York Times, the group had shrunk to “fewer than one-third of its original size” by the time it actually reached the United States in May.
Furthermore, some of the rhetoric regarding the caravan, such as calling the migrants “invaders,” is purposely over-the-top and designed to invoke images of masses of people lawlessly charging over the border. However, applying for asylum at a port of entry is the legal process; the website for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services states, “to apply for asylum in the U.S., you must be physically present in the U.S. or seeking entry into the U.S. at a port of entry.”
And ultimately, we should be cognizant of how we view and treat people differently depending upon the labels we can apply to them or the categories we can divide them into. It seems as though too often, our feelings about, and treatment of, a person are affected by the “box” in which we place that person, such as immigrant or foreigner as opposed to citizen or American, respectively.
We can support our immigration policies and procedures without demonizing non-Americans or portraying the situation as “us versus them” (“foreigners invading our land”). We can demand our immigration policies and procedures be followed without automatically assuming the worst about those seeking to come to America; many Americans should remember that it was merely our good fortune and luck to be born in this exceptional country and that, for centuries, the allure of the American Dream has enticed others to become American.
And we should all be wary of politicians who stoke fear and use divisive rhetoric in order to push their agendas and advance their careers.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarahmquinlan.