Tuesday, December 27, 2022

A Christmas Story

Here's the heartwarming part of the story:
A group of migrants was dropped off outside Vice President Kamala Harris' D.C. home on Christmas Eve, as temperatures dropped into the teens and some people were seen without adequate winter clothes....

The Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network was there to take all three busloads of people to a church to help provide them with necessary resources and welcome them to our area.

"This is a welcome effort that we've been doing since the first bus arrived," said Amy Fischer, a core organizer with the Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network. "D.C. just continues to show up as a welcoming city that is always ready and willing to open their arms to welcome people, whether it's Christmas Eve, whether it's 9 degrees outside or 90 degrees outside."
Also here:
“One of the things that’s always really beautiful to see — particularly after folks are able to get hot food into their bellies — is seeing how they open up,” Fischer said. “You have people calling their families, kids running around.”

Volunteers also helped the migrants figure out how they could get to friends and family who they had hoped to stay with or connected them with housing. Laborde said that her team was able to purchase about 90 bus and plane tickets for the migrants. New York and New Jersey were the main destinations. The farthest was Boston.
Extraordinary compassion and generosity are a staple of Christmas movies, whether it's post-conversion Scrooge caring for Tiny Tim or the whole of Bedford Falls bailing out the Baileys, and it's always heartening to see it in real life.

But extraordinary malevolence is also a staple. Here's the part that features Old Man Potter or pre-conversion Scrooge:
Fischer said this latest drop-off was a political stunt by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, using people as pawns.

“It really does show the cruelty behind Gov. Abbott and his insistence on continuing to bus people here without care about people arriving late at night on Christmas Eve when the weather is so cold. People are getting off the buses, they don’t have coats, they don’t have clothes for this kind of weather, and they’re freezing," Fischer said.
It's no longer news when Abbott pulls this kind of stunt, sending migrants to locations strategically chosen for the potential to own the libs, without coordinating with federal or local authorities, and without regard to the available resources there. What is news is doing it on Christmas Eve. It's a monumental Fuck You to what used to be broadly shared notions of basic human decency, a gesture so flagrantly contemptuous that even some of us who believe nothing is beneath the GOP found it startling. Forget about "I was a stranger and ye took me in"; in Greg Abbott's world the true meaning of Christmas is owning the libs.

It's possible that Greg Abbott miscalculated this time. Last Tuesday he sent a belligerent letter filled with the usual demagoguery, in another attempt to milk the "border crisis" for political gain. (Ironically, he pegged this letter to expected cold temperatures in Texas...and the migrants arrived on the coldest Christmas Eve ever recorded in DC.) Since Christmas, though, he's been largely silent, apart from a perfunctory response to White House criticism. There doesn't seem to be any DeSantis-style gloating this time, from Abbott or (as far as I can tell) the right-wing media bubble.

But he did what he did. I remain touched by the kindness of the people who helped the migrants, but I'm also sickened by the absolute moral degeneracy of the villains in this story.

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