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Changing the “Us” and “Them” Rhetoric

| Feb 8, 2024 | Firm News

I have a healthy dose of skepticism towards the corporate mainstream American news. This has developed over the last few years, even before the Brian Williams scandal. I recently read a great Rick Steves op-ed piece called “Tune out cable news and turn away fear.” He writes:

“After traveling and lecturing across the United States in recent months, it strikes me that our nation has never been so racked with fear. The paramount concern is “national security”: the fear that apocalyptic forces outside America’s borders — Islamic State, Ebola, immigrants from Latin America — will creep in and overwhelm us.

But the more I travel, the clearer it seems to me: Fear is for people who don’t get out much…

“[O]pinions end up being shaped by sensationalistic media coverage geared toward selling ads. Sadly, fear-mongering politicians desperate for your vote pile on too.

Commercial television news is hammering “the land of the brave” with scare tactics as never before. I believe the motivation is not to make us safer. It’s to boost ratings to keep advertisers satisfied and turn a profit.”

Steves’ article really hit home. The fear mongering is at an all time high – pushing the idea of “otherness” and “borders” through such topics as the “war on terror”, Ferguson, inflammatory immigration rhetoric (including the recent injunction against expanded DACA and various state anti-immigration laws), the ebola scare, measles and the vaccine debate, and on and on.

Of course, being an immigration lawyer, the word “borders” has lots of connotations. The word “others” does too, including horror movies. One thing I’ve learned from working as an immigration lawyer and having an international clientele base is the simple fact that people are basically the same and want the same things. Doing what I do for a living has actually stripped away borders for me, because I see people as being all the same, even with different accents and culture clash. Feeding into the fear just causes loads of needless anxiety. But I guess that is the best way to sell products and votes.

By Grace Alano.  Grace Alano is an immigration attorney at Alano Immigration in San Francisco, CA. Find Grace Alano on Google+