Scapegoating: A TrageComedy on the 2008 Republican Agenda
Early December 2006. The curtain opens on the Oval Office. It's holiday season at the White House. A large Christmas tree near the window is decorated with photos of Iraqis who have died in the war. On the President's desk sits a gold menorah with a note attached: "Thanks from Israel." The President is sitting in his desk chair, slumped forward, his head on the desk.
George W. Bush: What are we going to do, Karl? We got a thumping! What are we going to do? (starts sobbing softly)
Karl Rove: Pull yourself together, Junior. I've got a plan for '08.
Bush: The gays? (perking up) Are we going to go after the gays again?
Rove: No, no Junior. We climbed that mountain but it broke.
Bush: But Karl, I don't know how to quit you.
Rove: Not now, George.
Bush: So what's the plan, then?
Bush: You mean the folks from south of the Great Wall?
Rove: Yup, those hard working dupes who come here hoping they can make a better future for their families. F*%#ng criminals!
Bush: But Karl, I thought I supported immigration reform. I even speak Spanish!
Rove: That was when we were courting their votes. But now they've figured out we're dismantling the American dream and putting it on a slow boat to China.
Bush: Mao. I mean, wow.
Rove: Meanwhile, our beloved Right wing evangelicals...
Bush and Rove (in unison): God bless them every one!
Rove: ... they're also pissed their jobs are leaving, their kids' schools are crumbling, their health insurance is disappearing. And they'll blame us too...
Bush: Unless we blame someone else!
Rove: Right, kiddo. (pats Bush on head) And that's where the immigrants come in. It's easier to get the American people to blame dark skinned folks for their problems rather than greedy, white CEOs.
Bush: Because of racism, Karl?
Rove: That's on our bad word list, Junior.
Bush: Oh, right.
Rove: So, you have to start talking about enforcement. Getting tough. Cracking down. Locking up.
Bush: Book 'em, Pablo!
Rove: Uh, yeah. And we have to start raiding some factories, get some pictures of armed federal officers in flack jackets dragging some immigrant madres and padres from their jobs, handcuffing them and throwing them back over the wall.
Bush: The GREAT wall!
Rove: Then TV will show pictures of kids, abandoned by their neglectful parents - cute little babies, in the arms of strangers, crying for their mommies.
Bush: "Mami! Papi!" (mockingly wrings his hands in his face, faking tears)
(They both laugh)
Rove: Get tough, George. Then the country will know whose side we're really on.
Rove: Best part is, those tree-hugging advocates for "fairness and justice" will be so busy caring for orphaned children, they'll have no time left to try and improve the immigration laws.
Bush: You mean if we get mean and nasty on a few undocumented immigrants, we can keep being mean and nasty to all the undocumented immigrants?
Rove: Yes, Junior. But call them illegals.
Bush: Right. Um, does that mean it's criminal to be around one?
Rove: No, we couldn't get that law passed.
Rove: What? Anyway...
Bush: What do we do about the working class white folks and other people of color? Won't they realize we're just manipulating them, distracting them from the real source of their problems - like, um, our campaign contributors or, um, our policies?
Rove: Junior, haven't you learned a thing!?!? The guns and ammo guys aren't going to be flaming queens anytime soon, nor are their marriages really at risk.
Bush: Of course. They'd shoot their wives if they left them.
Rove: Of course! But still, gay marriage scared their chaps off.
Bush: Ah! You mean skateboarding!
Rove: No, George (slapping his forehead). SCAPEGOATING!
Bush: Right. But why don't the gays work anymore?
Rove: Oh, I don't know. The rise of metrosexuals. More men in fur lined coats. Ellen. Tom Cruise. For Chrissake, look at your teal tie!
Bush: Fabulous, right?
Rove: Point is, you can't pick on the same community forever. Need a fresh target.
Bush: So what happens when folks wise up and the immigrant baiting is out?
Rove: Hmmmm.... Maybe we could pick on gay immigrants!
Bush (coyly to Rove): Ai, papi!Rove: Not now, George.
Sally Kohn is the Director of the Movement Vision Project at the Center for Community Change, which coordinates the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, a coalition of grassroots immigrant rights organizations from across the United States.