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OpinionColumnistsMike Vogel

The 'great replacement' lie

This is an idiotic white supremacists' belief that people of color are stealing America.

Recently detained migrants, many of them family units,

Recently detained migrants, many of them family units, sit and await processing in the McAllen, Texas, facility on Aug. 12, 2019. Photo Credit: The Washington Post/Carolyn Van Houten

When I was a kid, my weekly allowance started disappearing from the Band-Aid box I kept it in. Simultaneously, I noticed my friend Alan, who liked to hang out in my room, was treating himself to extra slices of pizza and other goodies.

It wasn’t coincidence.

So, when I was in Alan’s home and he went to the bathroom, I snatched it back from his not-so-secret hiding place. A day later, Alan howled, “Some thief stole my money!” Uhm, Alan? You were the thief!

Which brings me to the idiotic white supremacists’ belief that people of color are stealing America — what they call the “great replacement.” This conspiracy theory, believed to have originated with French author Renaud Camus, says that white people are being replaced by an orchestrated invasion of people of color.

This belief recently led a young man to drive 600 miles across Texas and gun down innocent Hispanic shoppers in an El Paso. Not long before that, murderous bigots used a similar rationale in Christchurch, New Zealand; Poway, Calif.; and Pittsburgh.

Of course, the inconvenient truth for these white supremacist domestic terrorists is that they’re wrong. The only original Americans are Native Americans, who were tortured, cheated and killed for their land. Europeans invaded and replaced them, not vice versa.

For dark periods in our history, Italians, Irish, Jews and other immigrants who sought freedom were depicted and treated as subhuman. It was wrong then, and it is wrong now.

And Hispanics came for the same reason — not to replace whites, but to escape poverty and oppression, just as many of our ancestors did. Overwhelmingly, Hispanics are hardworking and have enriched American culture the same way other immigrants have, from the salsa you dance to and the salsa you eat, to the most innovative, inspiring, and yes, patriotic musical of this century.

Can we have open borders? No, and anyone trying to sneak in illegally should be sent back. But let’s live up to our American ideals. Those applying for asylum should be given due process and treated humanely. And those who are already U.S. citizens should not have to live in fear.

Make America American again.

 Follow playwright Mike Vogel at @mikewrite7.

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