America the Inhospitable | Letters | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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America the Inhospitable



Willis Rynerson [“Homeless Being Bullied,” July 12, City Weekly] worries about aggressive policing near the Road Home. In my earlier letter [“Immigration Rhetoric Isn’t Working,” April 19, City Weekly], I expressed disdain for rights rhetoric in connection with illegal immigration. But I wish to clarify my views lest they come across as a lack of humanitarian sentiment. Perhaps I was reacting to Rolando Murillo’s reported claim that white guys could not survive work at the Swift meatpacking plant that was raided some years ago [“Swift Justice,” Dec. 8, 2011, City Weekly].

Even if the rights concept is inadequate as a descriptor of social good, I’d like to make clear that how a civilization treats its homeless and guests from abroad likely predicts its longevity. Both hospitalities turn abysmal in a United States that predicates itself upon gratification in private spheres. Life-support charities cut services or close—anyone remember the Salvation Army? A malevolent Saturn ejects its undocumented youth into a vacuum of cactus prairies even if schooled here from toddlerhood. The homeless often die on the streets early with little medical aid beforehand.

When it runs through its stocks of natural-resource access, political willpower, and military supremacy, having already rendered most of the other nations angry or envious, the United States will arrive at a humiliated state where its citizens no longer ride so high on this planet. I like to hope our country may lose its arrogance before then, but hold little optimism regarding these matters. Rynerson’s Nazified visions are hardly outlandish; cruel destruction can indeed be elected democratically.

Jesse Baker