When I read the New Zealand shooter’s manifesto, what struck me most were the similarities between his writings and some of the things I hear from members of Congress on immigration.
I don’t blame anybody but this shooter for his horrible actions, and I’m not suggesting there’s some equivalence between what he has done and what some lawmakers have said.
But I do think it’s quite telling that the way this shooter talked about immigration is also how I hear some Republicans talk about the issue.
HuffPost has decided not to link to the shooter’s apparent 74-page manifesto. But in reality, the language from that document is already out there. His views and rhetoric have an eerie resemblance to some of the things two particular Republicans ― Steve King (R-Iowa) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) ― say about immigration, and that’s worth discussing.
Gohmert and King have denounced the shooting, and there’s no reason to doubt they genuinely are saddened by this massacre.
Still, it’s fair to evaluate how dehumanizing rhetoric has real impact in the ways people think about immigrants, particularly in light of this horrendous attack.
So in the interest of a more introspective immigration debate, let’s look at some of the remarkable similarities between the shooter’s writings and these lawmakers’ words.
This is how the shooter begins his manifesto:
If there is one thing I want you to remember from these writings, it’s that the birthrates must change, even if we we were to deport all non-Europeans from our lands tomorrow, the European people would still be spiraling into decay and eventual death.
And here’s something King said in August 2018 about fertility rates:
I’m watching emotion take over reason. When I made a statement on Twitter saying, “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” it seemed to be more irritating to the left than anything I have ever said. First of all, the total fertility rate in Europe is below replacement rate. When that happens, you are a dying civilization.
Here’s the shooter on the unprecedented “invasion” of immigration:
We are experiencing an invasion on a level never seen before in history. Millions of people are pouring across our borders, legally, invited by the state and corporate entities to replace the white people who have failed to reproduce, failed to create cheap labor, new consumers and tax base that the corporations and states needs to thrive.
And here’s Gohmert in 2014, on the House floor, talking about how immigration is an “invasion” unseen since D-Day:
We know that the invasion into France by the Allied Forces consisted of about 150,000 troops. About 150,000 people was the biggest invasion in history. And since then, we come up to the year 2014 and the New York Times reported that just in the recent months we have had 240,000 adults and 52,000 children, now it’s being reported that it’s closer to 60,000 children, as I understand the article said, since April, just two months, we’ve had nearly 300,000 people invade the United States through Texas. And then it’s now being reported that there are 300,000 people making their way up from Central America to the United States.
The shooter also devotes an entire section to how “Diversity is weak.”
Diversity is not a strength. Unity, purpose, trust, traditions, nationalism and racial nationalism is what provides strength. Everything else is a catchphrase.
And here’s a now-infamous tweet from Steve King where he says “diversity is not our strength” and links to an article praising nationalist Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban:
Here’s the shooter on how “mass immigration” will dissolve nations:
Mass immigration will disenfranchise us, subvert our nations, destroy our communities, destroy our ethnic binds, destroy our cultures, destroy our peoples.
And here’s King on how, when we import people, we are displacing our culture:
When thinking about this migration issue, I must tell you something. Years ago, a book, “The Camp of the Saints,” came into my hands. Why does the left denigrate this book? Why do they say it’s a radical, racist book? When I read the book, it was all completely logical to me that this could come to pass. And that this narrative should be imprinted into everybody’s brain: when you are importing people, even importing one single person, you are importing their culture. If you don’t import one, ten, or a hundred, but a million: they will subsume the native culture.
(You can also read about how “The Camp of Saints” was a seminal book for Steve Bannon as well.)
Here’s the shooter on how shared identity is fundamental to a nation:
The nation? What nations do we have to conserve? What our [sic] own nations now based on? Their [sic] is no shared culture, ethnicity, language, values or beliefs. Anyone can be a member of our nation, as long as they have the paperwork. They need not be born here, share our race, our language, our culture or our beliefs.
And here’s Steve King, from the House floor, on how if we lose our shared culture, “America goes wobbly”:
Free gents prize capitalism, the dynamic economy we have, and Judeo-Christian values that are core in the foundation. They were the founding of our country. They are the core of the moral foundation we are as a people. They are part of our religion. They are part of our culture. And this nation would collapse if we ever lost them, and when they are weakened, American goes wobbly.
The shooter spends a considerable amount of time linking to stories about “European women” being raped by immigrants.
Many of you may already know about the rape of British women by the invading forces, Rotherham of course being the most well-known case. But what few know is that Rotherham is just one of an ongoing trend of rape and molestation perpetrated by these non-white scum.
And here’s Louie Gohmert spending some time on the floor arguing that sanctuary cities are attracting rapists:
They might as well put the Statue of Liberty out in San Francisco harbor saying: Give us your tired, your poor, your felons, your people that like to shoot other people and rob them, because that is basically what San Francisco has been saying: We don’t care if you are a felon, we don’t care if you kill people, you rape women, or raped anybody, we want you here, and we won’t tell on you, so you come right in here.
Of course, casting immigrants as rapists is something President Donald Trump did on the day he announced his campaign for the White House:
When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.
On Friday, Trump called the New Zealand attack “a horrible, horrible thing.” And then he bemoaned the “crimes of all kinds coming through our southern border” and said, “People hate the word invasion, but that’s what it is.”
Again, I’m not suggesting there’s a causal relationship between what the president or a couple members of Congress said on the House floor and a deranged individual attacking two mosques. It’s just that this shared language is worth pointing out.
Rest assured: There are more members guilty of this rhetoric and more instances. In searching the congressional record, I was blown away by how many members talk on the House floor about “rape trees,” and I came across a floor speech from Ted Yoho where he says there’s only room in this country for “one language.”
“It’s English. And you need to learn it. You need to assimilate and become Americans in our culture,” he said.
But King and Gohmert stand out above the rest for their repeated similarities. It’s fair to think about why that is.