So it seems that Texas governor Greg Abbott, following what seems to be a well-worn page in the MAGA playbook, sent several busloads of migrants to Washington, D.C., and had them dumped in front of Vice President Kamala Harris’s residence. On Christmas Eve. Most of the country is in a deep freeze and D.C. was no exception: the temperature was around 18 F, and the travelers weren’t dressed for it.
According to a CNN article, the group “included asylum seekers from Ecuador, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Peru and Colombia.” No one was officially notified that they were coming. Unofficially local churches, nonprofits, and others learned enough to mobilize and find shelter, clothing, and food for the migrants. D.C. welcomed the unexpected arrivals the way Martha’s Vineyard did in September: with open arms.
Are Abbott and his Republican cronies so clueless that they don’t see the irony in treating refugees like this on Christmas Eve? They claim to be Christians, but what Christian denomination thinks this is remotely OK? Have any of them actually read the Christmas story? I have no trouble imagining the lot of them feasting in Herod’s palace while Mary gives birth in a stable.
Someone on Twitter asked where Gov. Abbott might be sent, to give him an idea of what he was doing to others. I only read a few of the many hundreds of responses. If Dante had seen them, the Divine Comedy would have been considerably more gruesome. My favorite was the one that dumped Abbott in remote Alaska wearing only summer-weight clothing — but I did qualify “remote” with “within reach of dog sled or snowmobile.”
Then while out walking this morning I came up with a better idea: Send him here, to Martha’s Vineyard, with no money, no cell phone, no credit cards, and no spare clothing.
Vineyarders would rally round as we always do, to find him what he needed: clothes, food, shelter, maybe even a cell phone and a debit card with enough on it to buy a plane ticket home.
Once we figured out who he was, we’d introduce him to some of the local Christian clergy, who could give him a tutorial on what Jesus’s teachings were really about.
It might freak him out to learn that most of the folks helping him either were registered Democrats or regularly supported Democratic candidates. In that case — well, the Vineyard is home to plenty of mental health professionals. We could introduce him to some of them too.
At this point the guy would probably be experiencing massive cognitive dissonance, so we’d call on a few of the Vineyard’s Trumpers to interpret and explain what was going on. (I thought about calling on outgoing governor Charlie Baker, but I don’t think they speak the same dialect of Republican.)
At this point, Abbott might — OK, it’s a longshot, but still he might — decide he wanted to stick around a while, even though it was pretty cold and lots of places were closed. Our electric grid mostly comes through in heavy weather. That’s a big plus.
No, we’d tell him. You’ve got a job to do, and it isn’t here. You can come back in the summer, though, if you want. Maybe the Obamas would put you up?
So Abbott flies home and is greeted at the airport by relieved well-wishers, all of whom are Republicans. What happens then?
Well, as I see it, it could go one of two ways. If he’s smart, he keeps his mouth shut and maybe lets on that he was in Florida at a secret retreat sponsored by ALEC or the Federalist Society. If he’s not so smart, he starts going on about those nice people on Martha’s Vineyard and maybe Democrats aren’t so bad after all. At this point his well-wishers turn worried or even surly and start treating him like Rip Van Winkle after his 20-year snooze or Thomas the Rhymer just returned from Elfland. This should smarten him up PDQ.
The incident will stick in some erstwhile supporters’ memories, however. And stories of his stay on Martha’s Vineyard might start to leak out . . .