It’s hard to pick just one, but the winner for rank demagoguery at today’s legislative hearing on refugee resettlement has to go to Sen. Gary Stubblefield, who is distressed that he no longer recognizes his country and blames foreigners. Stubblefield, drawing perhaps an idiosyncratic lesson from his favorite film, “The Wizard of Oz,” explained:
I remember one of my favorite sayings in that movie was when Dorothy said, you know, Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.
Every morning when I wake up and turn on the national news, sometimes I ask myself a question: Am I still in the United States of America?
Who might be causing Stubblefield’s bewilderment as the nation descends into unrecognizable madness? Could it be refugees?
Because I hear some of the craziest ideas and I wonder where they’re coming from.
And the idea of assimilation, whether it be a refugee or an immigrant coming in to the United States — taking for granted the fact that you say they are assimilating, not all are assimilating.
Stubblefield expressed the fear that some immigrants might “come with the idea of setting up their own communities, establishing their own laws, their own culture — therefore vastly changing American culture. I see that happening across the country to varying degrees.
Here in Arkansas, Stubblefield fretted that “you have schools in Springdale where they speak 46 different languages … you have Fayetteville schools who have now made it a policy to not have anything that relates to Christmas.” He also claimed that they have “disallowed any patriotic material in school.” And so on.
If you had the War on Christmas on your demagoguery bingo card, you win!
“I’m a native Arkansan, I understand change and I understand resistance to change,” Governor Hutchinson said in reply to Stubblefield. “We’re not changing the culture of Arkansas, we’re just sharing the culture of Arkansas to those coming from terrible circumstances. I think we can embrace them.”