There are three types of falsehoods: lies, half-truths and manipulated statistics. There are three types of public servants: those who work for the good of their community and not for their own interest (altruists and patriots); those who put personal benefit before that of society (selfish and sectarian) and those who occupy public office without deserving it (ill-educated and demagogues), despite the legitimacy of the votes of the people, whom they have convinced with a “populist” discourse of empty words expressed with good oratory.
These last two types of representatives (selfish and sectarian, on the one hand; ill-educated and demagogues, or populists, on the other), resort to falsehoods to argue a speech difficult to defend if it were not lying and hiding the reality that contradicts them.
What happened in the Anchorage Assembly on April 13 and 14 is the paradigm of what should never happen in a chamber that represents the American people or a part of it, Anchorage in this case.
Chugiak-Eagle River Assemblywoman Jamie Allard linked the entrance of immigrants into the United States across the southern border with Mexico to the spread of the coronavirus. “They’re coming with Covid,” she came to say, disguising her comment as “concern” about illegal immigration and inserting her statements among those of other assembly members on various issues.
In other words: Jamie Allard camouflaged her xenophobic speech of apparent “sensitivity” for the “humanitarian crisis”, which has been going on for months, almost four thousand miles away from Anchorage, Alaska, from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and almost one week of travel by car, with very short resting breaks, crossing Canadian territory.
Allard didn’t mention during her speech at the Anchorage Assembly from which statistic she had obtained the information that the immigrants “come with Covid”. She knows that the fact that many of them are infected is purely obvious; it is logical to think that among thousands of people there will be some who are sick.
But it’s a “half-truth”, a falsehood. Allard and others who think like her, and who have been Covid deniers, like Donald Trump, forget or don’t care that they cannot serve the people they are meant to represent if they don’t know the issues they are talking about, or distort them with lies.
Anchorage Assembly Chair Felix Rivera, whom Save Anchorage, a group Allard is member of, tried to remove unsuccessfully, put this xenophobic and racist discourse on display: “illegal immigrants coming across the Texas border from Mexico have a lower Covid-19 rate than the rate of the Texas population”, he said. He added: “People like Allard don’t belong in Anchorage. Some speech is unacceptable and should never be uttered (...) Allard’s comments are an example of speech that should be sanctioned”.
Allard’s (a daughter of immigrants from Chile and Italy who does not associate with the Hispanic community) is the strategy of sectarians and populists to sow discord; to inoculate society, because they do really infect, with a virus more deadly and dangerous than a pandemic: that of hatred.
The news media has a responsibility to report elected officials’ manipulations. Sol de Medianoche demands that public servants provide accurate and verifiable information they use when speaking to their constituents. We must not allow people who support, with the same sectarianism and xenophobia, the populists of discord have a free pass to continue causing harm in our own backyard.