On Tuesday, Donald Trump officially blamed Mexican and Central American people for the deadly epidemic of drug addiction and crime that plagues the nation.
For that reason, we will soon begin the construction of a great wall along our southern border. It will be started ahead of schedule and, when finished, it will be a very effective weapon against drugs and crime. As we speak, we are removing gang members, drug dealers and criminals that threaten our communities and prey on our citizens. Bad ones are going out as I speak tonight and as I have promised.
His use of Latino (specifically Mexican and Central American) people as scapegoats for the perilous epidemic of drug addiction in U.S. society masks the grandiose profits made by his corporate associates in Big Pharma through the massive pill-pushing of the past decade. It simultaneously continues the ongoing profiling of Latino people, including those who are citizens, as “Bad Ones.”
Let’s get our facts straight. The current epidemic of addiction in this country does not originate from the work of foreign drug cartels. It is the work of an extremely intentional pharmaceutical industry that upsells opioids and semi-synthetic opioids in the form of Oxycodone (some brands include OxyContin, Roxicodone, Oxecta) and other opioids, causing mass addiction from coast to coast. Simple research of addiction statistics in any state in the nation produces clear evidence of an opioid epidemic that is directly related to over-prescription of pharmaceuticals, not pushed by immigrants from Mexico, but by U.S. doctors and the companies who own them: Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and Endo Pharmaceuticals, for example.
In her 2013 article for The New Yorker, Celine Grounder writes, “In 2007, Purdue Pharma and three of its top executives pleaded guilty to criminal charges that they had misled the FDA, clinicians and patients about the risks of OxyContin addiction and abuse by aggressively marketing the drug to providers and patients as a safe alternative to short-acting narcotics. (Doctors had been taught that because OxyContin was time-released, it wouldn’t cause a high that would lead to addiction.)” Even 10 years ago, Big Pharma was fighting the FDA to protect their agenda to mass market pills that are linked to highly addictive, deadly results.
In the same speech where he placed blame on Mexican immigrants for the drug and crime problems, Trump spoke of removing FDA. regulations:
But our slow and burdensome approval process at the Food and Drug Administration keeps too many advances…from reaching those in need. If we slash the restraints, not just at the FDA., but across our government, then we will be blessed with far more miracles…
Here, Trump uses the arduous journey of a woman with a rare disease to circuitously promote the removal of restrictions that he says bind the FDA, but these regulations are the only lasting barriers that prevent pill-producers from continuing their bestial death-for-profit schema.
While a January Forbes article predicts that “Trump’s comments are Big Pharma’s nightmare,” his anti-regulatory rhetoric may be just the antidote Big Pharma executives and Trump need to heal their previous (perceived) wound. The FDA has the power to regulate and restrict both the kinds of drugs that can be marketed and the way they are prescribed. Does Trump’s promise to slash FDA regulations actually open the door for even greater profiteering for the corporate medicine Leviathan?
As Trump hides the truth beneath the brown skin of Latin American immigrants, the Center for Disease Control reports that 1,000 people per day are treated in U.S. hospitals for misuse of opioids. Nineteen states saw dramatic increases in the numbers of drug overdose deaths in 2015. California and Texas, the states with the largest Mexican and Central American populations in the United States, are not among the 19 states. What reason, other than racist scapegoating, does Trump have for placing blame on Latino people?
Trump’s aggressive, racist rhetoric about Mexican and Central American people serves a clear purpose: he aims to blind the public to his corporate agenda by increasing simultaneously xenophobic and nationalistic sentiments in the populous with the goal of maximizing profits for himself and his corporate network, establishing Mexican and Central American immigrants as the hated other to promote his absurd wall project (which will do nothing to solve a drug epidemic that vexes the nation from the inside), and further enshrouding the U.S. hatred-as-fuel psycho-techno-cycle that will feed his upcoming, highly profitable war against brown people in other nations.
In response to Trump’s rhetoric, cunningly crafted by a team of expert speechwriters who study the nuances of nationalist and individualist psychology in the U.S. to perfect their messaging, we must analyze every word, refusing to ingest or digest hateful ideology that comes in a new and soothing tone from a strange, orange man we already know we cannot trust.
Susan Anglada Bartley is an activist, writer and teacher in Portland, Oregon. She earned her B.A. from NYU, and her M.Ed from Portland State University. She was awarded a National Education Association H. Councill Trenholm Human and Civil Rights Award in 2013 for her work to end racism in public education. Susan presented her work on Systemic Barriers to AP and IB Courses for Black, Native American and Latino Students, and co-presented with Pedro Anglada Cordero, MSW on Invisible Fences: Removing Obstacles for Latino Students at the Teaching. She has published articles with Artvoice Buffalo, Literary Arts Portland, The National Education Association Magazine, NEA-Ed Votes, Medium andThe Hampton Institute: A Working Class Think Tank.