Wish You Weren’t Here

It is curious how deeply the comic and the sinister are woven together in the woke dramas of our time. 

Consider, to take the latest example, the embarrassing little panic to which the well-pressed and affluent denizens of Martha’s Vineyard treated the public. 

Our agents are still out there counting the number of nauseating “Hate has no place here” and “No human being is illegal” signs on the front yards of posh Vineyard estates. To a man, woman, and everything in between, the neighbors of Barack and Michelle Obama in their 12 million seaside compound are echt correct. All of them, within the limits of statistical probability, hate Donald Trump. They all voted for Joe Biden. They support windmills (so long as they are not visible from the Vineyard), carbon-neutral energy policies, and a “woman’s right to choose” (though not of course if the female is yet-to-be-born: she gets no choice), etc., etc. 

It would be easy to draw up a menu of things the pampered people of Martha’s Vineyard support and deplore. 

One of the things they support is greater “diversity” and its primary motor, vastly increased immigration. They think Joe Biden was right when he said that the United States could very easily accommodate two million immigrants from Central America. 

They pooh-pooh reports of chaos on our Southern border. Neither Kamala Harris, in whose portfolio the border was originally placed, nor Joe Biden has even bothered to visit the border. Why should they care? They like it when thousands of poor migrants huddle into places like Brownsville, Texas. When journalists such as the New York Post’s Miranda Devine began revealing that the Biden Administration was secretly shipping planeloads of illegal immigrants around the country, including into tony venues like the Westchester, New York, airport in the dead of night, their bored reaction was to pour themselves another chardonnay. 

But then Florida Governor Ron DeSantis decided to attract their attention. He rounded up 50 illegal immigrants, mostly from Venezuela, who had made their way to Florida and put them on a plane to Edgartown, Massachusetts, the beating heart of Martha’s Vineyard. (And that’s just the beginning.)

The reaction of the loving, open, soft-palmed, Democrat-voting residents? “The horror, the horror”: Mr. Kurtz’s expostulation at the end of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness about sums it up. 

Floundering Florida pol Charlie Crist said that DeSantis’ action “shocks the conscience of any fair-minded human being.” Hillary Clinton said that it was an example of “human trafficking,” while other talking heads decried it as pure “evil.” Documentary filmmaker and anti-American propagandist Ken Burns has just made a film about the Holocaust that explains how the murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis was, at bottom, if you look at it the right (i.e., the Left) way, the fault of America. Interviewed just as the story about the migrants-come-to-Martha’s-Vineyard was breaking, Burns said that DeSantis, by sending illegal immigrant to Martha’s Vineyard, had taken a page from that “authoritarian playbook” and was “weaponizing human beings for a political purpose” just as you-know-who had done in World War II. 

Surreal, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, Gavin Newsom, governor of the failing state of California, wrote to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland asking him to look into kidnapping charges for those involved in DeSantis’ gift to Martha’s Vineyard. (Newsom did not mention his own habit of shipping homeless people out of San Francisco with “one-way tickets.”) The Babylon Bee was on the case with a story explaining, “Migrants Decline Newsom’s Offer Of Asylum In CA Since They Just Came From A Collapsing Communist Hellhole With No Electricity.”

The outcry was partly amusing, partly malevolent, as Tucker Carlson showed with his customary aplomb. NBC News took to Twitter to quote a “founding member of a foundation which helps refugees” who said that DeSantis sending “asylum seekers” to Martha’s Vineyard is like “me taking my trash out and just driving to different areas where I live and just throwing my trash there.” Trash? 

It wasn’t revealed whether this chap (or chapette, as the case may be) was also a student of Heart of Darkness. If so, perhaps he admires Kurtz’s exit line, scrawled at the end of his report for the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs: “exterminate all the brutes.” In any event, someone at NBC must have understood that analogizing migrants to “trash” did not send quite the right message, so the tweet was quickly deleted (but not before it was picked up and preserved for posterity by several public -spirited commentators). 

Anyway, within 40 hours, the National Guard had been summoned. The blinking migrants were pushed onto buses and whisked off to a military establishment, out of sight, out of mind. 

Except that they are not out of mind. In a single stroke, Ron DeSantis tore the mask of hypocrisy off the smug faces of the liberal elites who love crowing about the virtues of “diversity” and the evils of “whiteness” just so long as they don’t have to suffer any real-world consequences. “People who make and advocate certain policies,” Tucker Carlson said, “should at some point have to live with those policies.” That was the moral of Ron DeSantis’ bravura performance. God bless him for it. 

About Roger Kimball

Roger Kimball is editor and publisher of The New Criterion and the president and publisher of Encounter Books. He is the author and editor of many books, including The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia (St. Augustine's Press), The Rape of the Masters (Encounter), Lives of the Mind: The Use and Abuse of Intelligence from Hegel to Wodehouse (Ivan R. Dee), and Art's Prospect: The Challenge of Tradition in an Age of Celebrity (Ivan R. Dee).

Photo: Dominic Chavez for The Washington Post via Getty Images

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