The smallpox and le­prosy could re­ally slow down the car­a­van

The Herald-Sun (Sunday) - - Opinion - BY CELIA RIVENBARK Celia Rivenbark is an author and colum­nist.

I have to ad­mit, cof­fee came outta my nose when I read the name Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump chose for the mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion to keep those worn-out, rag­tag refugee fam­i­lies from en­ter­ing the United States at our bor­der with Mex­ico.

Op­er­a­tion Faith­ful Pa­triot hits all the dog whis­tles, doesn’t it? But, re­ally, why stop there? I guess Op­er­a­tion White Priv­i­leged AF Faith­ful Pa­triot was deemed a bit on the nose by the pres­i­dent’s ad­vi­sors.

The name was cho­sen to un­der­score this is how faith­ful pa­tri­ots be­have. That makes sense. It’s like Je­sus al­ways said: “If y’all so much as try to cross that bor­der, Ima make sure there are 5,200 rea­sons why you might de­cide that’s a bad idea, capiche?”

I know, right? Who knew Je­sus was Ital­ian?

But a funny thing hap­pened on the way to scari- ng the hell out of Amer­i­cans. The Repub­li­cans over­played their hand.

To un­der­score the dan­ger — com­ing in months and maybe down to a few es­pe­cially tough grand­moth­ers by then — Sec­re­tary of Home­land Se­cu­rity Kirst­jen Nielsen was in­ter­viewed on the bor­der dressed in a sleeve­less logo vest and sun­glasses and sound­ing quite omi­nous.

Wow. Those brown peo­ple bet­ter watch out. The Swiss Miss co­coa girl is fixin’ to talk some se­ri­ous smack.

When the in­ter­view drew a col­lec­tive “meh, but why do I sud­denly want co­coa?” Fox News de­vel­oped a new talk­ing point: If you’re not up­set about brown chil­dren with no shoes, what about … SMALLPOX?!? Mat­ters not that smallpox was erad­i­cated in 1977, ap­par­ently those di­a­bol­i­cal refugee fam­i­lies are de­ter­mined to come here and in­fect U.S. tax­pay­ers. Also, and you gotta love this, Fox says they’re bring­ing LE­PROSY.

Frankly, I’d like to be part of a race so strong they can walk hun­dreds and hun­dreds of miles day af­ter day in search of a safer life for them­selves and their fam­ily all while in­fected with smallpox and/or watch­ing their limbs drop off from le­prosy. Put down your tiki torch, Bubba, I think we’ve found the real su­per race.

It may take a while to see just how Op­er­a­tion Faith­ful Pa­triot turns out. To tell the truth, I’ve al­ways been in awe of the names cho­sen for Amer­i­can mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions. It’s the same way I ad­mire the clever names for OPI’s nail pol­ish line. Your Desert Storm is their Teal the Cows Come Home. It takes a spe­cial cre­ativ­ity to cap­ture that per­fect blend of morale booster and pa­tri­o­tism or, in OPI’s case, sil­ver and bronze for Baroque But Still Shop­ping.

Op­er­a­tions Ur­gent Fury (Gre­nada), Just Cause (Panama), Beast­mas­ter (Bagh­dad) and Nep­tune Spear (SEALS tak­ing out Bin Laden) were all good but my per­sonal fave has to be Op­er­a­tion Vik­ing Snatch (Iraq, 2007).

Trump fan­cies him­self a ge­nius at brand­ing so you should ex­pect to be hear­ing about Op­er­a­tion Faith­ful Pa­triot at ev­ery rally and read­ing about it in his tweets in the next few weeks to months. I say months be­cause the le­prosy could se­ri­ously slow things down. (“Ros­alita, pick up your feet! No, re­ally!”)

Stay tuned.


A Cen­tral Amer­i­can fam­ily with a car­a­van pre­pares to cross the bor­der and ap­ply for asy­lum in the U.S. in April.

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