There will be a battle in El Paso, Texas tonight. A battle for the hearts and minds of America.
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On one side will be President Trump who will be whipping up his deluded crowd of supporters thirsty to drink in the president’s false message of fear and hate in order to drum up support at a rally for his delusional solution for immigration issues in the United States, his primitive border wall.
His decision to hold the rally in El Paso rankled local officials who disputed the president’s portrayal of the city as a hotbed of crime until a border fence was erected, a description belied by the actual crime statistics that Trump continues to ignore and lie about.
Leading the other side of tonight’s battle is former Texas Democratic Senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke who nearly snatched an unprecedented victory over Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), losing by a narrow margin in an unexpectedly close race in deep red Texas.
O’Rourke will be leading a “March for Truth” through his hometown — commencing at a high school just a mile away from the arena where the president’s rally is being held — protesting Trump’s attempts to waste taxpayer dollars on an ineffective, technologically regressive border wall.
Joining him in the protest will be dozens of civic and human rights organizations uniting to denounce the president’s “lies and a false narrative about the U.S.-Mexico border.”
“The President is coming to El Paso Monday. He will promise a wall and will repeat his lies about the dangers that immigrants pose,” O’Rourke wrote in a post on Medium on Friday. “With El Paso as the backdrop, he will claim that this city of immigrants was dangerous before a border fence was built here in 2008.”
The former Congressman’s essay explains why he decided to organize the “March for Truth” and both demonstates how we wound up in our current polarized debate over immigration and lays out a detailed 10-point plan of how to deal with the issue in an effective and compassionate manner.
“Beyond refuting his comments about border communities like ours (El Paso was one of the safest communities in the United States before the fence was built here), about walls saving lives (in fact, walls push desperate families to cross in ever more hostile terrain, ensuring greater suffering and death), and about immigrants (who commit crimes at a lower rate than those Americans born here), it’s worth thinking about how we got to this place,” O’Rourke writes.
After a detailed analysis of the history of U.S. immigration policies and their effects, O’Rourke come to the conclusion that “the challenges we face are largely of our own design — a function of the unintended consequences of immigration policy and the rhetoric we’ve used to describe immigrants and the border.”
The Texas Democratic political hopeful concluded his essay with an inspiring message.
“Monday we will welcome the President to one of the safest cities in the United States. Safe not because of walls, and not in spite of the fact that we are a city of immigrants. Safe because we are a city of immigrants and because we treat each other with dignity and respect. A city that has the opportunity to lead on the most important issues before us, out of experience, out of compassion and out of a fierce determination to see this country live its ideals and rise to its full potential,” O’Rourke writes.
“We can learn from the errors of our past, have the courage to do what’s right while we still have the chance, and ensure that the President doesn’t commit this country to making mistakes from which we may never recover.”
“It’s up to us,” he rightly concludes.
While media pundits will likely compare the attendance at the Trump rally with the number of participants who turn up for the “March for Truth” as a measure of the relative success of each side in the battle, it will be interesting to compare how much coverage is dedicated by the media to each side’s message.
In the end, in a battle between the truth and lies, the truth eventually prevails, but it may take a long painful struggle with the strenuous efforts of a lot of good people to reach that point. Let’s hope enough people in El Paso join the “March For Truth” to make that victory come all the sooner.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.
Original reporting by Amy B. Wang in The Washington Post.