I live just about equidistant between Chicago -- where I called home for 25 years -- and West Frankfort -- which I have never visited.
In other words, about halfway between Il Douche's Terrifying Cartoon Municipal Hellscape and deepest, whitest Trump Country.
And now federal immigration agents have done what no other force on Earth has been able to do: crack the heretofore impenetrable barrier of Hate Radio and white grievance behind which so much of Rustbelt America walls itself off from the real world, and inflict a little reality on the good folks of
Pleasantville West Frankfort.
And they did not like it. No sir. Not one little bit.
From The New York Times:
He’s a Local Pillar in a Trump Town. Now He Could Be Deported.
By MONICA DAVEYFEB. 27, 2017WEST FRANKFORT, Ill. — Ask residents of this coal-mining crossroads about President Trump’s decision to crack down on undocumented immigrants and most offer no protest. Mr. Trump, who easily won this mostly white southern Illinois county, is doing what he promised, they say. As Terry Chambers, a barber on Main Street, put it, the president simply wants “to get rid of the bad eggs.”
But then they took Carlos.
Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco — just Carlos to the people of West Frankfort — has been the manager of La Fiesta, a Mexican restaurant in this city of 8,000, for a decade. Yes, he always greeted people warmly at the cheerfully decorated restaurant, known for its beef and chicken fajitas. And, yes, he knew their children by name. But people here tick off more things they know Carlos for.
How one night last fall, when the Fire Department was battling a two-alarm blaze, Mr. Hernandez suddenly appeared with meals for the firefighters. How he hosted a Law Enforcement Appreciation Day at the restaurant last summer as police officers were facing criticism around the country. How he took part in just about every community committee or charity effort — the Rotary Club, cancer fund-raisers, cleanup days, even scholarships for the Redbirds, the high school sports teams, which are the pride of this city.
“I think people need to do things the right way, follow the rules and obey the laws, and I firmly believe in that,” said Lori Barron, the owner of Lori’s Hair A’Fairs, a beauty salon. “But in the case of Carlos, I think he may have done more for the people here than this place has ever given him. I think it’s absolutely terrible that he could be taken away.”...
Yes indeed. Heck of a guy is Carlos. Just the sort of person that breathes life into a little town whose glory days of coal and more coal have slowly shuddered to a halt. And letters of support came pouring in from all the best people.
Tom Jordan, the mayor of West Frankfort, wrote that Mr. Hernandez was a “great asset” to the city who “doesn’t ask for anything in return.” The fire chief described him as “a man of great character.”The letters have piled up — from the county prosecutor, the former postmaster, the car dealer, the Rotary Club president.
But here's the thing. This 98.55% White community is typical of the little towns that make up Franklin county. Aging, insular, coal county folk. Redneck, although they'd hate to use that word...
“With everything that’s gone on — we’ve had years of unemployment rates that are skyrocketing — I would like to see some of the people that I know go back to work before I worry about people from other countries coming here and making a better life for themselves,” said Audrey Loftus, 38, a bartender at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post.
But Mr. Hernandez, Ms. Loftus said, has left her “on the fence” about what should happen now. “I hate to use the word rednecks, but this is southern Illinois.” she said. “This is the definition of a good old boys’ club, and you don’t have a lot of people of different ethnicities that are in this area.“And then there’s Carlos,” she continued. “You will not find a single person that has anything bad to say about him.”
...who went for Trump by an almost 3-to-1 margin.
And now, too late, the people of West Frankfurt are learning the lesson that everyone at the local VFW hall would have been able to recite by heart 70 years ago.
That fascism does not make exceptions.
Not even in the case of Carlos.