The article about Leah Boustan ’00’s book, Streets of Gold, was informative (Research, November issue). The facts she and her co-author reiterate have been long known and are beyond dispute. How many immigrants our country can absorb, whom to admit, and how to deal with an influx that vastly exceeds reasonable limits are fraught political issues, and neither party has been willing or able to solve them for 30 years. But the hate, vitriol, and fear mounted against immigrants are not “myths,” they are part of a campaign of out-and-out lying for partisan advantage, to drive citizens to vote against the incumbent administration.
Calling lies “myths” suggests that people are merely misinformed when something much worse is going on. If you think I’m exaggerating, study the commercials aired during the baseball playoffs from a PAC called “Citizens for Sanity,” which promote all the “myths” cited in PAW’s review and throw in drug dealers and child rapists to spice things up. We have allowed pernicious lies and hate to become “normal” political discourse. Some even say the events of Jan. 6, 2021, were “normal political discourse.” We have to find a way back from this precipice, if we are to survive as a nation.